Dr. Teslim Sanusi, the President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) in this interview with Patience Saghana of Sweet crude explains the implications of the proposed N100million capital base for brokers, the damage repair being embarked upon by the body and the neglect of local brokers by NNPC and many more.
Which of your seven-point agenda have you achieved so far?
I am not pleased with the level of achievement because l have been involved in damage repairs and trying to settle down to understand the system in addition to my lined up programme. I came into office when the broking sub-sector was facing some challenges and I have been going around in order to correct the damage done by meeting past presidents and council members of the NCRIB.
I also try to meet with government agencies and personalities. All those are geared towards championing a course that includes the overall interest of the entire insurance industry. From that point of view, I think a lot has been achieved but as it relates to my seven-point agenda, we are narrowing down on professional brokers.
When we went through the list of our members we discovered that some chief executive officers need to regularize and update their status with the body. One of my agenda is instilling professionalism in the broking arm in accordance with the provision of Insurance Act 2003 and NCRIB Act. We have given them up to June this year to do so.
What is the motive behind your visit to government agencies?
The motive is making sure that we aligned what they want to what the insurance broking arm and the entire industry expect at the end of the day. We are aware that the federal government is keen on instilling professionalism and increase market penetration and empower the regulation to enshrine best practices in the sector. And we also wish to align their intentions with ours in the interest of the insurance industry.
What is the hullabaloo about N100million Capital base for brokers?
The Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola is not denying it but said that the report is not yet adopted to warrant the protest from the broking arm and the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel shares the same position with the Minister. We want to make our position known to the Minister so that in taking decision, insurance brokers will be put into consideration.
What is the anticipated impact of N100million capital base?
The N100million will be killing professionalism altogether if insurance brokers are to look for N100million working capital. The Law says N5million working capital plus five year experience as a broker.
At the long run the broking arm will only have people that can muscle N100million capital in the broking firms and not professionals. And that is not in the interest of professionalism. All that the broker need is professional indemnity insurance policy and at the moment we have that for insurance brokers with a minimum of N10million indemnity.
Review of Insurance Acts 2003?
What we try to do on the NAICOM and Insurance Acts is to indicate our areas of interest, and avert misrepresentation of our collective interest as Insurance Brokers.
It is my Council’s wish to let government committee saddled with the responsibility of working on the review of the Act to observe the areas of our interest and give it the required attention that would better sanitize our sector and project us fully as professionals. Our stand is that insurance broking is like any profession such as law, architecture, advertising etcetera, which does not require any capital base to operate. As Brokers, we shall continue to uphold the integrity of our practice by rendering our quality service to the insuring public.
How many insurance brokers are in the federal Government Group Life?
The Head of Service is not saying that the premium was over bloated. What he said was that the premium is going to be renegotiated to bring it down to the actual requirement.
It very likely due to the change of guard in the Head of Service as people has different perceptions to issues. His predecessors saw it different and there had been two Head of Service since the Group Life started. That is my own possible reason l can give for what has happening.
Brokers on NNPC Accounts?
There had been no local insurance brokers on NNPC accounts for the past six years because NNPC has been convince to either convince use local brokers of foreign brokers.
We are been trying to make the corporation see reason on the need to use local brokers because the oil and gas business is not a business any company can do without the brokers. We are still trying to let them know very strongly that there is need to bring local brokers in the business else we may have to make a lot of public outcry to let the government and the public know the implications of not engaging local brokers.
What about challenges facing Challenges facing the broking arm?
Let me intimate you with the enormous challenges we face. The operational environment of insurance broking is becoming more and more unfriendly. Suffice it to say that there is a dire need to bring the insurance broking profession at par with professional bodies in Nigeria. In achieving this lofty vision, my plan is to anchor my presidency on the following seven cardinal points.
The future of insurance and insurance broking, like those of other institutions and practitioners in the financial services industry, revolves around embracing ethics, probity, accountability, transparency, integrity and honesty.
Because the success of our operation and the operators in our industry depends on the confidence our clients have in us, so my tenure will uncompromisingly focus on addressing the issues of ethics and professionalism through various articulated remedial strategies.
The present NCRIB Secretariat, which was acquired in 1992 and which was the first owner-occupied property by an arm of the Nigerian insurance industry, has been over-due for structural and infrastructural upgrading. By God’s grace, we will build an ultra-modern corporate secretariat, which the Insurance Brokers would be proud of and, hopefully, the foundation laying stone will be laid next week. We hope to start and complete it within two years of my tenure.
I will invest in the development of human resources of all categories of members and staff on the council to enable them cope with the following challenges of change in the volatile insurance market and global competition; increasing demand from customers and rapid changes in technology.
Insurance industry need to work as a team and speak with one voice, especially on issues and policies that affect our market in the emerging financial services supermarket. This will receive my priority attention. Through affective networking, the NCRIB will strengthen its relationship with relevant institutions within and outside the insurance industry.
The council would re-invigorate its strategic alliance with foreign insurance professional bodies particularly in South Africa, UK, USA and Canada . We will demonstrate greater commitment to building constructive partnerships, networking and strategic alliance so that tangible benefits can be derived by our members.
As the professional intermediaries in the insurance industry, the registered insurance brokers’ distinctive and premium identity will be re-defined to occupy its strategic position in the Nigerian insurance industry.
We must crush all competitions through unprecedented publicity to protect and promote the function and importance of the RIB.
We must drive it home to the insuring public (both individual and corporate) that the Registered Insurance Broker (RIB) is the best brand in both the local and international markets in the field of professional representation when compared with our other competitors in Nigeria such as Un-registered Insurance Brokers & Consultants, fake insurance brokers, un-registered bank intermediaries, insurance companies and other captive agents and worse of all, the absence of registered insurance brokers in the transaction of insurance contract which is a highly technical business.
We will use your annual subscriptions to re-brand and heavily publicize our members, the Re-registered Insurance Brokers (RIB). Nonetheless, my position must always be one of hope and optimism. Our Council, will take the lead in the crusade to reposition the economy by offering objective advice and innovative survival insurance products to governments and the other insured.
What are the challenges facing insurance broking in Nigeria?
Let me say that the challenges facing the Nigerian insurance broking professionals are quite enormous. We are at a time when our profession is being endangered by multitude of enemies whom we must combat in order to make progress. I will say that insurance broking is the inter-mediation between the insured and the Underwriters. Other inter-mediations are fakes.
What I mean by ‘fake’ is that the insurance broker is a company that acts as an intermediary between companies providing insurance services and individuals or companies who need insurance. Insurance agents are not fakes but they can be described as extension of underwriting companies marketing unit, who may not possess any special training, qualifications or skills.