• Monday, June 24, 2024
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AXA Mansard franchisee excited by investment appetite in PH

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The Nigerian insurance space is said to now be sanitised and this is said to have attracted foreign insurance firms and global operators. The foreign brands are said to be ready to cede part of their operations to capable Nigerians through franchise systems.

One of the biggest global brands, AXA Mansard (Insurance) has toed this line.

L-R: MIKE ELECHI, PRESENT PHCCIMA PRESIDENT WITH EMEKA UNACHUKWU, FORMER PRESIDENT

 

A Nigerian businessman and investor, Emeka Unachukwu, formerly an oil engineer, who now holds both Masters (majoring in International Trade) and Doctorate degrees specialising in Development Finance (and Trade), has blazed the trail in the Port Harcourt business region by capturing an AXA Mansard franchise.

Unveiling the brand in Port Harcourt Thursday, June 1, 2023, the former president of the Port Harcourt City Chamber (PHCCIMA), explained how Nigerians can be attracted back to insurance and make insuring their lives and property a way of life.

He told BusinessDay in an interview after the unveiling that Insurance being like any other sector that has been neglected, is now getting back into swim.

He said people merely buy insurance because its obligatory, they want to avoid police troubles, or they want loan and they want insurance on their property. “People don’t buy it as a necessity, to protect their health or so. They don’t think of retirement and other uses.’

The founder and CEO of Develop ‘U’, who originally studied Petroleum Engineering at the University of Ibadan (UI), and had a very good career in the oil industry (Slumberger), said nobody can blame Nigerians.

He said: “The early people abused insurance and other white-collar professions such as banks, insurance, etc. People thus stopped banking their money because of constant bank crashes. The telecom industry, banks, insurance, etc, however, have been sanitized. The result is that it is no longer easy to open such businesses because of tight policing. It is not easy to even open a microfinance bank.”

The cleaning up has attracted foreign investors; we have a lot of things that are working, stated the deep player in the organized private sector (OPS) in Nigeria who was also an elected member of the National Associations of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and played a lot of roles in bilateral chambers

He said AXA and others are coming because it has been sanitized. The result is that insurance companies now pay claims in about two weeks and he said AXA leads in this. “Before, the insurers would engage lawyers to keep you in court for ever. Now, not so.

“If people like us that are business people begin to talk insurance, people will believe it.

Evils of ‘Insurance without Assurance’

Unachukwu said the above slogan had given insurance a bad name in Nigeria over the decades.

“That was true before. If you insured a car, you did not even know where the insurer was based. People were just carrying papers without protection.”

He warned: “Don’t deal with any entity that has nothing to protect. That’s a slogan of association in life. Now, we are having foreign insurers that don’t want their name soiled. That’s where insurance is going now. People now buy insurance because if the car crashed, they paid you quickly.”

PH appetite for investments

Unachukwu admitted that people in Port Harcourt have huge appetite for investment, but this was abused by miracle banks and scheme that wiped out their investments from time to time.

He blamed this on what he called the we are as human beings. “You cannot walk up to me with 30 per cent offer and expect me to accept. Two, ignorance. There is nowhere you get 30 per cent. If you bring it, I see Ponzi.”

He further warned; “Never get involved in any investment scheme without the clearance of the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (NSEC). Ponzi works by paying people steady for six months to show that it works. Then, it crashes. I think PH people have learnt a lesson.”

He said by the unveiling of AXA Mansard in PH, he has made a statement. “ When people talk about franchise, they think only about food and hotel, but I have blazed a trail in this area, not any kind but a global brand.”

He said franchise is the way of successful people to grow their business. “Instead of going to the capital market to look for funds, you can sell a part of the rights and privileges of your organization to another investor to trade and work.

“That’s how most companies do now. You are just like a branch, not a broker. So, all the privileges of a branch, you have it. I can engage brokers as a franchisee. Its like a branch of the company.”

During the unveiling that attracted many investment gurus in the Garden City, the Port Harcourt AXA Sales lead, Onajite Orijedje, seemed to shock the elite investors on the honeywell of AXA, saying the company seeks to provide peace of mind to businesses and families in an ever-crashing world.

“This comes from protecting and covering you in your business, equipment, agric practice, health, education, fire, etc. “With insurance, all you count is profit.”

Orijedje explained why clinics under AXA Mansard health plan treat patients like kings. “Apart from other things we do, we pay in two weeks.”

He also revealed that individuals can buy health management plans. For instance, he said lack of regular checkup seems to kill many executives. “Blood pressure (BP) is often mistaken for malaria and people go on drinking malaria drugs until they drop dead. All they needed to do was to go for checkup and get treated fee, if they were covered by AXA.”

He said: “AXA will mitigate your risks. AXA has good home insurance scheme.”

Reactions:

Most guests sodded their heads all through the presentation, apparently realizing how they had ignored most needs over the years. Leaders of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (Rivers State chapter) agreed that franchise is the future of business, and that Unachukwu has taken franchise to another level in this part of the world.

A CEO, Innocent Akuvue, MD of GGI Nigeria Ltd, said it what AXA and Unachukwu have done for PH is commendable and that it has the Emeka touch. “We would like to be involved. Everybody likes a good product.”

Another CEO, Emeka Nzekwe, said starting a new business is not easy. He regretted that what seemed to be bedevil Nigeria was ‘insurance without assurance’. “Insurance is not too embraced by Nigerians because of ugly experiences. Also, they do not market enough.”

THE UNACHUKWU BROTHERS, UGOCHUKWU AND EMEKA (LEFT) WITH AXA MANAGERS AND REAL ESTATE LEADER

 

The CEO of Renovate Limited from the Rivers Estate Developers Association assured that the members were going to do business with Unachukwu and AXA. “God is the greatest insurance but wisdom to do right is recommended.”

Carol Emeka-Sunday, Rivers State coordinator of Christian Schools said the revelation was worth looking into.

In a brief exhortation, Emeka Unachukwu’s twin brother, a cleric and life coach, Ugochukwu harped on the need build up balance in life.

The twin said those who fail to build balance in life always struggle in life and may blame it on demons and village people. He said there are accompaniments required to bring in balance in life. “We have human accompaniments such as mentor, pastor, confidant, etc.” He said false balance is dangerous because of relying on wrong persons.

He talked about institutional accompaniments such as one’s lawyer, doctor, insurer, etc. “Insurance has gone beyond indemnification. AXA replaces many plugs. It has savings, health, investment, etc.”

He mentioned supernatural accompaniments and said you will find that these days, many things are chasing you at the same time. “Jesus wants you, demons want you, water mermaid wants you, etc. These have higher forces. The higher the quality of the plug, the more it gives you value, and the more people speak against it. So, how strong is your accompaniments? Go home and think it over. “