With great confidence and applause from other insurance agents across Nigeria, Demola stepped on to the stage loaded with insurance industry leaders to receive the award for the Best Insurance Agency in Nigeria for the second consecutive year!
He simply thanked his company, Mutual Benefits Assurance, his colleagues and, most of all, ARIAN for giving out the Award, thus symbolising the new life of the Insurance Agent in Nigeria.
Since the disappearance of insurance agents with their Vespa motorcycles and the future of many Nigerians, there has not been any strategic and deliberate action to redeem the pride of the Insurance Agent like ARIAN has been doing in the last couple of years.
The Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN) led by Mr. Kingsley Obuvie of Leadway Assurance has not only revived the professional body of insurance agents but has sought to make its members enjoy the recognition and reward they need to stay on.
Interestingly, insurance business was introduced into Nigeria by 1900 when the Bank of British West Africa (BBWA which later became First Bank of Nigeria) was appointed as an agent of Royal Exchange Assurance of the United Kingdom in Lagos.
Several years later, the agencies had become the responsibilities of frontline Nigerians who were given the power of attorney by foreign insurers to act on their behalf, thus initiating the Nigerianisation of those insurance companies which still thrive today!
Can I get away with posting an impression that the insurance agents have been in the forefront of insurance development and indeed the Nigerian economy? May be! This is because many well established and renowned Nigerian business moguls, who started as traders and merchants, have some insurance agency experience in them. Surprised! It is an amazing story for another day
Today, as ARIAN celebrates its third National Awards, Obuvie has emphasized that his mission is to ensure that Nigerians will no longer be cheated by agents and agents will not be maligned by other people, hinged on the fact that every person interested in insurance agency is required to be a registered and financial member of ARIAN. With its code of professional conduct and continuous training, he believes that the confidence of the public in relating with insurance agents has been awakened.
ARIAN relies on the direction of the evolution of Nigeria’s insurance industry to drive its membership with strong hope that the future provides greater opportunity for insurance agents. The impact of the Awards given to different categories including the Best Insurance Agent, Best Insurance Agency, Insurer with strongest agency force, Outstanding Insurance CEOs and Lifetime Achievement have already been well received by many insurance companies. Even insurance companies in General Business Only are working with ARIAN to activate their insurance agencies for more business generation.
It is expected that all stakeholders, especially policyholders will be interested in knowing whether an insurance agent is a member of ARIAN before dealing with them to ensure that any issue that may affect the relationship can be addressed.
Of course, with the support ARIAN enjoys from Mr. Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the rebirth of the Insurance Agent in Nigeria is only necessary if insurance penetration must deepen.
Let’s congratulate ARIAN as they celebrate their performances three years running!
Acknowledgements: A Century of Insurance in Nigeria by Nigerian Insurers Association