Managing director/CEO FITC, Chizor Malize, has asserted that globally, the insurance landscape is undergoing a paradigm shift.
She spoke during the 2022 NAICOM Board retreat themed: “Strengthening Board Resilience and Agility for Success” held in Abuja.
She stated that digital is no longer a nice to have but a critical part of business strategy and sustainability. Thus, for the insurance industry to succeed in maintaining economic and social relevance, key players need to partner in offering innovative solutions for new and emerging risks.
Speaking further, Malize noted the need for NAICOM to lead the drive for financial inclusion, leveraging Microinsurance, Takaful insurance, and so on, and to also drive industry innovation through tech-enabled insurance solutions, adaptable business models & products to provide insurance customers the opportunity to buy as they go.
Malize, said financial inclusion can be enhanced through tech-enabled insurance solutions, adaptable business models and products that give customers the opportunity to buy as they go.
She advised that digitisation of organizational operations is a must have for every right thinking business to drive strategy and sustainability.
She said for businesses to succeed in maintaining economic and social relevance, key players needed to partner in offering innovative solutions for new and emerging risks.
Other faulty members at the event include Dr. Emmanuel Meribole Permanent Secretary, Service Policies & Strategies, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF); Engr. Ishaq Yahaya, representative of DG, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Director, Compliance, Certification & Monitoring; Malam Arabi, DG Bureau for Public Service Reforms, SGF; Mr. Aloy Igbojekwe, Managing Partner, De Hertz Consulting, and Mrs. Afolake Abubakar-Lawal, Managing Partner, Imperial Law Office Attorneys, facilitated meaningful deliberations around the retreat objectives, with great insights and experiences.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, in setting the tone for the board retreat, stressed the need for acculturation of the board members into the public sector.
The Chairman of NAICOM, Abubakar Sani expressed the board’s expectations from other directors adding that the commission is taking steps that will make the industry to be fully digitalised.
Major issues discussed at the workshop include driving industry transformation through technology and innovation; role of board in driving policies, standards and reforms, best practices for the regulation and supervision of corporate governance, among others.
Speaking on the need for improved service delivery imperatives, Permanent Secretary, Service Policies & Strategies, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole emphasised the need for training and capacity development.
He stated that the revised Public Service Rule makes a case for standardized trainings, as training and capacity development will provide more opportunities for enhanced and adequate service delivery.
Addressing the roles and responsibilities of the board in procurement, Engr. Ishaq Yahaya, Director, Compliance, Certification & Monitoring, Bureau of Public Procurement revealed that procurement needs to be done with the expected level of compliance and appropriation.
He also charged the board to ensure a robust knowledge of the Procurement Act and an understanding of their role in procurement to ensure a harmonious working relationship with management and to avoid contravening the provisions of the Procurement Act.
Director-general, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Dr. Dasuki Arabi buttressed the need for boards to keep themselves abreast with the commission’s business and industry trends and to develop agility in their dealings.
“When public service organisations become agile, it enables new ways of working across policy, regulatory and service delivery. Agility protects the government from disruption” he said.
Managing Partner, Imperial Law Office Attorneys, Mrs. Afolake Abubakar-Lawal emphasised the need for board members to be active in the affairs of the board and the commission, and to not drop the ball on ethical conduct by equipping themselves with corporate governance knowledge and imbibing same.
“Every board member is required to understand corporate governance guidelines and regulatory provisions, and their actions should be guided by these provisions,” she said.
The board retreat was aimed at equipping the NAICOM board with the requisite knowledge needed to successfully navigate the increasingly complex and dynamic insurance landscape, the current and emerging business terrain, and its change dynamics, and provide an understanding of the global insurance industry trends and their implications for the board’s regulatory oversight role and supervisory practices.
The board retreat brought to the fore valuable and critical recommendations and action points for the board, including the need for NAICOM to actively embrace insurtech, as technology is drastically shaping and reshaping insurance products and services and the regulation of insurance.
The board was therefore urged to innovatively rethink ways of leveraging technology as a tool for supervision and regulation. Another key takeout was the need for the NAICOM board to drive the introduction of a regulatory SandBox for the industry, as similar financial services sector regulators have done, so as to create a platform that brings together the regulator, insurtechs and other industry innovators to conduct trial tests on new products and services before implementing in the wider sector.
This helps regulators make proactive informed decisions in responding with appropriate regulations while promoting competition and consumer protection. FITC has in recent years organised training programmes for regulators in Nigeria and outside Nigeria in building capacity for sandbox regulation.