Insurance Sector: Tasks Before Omosehin BUSINESS

As Olusegun Omosehin steps in as the new Commissioner for  insurance, operators and stakeholders have urged him to roll his sleeves for the enormous work facing him, setting agenda for his new regime, as captured by Ebere Nwoji in this report

President Bola Tinubu penultimate week announced the appointment of Mr Olusegun Omosehin as the new Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive Officer National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).

Since the announcement,  industry operators have been expressing their confidence and trust on him as the right candidate for the job.

As he takes his seat in  office, both insurance sector operators and industry analyst  are holding their pointer stick indicating to him the  priority areas as the incumbent regulator.

Omosehin has been advised to look back from where his predecessors started and the job they have left undone for him in their long journey of taking the Nigerian insurance sector to the exalted position of global insurance market standard like London and American insurance markets.

With  this appointment, Omosehin  becomes the seventh commissioner for insurance  to preside over NAICOM ‘s affairs since the commission’s establishment in 1997 by the National Insurance Commission Act 1997.

Insurance commissioners’ score cards

Before Omosehin’s appointment, here are his  six predecessors, namely: Eugene Okwo, who was the first commissioner for insurance after his service of the insurance regulatory body in his capacity as Director of Insurance services when the commission was a directorate under ministry of trade .

After Okwo came the late Oladipo Bailey, who left an indelible footprint in the commission through his recapitalisation and re registration exercise  that brought a major turn around in the industry. After Bailey was Emmanuel Chukwulozie who will be remembered by a major controversial and inconclusive recapitalisation exercise that was marked by series of litigations,  his  exit, imprisonment and eventual death.

After Chukwulozie came Mr Fola Daniel who peacefully concluded his first and second tenure of eight years as commissioner for insurance. His regime was characterised by  peace, progress and cooperation between the operators and regulator and most remarkably the commencement of the industry’s journey towards meeting global market standard through his  Market Development and Restructuring Initiative(MDRI).

According to him, the  major objective of  the initiative was aside job creation and fight against fake insurance institutions, was the transformation of  the industry into trillion Naira market size .This objective  was realised by the operators in the Q4 2023.

After Fola Daniel came Mohammed Kari, the erstwhile Managing Director of the hitherto Federal Government owned NICON Insurance Corporation.

His regime was market by uneasiness, hostility between the regulator and the regulated and moment of uncertainties making the operators less comfortable and much frightened.

This worked against his bid for second tenure resulting to his regime lasting for just one tenure of four years.

After Kari came Sunday Thomas who was appointed as acting Commissioner for insurance in July 2019 after his tenure as Deputy Commissioner for insurance technical in April 2017and was confirmed as commissioner for insurance on May 2nd 2020.

Thomas appointment was openly embraced by virtually all the operators and their workforce.

He was seen as an insider who understood the rules of the game and knows where the shoe pinched. All through his tenure as the commissioner for insurance, respite and normalcy returned to the industry.Though his regime suffered the usual opposition to capital raising in the industry the situation was handled maturely and peacefully to the extent that operators on their own called for re introduction of the rejected risk based capital model which introduction by his predecessor brought serious confusion to the industry.

Surprises on Thomas Exit 

But one of the big surprises to the operators uptill date is why Thomas could not be given chance for second tenure in office.  Operators said he deserved this, given his enormous contributions to the growth of the industry.

Expressing his surprise in this regard, the Managing Director Afriglobal insurance Brokers Mr Casmir Azubuike said: “To me the change was a shock and very sudden. First, it was never anticipated and the usual rumours  that spread whenever a change is in sight, never came. Secondly, and most likely the reason, everyone expected that Mr. Thomas would be reappointed to serve out his second term, especially as he has some critical assignments he was yet to conclude. The ongoing implementation of the tenure of MD’s and ED’s of insurance companies and the enforcement of some compulsory insurance as directed by the presidency etc. The shock particularly was as it came same week when the former commissioner lost his wife. In any case, leadership is a continum.”

