By Rosemary Iwunze
The African insurance market is set to brainstorm on ways the sector can contribute to ongoing efforts at rebuilding economies seriously impacted by the pandemic.
Accordingly, insurance operators across Africa and the world will converge in Nigeria from September 4-8, 2021 as the country hosts the 47th Conference and Annual General Assembly of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) to deliberate on the theme: ‘Rebuilding Africa’s Economy: An Insurance Perspective’.
The event which was last held in Nigeria 21 years ago, will take place at Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The hybrid event, is expected to attract dignitaries from government circles, insurance sector; foreign and local investment world; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); media amongst others.
Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of AIO 2021, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Nwachukwu, said the conference was scheduled to hold last year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AIO Secretariat in conjunction with the LOC decided to hold it this year as a hybrid event to cater for those who will not be able to attend physically.
She said: “We need to emphasize that in planning this conference at this time we have taken full cognizance of all the health protocols and restrictions on public gathering, hence the decision to make it a hybrid event.
“To give further impetus to this decision, we are limiting the number of physical attendees while others are being encouraged to take advantage of the virtual conference to participate from their different locations. For physical attendees, all COVID-19 protocols will be observed and implemented to the letter,” she said.
Nwachukwu maintained that the LOC has carefully followed the template provided by AIO Secretariat in planning the conference, whilst assuring that they are prepared to host the best and most memorable conference.
She said: “There is no doubt that COVID-19 pandemic had left in its trail, very debilitating effects on many economies and there are efforts at addressing these challenges.
“This informed the decision of the LOC to use the opportunity of the 47th AIO conference to contribute to discussions around how insurance can contribute to ongoing efforts at rebuilding economies seriously impacted by the pandemic.
“The above informed the theme of this year’s conference which is: Rebuilding Africa’s Economy: An Insurance Perspective.
“We also have four other subtopics to address other contemporary issues affecting the insurance industry and they include the following: The new normal: How leaders can reset for growth beyond COVID-19. Regulation, innovation and the future of insurance.
“Harnessing the potential for growth and development in the Nigerian insurance market and AfCFTA and the African Insurer: Prospects and Opportunities,” she submitted.
According to Nwachukwu, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning has been very supportive of their efforts, adding: “We owe her a lot of appreciation for the letter of comfort which was the first requirement from AIO as proof that we have the support of the government to host the conference.”
She said that one of the major highlights of the 47th Conference will be the assumption of office by the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) and Group managing Director of NEM Insurance Plc, Mr. Tope Smart as the next president of the pan African organisation for the next one year, adding that he deserves the support and good wishes of all insurance operators.
She remarked that the LOC, is working in cohort with the AIO Secretariat and has assembled a strong faculty to deliver the different papers from the main conference theme to the sub-topics, adding that the resource persons include Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute of Security Studies, South Africa; Belhassen Tanat of Munich Re.; Yinka Sanni of Standard Bank Group and Tawiah Ben-Ahmed of Metropolitan Life Insurance, Ghana.
She maintained that the AIO conference will also include the Life Seminar and all related activities, stressing that the hosting of the AIO conference is significant to insurers.
“Apart from the opportunity to showcase our rich culture and hospitality, it will also be a great opportunity to correct some of the misconceptions about Nigeria and her people,” she added.
She thanked the Commissioner for Insurance, Olorundare Sunday Thomas who has been working assiduously and liaising with the various ministries and agencies to ensure that the organisers get the full support from the government.