The Federal Government has urged the new leadership of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) to ensure that their insurance broking function is not exploited as a vehicle for corruption and money laundering.
Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mohammed Kari represented by the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Finance and Administration, George Onekhena who spoke during the inauguration of Kayode Okunoren as the 18th President of the NCRIB, said insurance broking profession holds the potential of facilitating economic growth.
He urged the new president to put in place necessary logistics that will ensure that brokers comply with all the laws of the land.
He stated that as professionals, brokers should take equitable interest in discharging their duties in the interest of all the stakeholders.
He enjoined brokers to recognise their role in insurance penetration especially as it includes the development of financial inclusion.
“They should recognise their role as employers of labour and to improve their quota to the resolution of the economic problem that is affecting this nation today,” he said.
He told the new president that his position is critical to enthroning the change mantra in the sector, noting that he has a role for the future in maintaining the code of ethics and compliance with relevant laws and regulation guiding the insurance industry.
He assured brokers of cooperation as regulator in facilitating their growth and development.
In his inaugural speech, Okunoren said his tenure will be ‘A regime of consolidation and progress.’
He stated that NCRIB will collaborate with the government on risk management.
He said: “In view of the pivotal place and role of government in growing the industry and providing social benefits to the people, the NCRIB in the course of this regime will collaborate with government, particularly in availing it with its repertoire of knowledge in risk management, to support relief and operational efforts in the event of losses occasioned by fire and other hazards.
“We intend that the collaboration would be a win-win situation whereby government would be able to latch on the expertise of brokers in taking proactive steps against disasters when they occur.
“It is my strong belief that government could transfer the burden of compensation to victims of disasters if insurance is given its due place. This effort will free resources for other progressive ventures and aid the prudential fiscal thrust of government.”
Speaking on professionalism, he said the first consideration for him would be the advancement of professionalism in the insurance broking profession.
“As the professional arm of the industry, brokers cannot afford to fail. We shall view and promote professionalism in its holistic form. “While reckoning with the fact that paper qualification is the first step towards professionalism, more attention will be paid to issues such as ethical adherence, image, comportment, business relationship amongst operators and continuous education to buoy up the competencies of brokers.
“In fact, we shall promote a blend of learning and interpersonal relationships. Whilst individual brokers will continually be attuned to their professional responsibilities, the regime will also concern itself significantly with how brokers are perceived by the clients or the public. It may be noted that the horizon of brokers today has been significantly affected by the image clients conjure about the practitioners.
“Suffice to state that the wrong and degrading perception of brokers has been responsible for the wrong treatment usually meted to them in bidding for business, unlike other professionals. This must stop. In order to restore or promote the integrity of our practice, this regime will strengthen internal disciplinary process to ensure that members adhere strictly to ethics and integrity in all their professional undertakings,” he said.
Okunoren said in view of the changing operational environment that has continued to affect the broking practice, his administration will be proactive in relating with relevant regulatory and government institutions whose activities impact on members.
He added that relationship with NAICOM will be strengthened with initiation of regular interactive platforms to discuss issues affecting brokers, rather than being reactive in their approach.