The Future Is Bright For The Insurance Industry
Oluyemi Oluwalola studied insurance at both the polytechnic and university levels and became an associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria in 2002. He is also an associate member of the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria.
He began his professional career in mainstream banking as Insurance Officer at Trade Bank Plc, Ilorin in 1993. Between May 2006 and June 2008, he worked with Equity Life Assurance which later became Crystal Life Assurance and subsequently acquired by ARM Pensions.
He joined Industrial & General Insurance Plc in June 2008 as the pioneer manager of the Ado Ekiti branch where he worked briefly before being transferred back to Ilorin.
Mr. Oluyemi Oluwalola was the coordinator of other insurance underwriters for the highly successful National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) enlightenment programme on compulsory insurance. He is the Ilorin branch manager of IGI Plc and the Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Insurance, Nigeria, Kwara State Chapter. He has lived and worked in Ilorin since 1993.
According to him “I came here as a young man, married here and settled here”.
Tell us about the CIIN Kwara State Chapter and its activities?
CIIN Kwara chapter came about when the DG came from Lagos and summoned a meeting of underwriters and brokers where the desire to have a chapter of the Chartered Institute of Insurance Nigeria in Kwara State was raised.
What is your assessment of the insurance industry in Kwara State?
Well the industry faces a lot of challenges, but we are trying to make gradual progress. The Ilorin market is not immune to the problems that obtain elsewhere including rate cutting by colleagues, poor response to insurance products.
The market also need to open up a lot as there are few high net worth individuals that patronise insurance products apart from the corporate bodies.
We appreciate the appointment of the new MD of Kwara Insurance Brokers, Mr. Sunkanmi Adekeye, A fellow of the Institute, which should bring a fresh breath of life to the industry and help to sanitise the Ilorin market.
The industry here is getting response especially in the area of Life Insurance with those offering one year insurance policy really getting a lot of businesses right now.
Despite the fact that there are individuals who invest up to N1million on life insurance monthly, there are few individuals that patronise the general products, many houses are not insured, many vehicles are on third party cover.
We must not also overlook the fact that all the insurance companies (about 20) are struggling for the businesses of the few corporate bodies in Ilorin coupled with our big targets too. Some of the very big corporate bodies also have subsidiaries that are into insurance.
We also look forward to the government having a consortium of insurers where the government assets are adequately insured and every underwriter has a share as it is done in other states.
What is CIIN doing to promote insurance education in Kwara State?
Well, the state chapter does a lot of information and experience sharing at our meetings. CIIN being the educational arm of the industry, the Kwara State chapter has asked for an examination centre to be sited in the state but we must also note that there is no lecture centre here. Ibadan is the closest lecture centre for people who want to sit for the professional examinations. If these are in place, more people will be encouraged to write the exams and the level of professionalism in the industry will be increased.
The institute is looking at partnering tertiary institutions like The Federal Polytechnic Offa, which offers insurance as a course and the lecturers will also be of assistance at the study centre. I also reliably gathered that the University of Ilorin is planning to start Insurance in the Institution.
The Institute at the National level is also planning to partner with the Kwara State University for the establishment of Insurance Department under the current initiative of the President of the Institute.
The programme is aimed at enhancing the study of Insurance and the promotion of academic excellence in Insurance Departments of selected Higher Institution of which The Federal Polytechnic, Offa is one of the privileged beneficiary institutions is commendable.Worthy of note is the fact that many of the current practitioners are from diverse disciplines apart from insurance.
The government effort at introducing insurance as a subject in the secondary school curriculum will go a long way to increase insurance awareness.
How the rural areas serviced by insurance companies?
The marketers usually go to the rural areas, unfortunately, there isn't much business in those areas because most of the products are not targeted at them. There is still much need for products specifically designed for the rural populace.
What are the challenges of the insurance industry in the state?
Well, the industry faces a lot of challenges, but we are trying to make progress. Rate cutting apart from being common place in the industry, underwriters in Kwara has a peculiar penchant for this. Some of colleagues at times charge 2.5% for motor insurance comprehensive cover.
What measures are being put in place to stem the tide of fake insurance certificates?
Fake policies have been around for long and anybody could fall prey. It has happened to a former commissioner for insurance who was given a fake insurance certificate in Abuja. In Kwara State, serious progress is being made, especially the policy of vehicle registration which comes with an authentic certificate. A lot of fine tuning needs to be put in place when it comes to renewal of the vehicle particulars.
What should we look forward to from the CIIN?
We will continue our regular chapter meetings and we will soon come up with our plan for the year. We also look forward to the forthcoming national insurance educational forum which will be held in Ilorin.
Keep on keeping on! »
Jackie Appiah »