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Companies must invest in training of their employees if they want the best out of them — CIIN president

Muftau Oyegunle, new president of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) during his investiture last week unfolded a six point agenda with the Theme: Reinforcing Professionalism and Ethics in Insurance Industry. In this exclusive interview with Modestus Anaesoronye shared his vision for the Institute and how to key into the new world order. Excerpt:

You are now officially the 50thPresident and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), what does this mean for you in your career?

I feel indeed privileged. I must acknowledge, that I am alive, healthy and have inner peace is by the grace of God. In addition, I am who I am today because I have the priviledge to be close to some quality people along the way. To have the priviledge to lead the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria after 35 years in the Industry is to me an accomplishment for which I thank God.

 

Given the enormous responsibility and task attached to this office, how prepared are you to deliver on the expectations of insurance professionals?

After serving the Institute in various capacities for the past 25 years and having worked closely with not less than 5 Presidents in addition to my personal training and exposure, I guess I am well equipped to serve. Luckily for me, all the Presidents I worked with are very much around to support. I can only take so much from the wisdom they have amassed from leading the Institute and equally as Insurance professionals. It is a resource and knowledge I am grateful to have the privilege to draw from.

 

What is the theme of your Presidency and what is the driver?

 

Reinforcing Professionalism and Ethics in the New Order.We are all aware post Covid – 19 era is bringing about a new world order. While we are not sure of how everything will play out, we know that some industries are dead, some are making money and some can only survive learning new skills.

For us as Insurance Professionals, we must quickly dimension where we are and prepare our Associates for what it takes to survive in the new world. While IT has become the survival skill, it has also made learning easier, practically everything is now available online and our people must benefit from it.

 

What will be your key priorities when you become the president?

 

I am lucky that the past 3 Presidents had given the Institute a facelift and invested in IT. The immediate priority is to upscale our IT to ensure our members need not come to the office since they can achieve their needs online, make e-library available for learning and start online examination by 2021.

You will notice that both the Institute and the College are already organizing courses and programmes online and we are looking to upscale this to make it the order of the day. With technology you can do so much and as an organization focused on taking forward steps we are focusing on improving the quality of our services to ensure member satisfaction.

 

The Covid -19 pandemic has created a new world order including workculture, skill demand and human capital development, how is the CIIN going to respond to this?

As said earlier, we are already attune to the new reality and only need to upscale. The Institute’s calendar is largely driven by trainings and events. In the current clime where social distancing is the order of the day, how will the Institute continue to carry out its functions?

 

It is the new reality which we must all get used to. Last Thursday, 9th July 2020, the CIIN / LSB Annual Seminar was held online. We are working on how to hold our Education Seminar and Professional Forum. If gatherings are practicable by then, fine, if not it shall be online or a combination of both.

During your tenure, how do you intend to partner with government agencies to drive insurance awareness and equally improve the stake holding and perception of insurance as a profession and as a service offering?

 

Apart from certification, the other core responsibility of CIIN is awareness at all levels and ensuring that all stakeholders are getting value. My Predecessors started some programmes which we can fine tune but more importantly, we need to get closer to the government to assist the industry to grow. With necessary legal frameworks, the Country will develop a robust insurance industry. I am sure you are aware of NICOM – Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI – 4 pillars) and joint market publicity; these are noble programmes that we must support to take to the next level.

Looking at the business environment, how would you rate the insurance industry in the first half of 2020, and what is the expectation for the rest of the year?

 

First quarter was good and as are you aware, there were very little activities in the second quarter. It is still difficult to predict how the current and last quarter will play out because not only Covid 19 now but the Oil market that is seriously depressed. Nigeria is expected to go into recession around September, however CBN is struggling to see what they can do to avert it or reduce the impact. So, let us just hope for the best.

There are assumptions in some quarters that there is a hesitancy by the Institute to wield the big stick in terms of meting out capital punishment to members who have violated its code of ethics and professional conduct. If true, why is there a hesitancy to do this? If not, how do you intend to change this perception?

 

That may not be totally correct. The Institute has Investigation Committee and Disciplinary Committee and to the best of my knowledge, they are active and chaired by respected leaders. The problem is the reluctance of people to report cases of infraction. I can assure you that any case reported shall be investigated and appropriate disciplinary actions shall follow. For impression, I guess we shall give more publicity to cases handled going forward.

What is the biggest challenge facing the CIIN today, and how do you plan to tackle it?

Becoming an online organization with ability to satisfy all stakeholders and reach out to the world. As said earlier, this is priority for us and we shall mobilize the necessary support and fund to ensure we achieve this.

What is your opinion on the recapitalization exercise being carried out in the insurance Industry and how would you rate NAICOM’s initiatives to ensuring that the process is as seamless as possible?

Recapitalization is necessary in terms of depreciation of Naira over the years but the economic situation in the Country makes it very tough. Good that NAICOM has restructured compliance and hopefully many companies shall scale through. You know we are all in it together as Investors, Professionals and Practitioners.

Your charge to the Insurance Industry and Professionals…

The world has become knowledge base, So Companies must invest in the training of their employees if they want the best out of them. Smart employees now know those Companies that do not train cannot be their bus stop. For my professional colleagues, Professionalism has gone beyond ethics and knowledge to include speed, agility and digitalization. That is the new World.

 

 

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