Mallam Idriss Abbas,Â Â Managing DirectorÂ of Valid Insurance Brokers in this interview with Patience Saghana in Abuja did not mice words to state the obvious fact the insurance industry needs to put its house in order and deal with any act of disobedience to the market agreement and for insurance practitioners to conduct themselvesÂ in a manner to represent integrity and dignity even while they are pushing accounts.
What is your view about the broking arm?
My view on broking arm generally is that, it a professional outfits that is established to help in ensuring that professionalism is instill and ethics and practice of insurance is follow religiously.
Donâ€™t you think broking arm is over crowded with 600 brokers?
I do not think the market is over crowded with brokers; this is because l do not think the entire insurable assets of this country are insured. It is my estimation that not more than 45percent of it are adequately insured. In this regards when you divide 600 Brokers and apportion this 45percent to all of them, it is nothing significance. The main problem is that we do not research and develop new products.
We keep chasing one traditional big accounts to another. Every insurance broker want to be in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Federal Governmentâ€™s Group Life, etc. We refuse to be dynamic and innovative and that is why we concentrate mainly in the urban cities of this country. There are still some state capitals that have no presence of a broker or underwriter, and that will continue to take us back ward if we can not show our presence in rural areas. How then will they know what we are doing? How can they buy our products? We must therefore wake up and develop and tailored personal-line policies for rural people so that they can appreciate our values.
What are the challenges of a broker?
The Challenges are quite enormous. First we must love our profession and respect ourselves. We are faced with global challenges couples with our local challenges such as under pricing and unethical conducts, amongst others and until we addressed these issues, we may continue to go in circles.
What is your take on the market agreement?
The market agreement is one of the best thing that happens to the insurance industry in recent times and l quite support that. I only hope that every practitioner in the sector will abide by it. We should learn to follow and agree on whatever the market consented to. Like l earlier mentioned, unless we blow our trumpet, no body will blow it for us. So if we do not respect our agreements and ourselves, no body will respect us. It came to a point where clients dictate rates to operators irrespective of our maximum Probable Loss Assessments. That was very ridiculous. Therefore the Market agreement must be respected and all the parties should abide by it.
Do you think operators can obey it wholly?
There is no point, The Regulator must ensure that every operator in the market sticks to the rules in the market agreement wholly and whoever derails should be punished accordingly. That will bring us back to our norms and culture.
Your company, Valid Insurance Brokers is relatively young in the market, Does it have a share of the market?
Valid Insurance Brokers is relatively new in the market. We are striving to be in the forefront by following the rules of the game. We are not in haste to be in those juicy accounts. Our marketing strategy is driven through referral. We do not wish to jump the fence.
Though, we are not yet in the so called big accounts because our focus for now is on micro economic activities. We want people to understand our role so that they can give us a lead to wherever we want to go.
Why did you open a branch office in Abuja ?
We open our Branch in Abuja in order to make our services by the door steps of our clients in that environment.
What is your take on the selection process of FG group life?
I do not really know what criteria were used in the selection of brokers on the account of Federal Government Group Life hence l cannot comment on that. However, l read in the pages of Newspapers about some complaints lodged by some operators and if what they are alleging is true, then we need to go back to our drawing room and come up with agreeable formula that is acceptable to and by all.
The business is enough to go round if and only we appreciate one another. The ball is in the court of Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) to play it well, otherwise, the insuring public will laugh at us. This is another big challenge to insurance operators.