Dr. Teslim Sanusi, President of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) in this interview with Vanguard’s Esther Onyegbula at the council’s retreat held in Abeokuta talks about the reasons behind the retreat and industry issues especially on insurance broking in the country among others
What is the objective of this retreat organised by NCRIB?
The retreat is meant for junior, senior and management staffs of NCRIB, its objective is for participants to exchange ideas, study and learn from the number of presentations from paper presentation. It is also to help them learn how basically they can do what they have been doing in a more improved way. Because there is always room for improvement once you sit back, take a look at the process of doing things and have a detailed appraisal of how you have being providing service, particularly in the area of exchanging ideas with experts in that field.
Another objective of the retreat is to help them acquire skills on how to become professionals and how to render better improved services because at the end of the day they are employed by the registered insurance brokers and they have to be able to deliver in terms of performance. And once this is done the insurance brokers will be more buoyant in their own business and be able to support the council and this will have multiplier effect on the economic growth.
Do you think the insurance brokers in Nigeria are really competing favorably with their counterpart outside the country? And if they are why do most private institutions and government institutions still prefer to employ the services of expatriates outside the country?
Well I will say when it comes to expertise, not only in Insurance Broking I think in most profession Nigerians have it and that include both insurance and insurance broking.
The expertise is there and we are competing favourable with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
What we have is some class of insurance that are domicile overseas, or some business which are actually taken overseas, you have a situation where by because this businesses have to be taken overseas or domicile overseas, any organisation which is already domicile overseas might decide to use their own brokers there against indigenous Nigeria brokers this has nothing to do with whether Nigerians are not doing it well, because Nigerian have the capacity and expertise to do it well.
Which is the new Nigeria local content law states that oil and gas related insurance business should be done 100% through indigenous brokers because the expertise and capacity is here. But those who have been doing business just took advantage of the fact that because these businesses have to be transferred overseas so they just use their people.
Alright sir you have been in this industry for a while what does it take to be a professional insurance broker?
Well I will just simply refer to what the law states; it recognizes three criteria’s of becoming a registered insurance broker.
A professional in the field must come under any of these: first, the chief executive of the company, which is the chief driver, must be an associate member of the Chattered Insurance Institute of Nigeria which is (CIIN), and an equivalent body overseas and have at least five years experience.
Secondly it recognizes those who have been chief executives before the law came into been in 2003, it states that if at that time you have been authenticated by Chattered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) the same time you were CEO of your organisation, you are recognised to continue to manage your company as chief executive.
While the third one states that anyone who is an associate of the Chattered Institute of Insurance Brokers by qualification not by award are also qualified.
We at NCRIB are trying to put a program next year to ensure that we give opportunity to those who want to come in as specialist brokers under that category, in addition to other financial requirement, these are the basic requirement of the law.
What challenges does the average indigenous Insurance Broker firm go through doing business in Nigeria?
Well you have mentioned one of the challenges, which have business that are domicile overseas or that is taken overseas from Nigeria, instead of allowing it to be executed by an indigenous insurance broking firm even though the expertise and capacity is here; although we are gradually overcoming.
Secondly ensuring that organisation giving business to insurance brokers recognises that they need to go through a registered broker. Because of nepotism and tribalism which also occurs in other sectors, you find out that some organisation would employ the service of an insurance broker without putting into consideration the size, complexity and technicality of the business before giving it to an unqualified or unregistered broker.
And in terms of insurance you don’t know whether you have a good insurance policy until there is a claim. It is easy to pay out premium to insurance firm but it is when you have a claim that you will find out if you have actually packaged the right insurance policy for your business or organisation.
Or whether you have someone who would ensure that you get your claim as well; that is why we advice government, corporate institutions and individuals to go through a registered insurance broker because the package a well grounded policy for you, because as registered insurance brokers, we package a suiting policy and also ensure that the claims are well packaged.
What is NCRIB doing to enlighten, inform and educate the average Nigerian on the need to employ the services of insurance brokers while acquiring an insurance policy?
Presently we are educating Nigerians through publicity in the media both print and electronic. Each time we publish, we educate Nigerians that the best insurance is a registered insurance broker, consult you RIB.
We are holding seminars, organizing interactive session with organisation to help them realize the importance of employing the services of a registered insurance broker because they come under stringent laws and there are disciplinary measures in the event of any negligence.