The theme of my presidency is borne out of the belief that we can only create the necessary insurance awareness when people are fairly and reasonably educated about the subject. The less than optimal financial literacy in Nigeria today is at the root of poor patronage of financial services and insurance happens to be one of the most affected in the sector.
Today, the Nigerian population has just about 3,500 professionally qualified insurance practitioners out of a population of over 160 million. Getting only 3,500 educated out of this figure is a very far cry. The only way we can get insurance to penetrate every nook and cranny of this country is to get more people involved as crusaders/vanguards for insurance. During my tenure, we shall focus attention on the following:
• Empowerment of Selected Institutions offering Insurance Programmes to enhance their capacity to offer quality education
• Reinforcement of Activities at the College of Insurance and Financial Management.
• Strengthening the Professional Qualification of the Institute for Global Relevance.
•Completion of the Restructuring of the Institute’s Secretariat to enhance its Service Delivery.
• Greater Attention to Funding and prudent management of the Institute’s Resources.
• Resolution of the Victoria Island Building Project.
•Promotion of the Insurance Industry Consultative Forum.
Institutions offering insurance
There will be articulated efforts at expanding the capacity of institutions offering insurance programs. These institutions will be accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria based on their capacity to deliver quality insurance education.
The Institute will support these institutions in the area of books, infrastructures, scholarship, and exposure to international seminars to ensure access to latest information about insurance. Those of them who are able to have publications will be rewarded. This way, we will be able to develop interest in insurance.
Luckily, in recent time, the Federal Government has approved insurance as a subject in secondary schools. The Institute will provide the necessary support for the Ministry of Education to actualise the scheme. Our support during the period will be in the area of production of text books for this course and provision of training facilities for Insurance teachers.
College of insurance and financial management
The College of Insurance and Financial Management, which has been at the core of the institute’s activities in the last three years, is now at an advanced stage of construction. The College is evidently the best approach to opening up the doors of insurance education and key to making insurance more appealing to a wider audience.
We will work hard to ensure that the second phase of this project is completed and the facilities are made available for use. The facility will provide 10 lecture rooms that can accommodate 600 people and offer accommodation for 100 students.
I believe this will go a long way in creating the needed conducive atmosphere for learning insurance and financial management subjects thus placing our Institute in the right pedestal to foster insurance education along the most desirable expectations
The professional examination is the hallmark of the Institute’s activities. The Institute has successfull conducted the examination over the years, producing Associates and Fellows that are unquestionable in skills and character.
But I think we have to move a step further by ensuring that our Associates can trade their certificates for the well known Associates Diploma of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London, even if it means just writing one paper. The on-going discussions with the CII London will be pursued to a logical end.
It would interest you to know that CIIN is the only professional body conducting insurance examinations in the whole of Africa, except South Africa. We should be a centre that others can log on to because we had always thought that our certificate is needed only in Nigeria, we have not been able to explore this viable option and a gaping opportunity to expand our horizon.
The point also needs to be made that because of globalisation, the Institute should be able to give its qualifiers the freedom to be able to move around anywhere in the world and, I think this is good for every professional with his or her bidding.
Part of our focus during the period of my presidency will be the completion of the restructuring of the secretariat, an exercise, which I believe is dragging and calls for finalisation.
We are getting to a level that is critical for the Institute, a time when the baton of leadership is changing and we need a firm anchorage of the secretariat on the imperatives for a new consciousness that all hands must be on deck.
The period is also critical in the sense that the emerging leadership must engage itself in uninhibited sincerity of purpose, selflessness, and transparency in ensuring that the Secretariat delivers quality service at all times.
On the part of council, efforts will be made in ensuring that the secretariat Staff are adequately equipped, trained, and motivated to deliver on the task. We shall also reinvigorate the professional examination of the Institute with a view to make it more robust and relevant to the dictate of the environment.
Funding the institute
There is, indeed a limit to what the Institute can achieve with paucity of funds and I think it is time we re-examine the funding question, especially against the backdrop of the Institute’s increasing responsibilities such as construction of the College of Insurance and Financial Management.
It is also pertinent that we begin to streamline the modes of expenditure of available funds. For instance, capital projects should be linked to capital funds while recurrent expenditure should be tailored to recurrent funds.
Victoria Island building project
We shall take a bold and pragmatic step at the Institute’s Victoria Island building project, which appeared to have been jinxed. That project is a waste of resources because when you talk about owning a property in the heart of Victoria Island that has remained uncompleted in 30years is a huge waste of resources. With the help of the building committee and approval of council, we shall take a definite and pragmatic position on the property in the overall interest of the Institute.
Fatai Kayode Lawal