President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, Mr. Eddie Efekoha, in this interview, speaks on efforts by the Institute to instil ethical practices in the insurance sector as well as increase insurance awareness among youths in the country. Excerpts:

By Cynthia Alo

THE insurance industry is continually faced with ethical issues. What is the Institute doing to address this?

The Institute has legal right to deal with ethical issues. We have the disciplinary committee and the investigative panel as well. These are the two committees but they don’t act on hearsay. A complaint would have to be made formally to the Institute and then, the matter can be dealt with.

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Once any issue comes up, the investigative committee will look at the issue, and then the outcome will be presented to the Council. After that, the disciplinary committee gives the necessary sanctions. So, if you have any case, do not hesitate to put it across to the Institute. I can tell you that each time that we have had cases like that, some are dealt with.

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Has the Institute sanctioned anyone on ethical breaches?

There have been cases of ethical breaches and at one point the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, wrote to the Institute to say that ‘A given member of Council was not qualified for a post and cant seek for re- election’. The issue was handled accordingly.

The Institute has an established College of Insurance. What are you doing to create necessary awareness?

In terms of publicising the College of Insurance, we just haven’t gotten it right. First, the wall of the college is far inside so, when you are coming straight, it is difficult for you to see the sign post of the Institute, however, that will be addressed. I agree that we have not promoted the College sufficiently just as we have not promoted insurance. And that is why one of the programmes of the insurance committee with respect to publicity is about awareness creation. So, we need to create awareness for the College. We can do this even with the limited resources we have. However, we have taken note of this and in the coming years will try and solve it.

What are you doing to improve insurance education/ awareness?        

We are collaborating with universities like Babcock to increase insurance education and awareness. We have equally opened discussion with the Delta State University. We encouraged them to start insurance degree programme.

We are also discussing giving awards to best graduating students this year. We are doing this with University of Lagos and Lagos State University because we believe that the sponsorship will equally expose the young minds to insurance even if they were not having the intentions initially. Also, Last year, the Institute started discussion with the University of London Business School. We are equally on collaboration as well. These are the little efforts that we are making towards increasing insurance awareness so that going forward, we could take further steps for positive impacts.

The ‘Miss insurance’ initiative served as a platform for increasing insurance awareness among youths but this has gradually dropped, what is the Institute doing to revive this?

For the Miss insurance pageant, we used to give out a car to the winner and the reason for the car is to help her commute from one point to the other in creating awareness but this hasn’t been so. There have been a misplacement of priority with this initiative and so, we need to get ourselves back to the drawing board to re-establish this. If we have a ‘Miss insurance’ that is knowledgeable on insurance and can talk to people of her age group on insurance, the tendency is that the acceptability of insurance will be better than when an old man of 50 to 60 years is coming to talk to  people below 30 years.

We will try to hear from the youths because they are our brand ambassadors.  We should not be forcing down what we think because in this era their views are important. So if they want this revived, then we can bring the funding aspect of the project but there will no longer be a car for the winner. Also, we can keep the initiative but we must clearly define goals for that office. Anyone that wishes to contest for that position should be screened and must clearly state what she would do if she emerges the winner.

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