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Talking Insurance: Categories of managers in insurance industry(1)

By Yinka Bolarinwa

In the most basic term, a manager is a person who gets things done through others. He is a person who can manage himself and the resources at his/her disposal such as human, material, capital, and at times information available to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.

The role of a manager (in this context will mean same as chief executive officer), will always depend on whether a business concern is an organized system where there will always be a board of directors (BoD) that supervises the functions of a manager who is primarily responsible to carry out the strategic plans and policies as established by the board of directors.

Whereas, in the un-organized system, there might not be a structured BoD, which means in most cases the CEO is Alfa & Omega. In other words, there might be a cocktail of arrangements. Conceptually, the manager in this case carries out the strategic plan and he or she executes the plan at will.

Generally in all cases, there are three major factors that have been identified over time for any manager to excel and these are; the leader, the subordinate(s), and the operating environment. One of the things that makes a manager is to set up a cohesive team (i.e. having around him clusters of subordinates who naturally will have different skills that will be relevant to achieving the organisation goals), work on him/her self as a good leader, and ensure that the environment in which they operate is conducive to work. He studies the employees individually and instils in them the passion and zeal to further inculcate self development towards excellence.

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One of the major expectations of a manager is to make decisions and implement same appropriately because he is responsible for both the success and the failure of the organisation. He is also responsible for all issues as operations, marketing, strategy, financing, creation of company culture, human resources, hiring, firing, compliance with safety regulations, sales, PR, etc. He delegates where and when necessary.

The manager’s major duties are what he actually does, the responsibilities he doesn’t delegate. Some duties cannot be delegated, an example of which is policy formulation because this is used as a tool for the development of effective and acceptable courses of action for addressing management objectives. It is pertinent to mention at this juncture that the main duties of a manager can be classified into three areas — policy formulation, policy dissemination and succession plans.

When the policy has been formulated, a manager is faced with the task of policy dissemination, which is often overlooked and seen as an afterthought. It is simply said to be the spreading of the policy package strategically to all the organization’s stakeholders, i.e. employees, customers, public at large, etc. On the other hand, a succession plan which ensures hitch free continuation, and, indeed, the delegation itself must be done only by the manager.

A manager must understand that succession planning is a process for identifying and developing internal or sometimes external people with the appropriate potential and skills to fill key business leadership positions. It increases the availability of experienced and capable employees ready to take the organisation forward and assume different roles internally as they become available without creating any vacuum.

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