“The out gone commissioner performed creditably well, he succeeded in closing the usual rancor and and confrontation among practitioners. He also brought the insurance industry to the mainstream interface and relevance with other industries and the government. Indeed he bowed out while the ovation was still loud. I wish him well in his future endeavours”, he stated.

Operators’ rating of   Omosehin 

Interestingly, industry analysts said if the appointment of a new commissioner for insurance to succeed Thomas was to be put to vote, ordinarily very few or no body would have remembered to nominate Omosehin.

According to them, despite his years of experience and position as the incumbent Chairman of the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA)  before his appointment, there are myriads of his senior colleagues out there that would have been  pointed out as better option.

Indeed, nominees wouldn’t have remembered him for the post of commissioner for insurance  when the likes of Tope Smart, the Chairman of NEM Insurance, Oye Hassan Odukale, the former Managing Director Leadway Assurance, Eddie Efekoha, the former Managing Director Consoludated Hallmark Insurance and even Priscilla Soares, the immediate past Executive Secretary African Insurance Organisation are there.

With this, analysts said Omosehin is a child of destiny, as regarding the new position he found himself in. They therefore concluded that  he whom the cap fits must wear it.

Operators’ testimony about Omosehin

However, since his appointment, his colleagues have described him as a round peg in a round hole, insisting that though humble by nature Omosehin has what it takes to steer the NAICOM’s boat.

“The focus now is on Omosehin and I’m also confident that by the time he settles in to roll out his agenda for the industry, we will be convinced that the presidency made no mistakes in his appointment” said Casmir Azubuike, the Managing Director Afriglobal Insurance Brokers. Other insurers who spoke about his new position, said a lot is waiting for his attention as the federal government’s adviser on insurance.

Operators’ Agenda for Omosehin

Pointing to the enormous tasks on his table, insurers said there are a lot of initiatives that Thomas put forward supported by operators who hoped he would accomplish it in his second tenure.

They said now that his second tenure did not materialise, Omosehin has the onerous task of ensuring they are implemented instead of discarding them.

They listed some of these as consolidation on the digitalisation process which Thomas initiated and ensuring updating and advancement of the commission in this regard, ongoing implementation of the tenure of MD’s and ED’s of insurance companies and the enforcement of compulsory insurances, especially the compulsory builders insurance which implementation he anchored at the insurance conference of 2023. These include licensing of micro insurance institutions to ensure insurance penetration in the country.

His crusade for prompt claims payment, especially his latest initiative of compelling insurers to place advertisement on dailies inviting members of the insuring public who have any unpaid claim to approach such firms with the necessary documents for the purpose of paying such claims.

As Thomas was determined to supervise the process and ensure payment of such claims, Omosehin has been urged not to allow such image laundering initiative to die with Thomas regime but to follow it to the later  and ensure that any body who has such unpaid claims with requisite document is paid by the insurance company.

Again, Omosehin was advised to ensure that the relationship, recognition accorded to the industry by the Federal Government under Thomas remains and surpasses the present level.

Omosehin was also advised to study critically the 10 year insurance industry strategic plan and map of growth drawn by Thomas and ensure their continuity and implementation .

Operators said he should pay particular attention to human resources development initiative of the past regime, especially in the actuarial field  development and consolidate on what the previous regime was doing in order to raise more actuarial scientists in the country.

He was advised to uphold his predecessor’s  actuarial capacity development programme for the Nigerian insurance industry which has helped to develop some certified actuarial analysts in Nigeria.

Omosehin has been advised to ensure the continuity of double digit growth rate of the industry and ensure an upward shift from  0.4 per cent contribution to national gross domestic prodiucts (GDP) to higher level.


“Indeed, nominees wouldn’t have remembered him for the post of commissioner for insurance  when the likes of Tope Smart, the Chairman of NEM Insurance, Oye Hassan Odukale, the former Managing Director Leadway Assurance, Eddie Efekoha, the former Managing Director Consoludated Hallmark Insurance and even Priscilla Soares, the immediate past Executive Secretary African Insurance Organisation are there.”

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