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Elumelu Sees Retail Market, Innovation Driving Insurance Penetration

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…celebrates NCRIB at 60 years for professionalism

Tony O. Elumelu, CON, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, believes that a greater focus on the retail segment of the insurance sector as well as innovation is necessary to drive increased insurance penetration in the country.

“At Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life, we champion innovation – we cannot afford not to. Our customers demand it and the industry needs it. The insurance industry can benefit from innovation across all aspects of our services.  For this to happen, there is the need to reward and incentivise innovation across the industry and set up industry annual innovation awards. The industry must also benchmark against global trends,” Elumelu said in his Keynote Remarks for the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) 60th Anniversary.

“Look at retail insurance. Traditionally, brokers in the market have been recognised as corporate insurance specialists. It is time that the broker community began to shift focus to retail, because this is where the future of insurance lies in Nigeria. Brokers have the capacity to lead in this area. Profits from existing lines are not going to deepen insurance penetration, rather we must look at our biggest yet untapped market – the retail market.”

Innovation and disruptive practices cannot occur without a broadening of thinking and creativity Elumelu said at event with Theme: ‘60 Years of Insurance Broking: Redefining the Practice and the Practitioners.’

Elumelu praised the NCRIB member’s commitment to professionalism, education and the insurance industry.

“The quality of governance, institutions, and practitioners of the sector is critical. That is why we are celebrating 60 years of the NCRIB – an institution almost as old as our country. Members of NCRIB have, over the years, facilitated insurance businesses in hundreds of billions of naira, delighted millions of Nigerians with your insurance services, and ensured that claims are settled,” Elumelu said.

Elumelu also highlighted key areas, where the insurance sector can do better for Nigeria to get the insurance industry the country deserves.

These include, Governance and compliance – the elimination of unprofessional practices, the need for innovation – the power and imperative of technology, promoting and raising awareness of the insurance sector and its objective of a far deeper, highly capitalised industry – that serves the customer and channels long term investment to the Nigerian economy.

Elumelu also mentioned the need to expand the sector by superior customer experience – smart-simple-trusted-quick settlement sector.

In the area of Governance Elumelu said the industry needs to enforce strict adherence to corporate governance by all NCRIB members.

“We should weed out non-registered and non-compliant members. Ones who tarnish the image of the broking profession and the industry at large. An insurance broker must be professional at all times. In redefining the practice and practitioners in the broking profession, NCRIB should lead the war against many of the unethical practices that have troubled the industry for years,” Elumelu said.

“We know these practices: premium rate cutting, delayed premium remittance, unremitted premiums, 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.”

While NAICOM continues to play its guiding role as the industry regulator, Elumelu said the NCRIB must ensure that appropriate sanctions are imposed on any of its members found using unethical practices.

The NCRIB and other insurance industry bodies should collaborate more, to deepen insurance penetration in Nigeria. The NCRIB should play a key role in government advocacy for pro-insurance laws and policies, Elumelu said.

“As the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, my family-owned investment company, we change lives in Africa and are transforming our continent – Financial services are critical pillar of what we do – that is why we launched Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life. Financial services are not a privilege, but a right – we want to make simple, smart insurance available to all.”

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