Insurance brokerage fraternity occupies a very important position in the nation’s insurance space and accounts for why their activities in terms of professionalism and ethical practice are key to driving the needed change in the industry’s value chain.
Despite its large population in excess of 500 operators, the brokers control about 70 percent of the total industry premium.
Therefore, to achieve the industry’s potential, stakeholders have said the brokers must bring in professionalism and ethical practice in the discharge of their duties to be able to address the many challenges facing the business.
According to them, some of the challenges include lack of trust, low awareness, poor penetration and innovation, and must be seriously tackled by brokers for the needed change to happen.
At the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) 60th Anniversary Colloquium and Book Launch held in Lagos with the theme: ‘60 Years of Insurance Broking: Redefining the Practice and the Practitioners’, stakeholders challenged the brokers again, demanding for strategic role to lift insurance sector to growth.
Rotimi Edu, president and chairman of council, NCRIB in his welcome speech at the event said it has always been our take that insurance brokers who constitute the professional arm of the insurance industry have a great role to play in causing the desired change in the industry.
He said aside from constituting a preponderant chunk of the industry’s manpower, professionally, Insurance Brokers, are the closest to the insuring public whose activities could not be undermined in the value chain.
Edu said, “This position of the Broker confers on him the responsibility to always get the best for his client and be continually creative in terms of products development.”
He said our aspiration is to make our Council a “League of Reputable Insurance Brokers” that would offer valued services to insurance clients in the country.
“For instance, with the professional practicing seal now introduced, all members of the Council would be able to distinguish their practice and by so doing earn the required respect and dignity.”
Tony Elumelu, chairman, Heirs Holdings who was the guest speaker at the event said over the years, brokers in the market have been recognised as corporate insurance specialists, but it is high time the broker community began to shift focus to retail because this is where the future of insurance lies in Nigeria.
Elumelu noted that innovation and disruptive practices cannot occur if the players do not broaden their thinking, stating that trying to make profits from existing lines is not going to deepen insurance penetration.
“This is something I task the management of the insurance companies to constantly think of, in product development and deployment”.
“The industry must also benchmark against global trends, perhaps the starting point for innovation in the broking arm of the industry is retail insurance development.”
Speaking further on redefining the practice and the practitioners, he said notwithstanding the great achievements so far recorded, NCRIB still has a lot to offer to its members and the Nigerian insurance industry as a whole.
“We must strive to achieve the highest levels of professionalism and dedication to delivering excellent service to the public who rely on us to provide them with comfort”.
In the area of Governance he challenged the brokerage fraternity to enforce strict adherence to corporate governance.“ You must weed out non-registered and non-compliant members from your fold, as these are the ones tarnishing the image of the broking profession and the industry at large.”
“In redefining the practice and practitioners in the broking profession, NCRIB should lead the war against many of the unethical practices that have been the bane of the industry for years.”
These include premium rate cutting, delayed premium remittance, unremitted premium, overloading of premium, returned premium, fake documents, fraudulent claims, collusion to defraud, mis-selling, unhealthy competition, misrepresentations, manipulation of policy conditions, self-enrichment methods disguised as marketing expenses, and many more, he said.
Rotimi Akeredolu, executive governor, Ondo State who was represented by the deputy governor, Lucky Orimisan also emphasised the need to enhance technology and innovation for effective delivery of insurance services.