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Bola Onigbogi: Opening vistas for insurance broking through strategic engagements

Leadership is all about foresight, diligence and tenacity of purpose in taking followers to where they desire or sometimes don’t desire to go.

For Dr.(Mrs) Bola Onigbogi, the close to one year of her tenure as the 20th President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), which is the umbrella body of all Registered Insurance Brokers in Nigeria had been quite eventful and momentous.

After the glamour and glitz that characterized her investiture at the luxuriant Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, where the crème de la crème in government, the traditional, intellectual and net worth individuals were present, Dr. Onigbogi who is the second female President of the 57 year old Council has continued to prove her mettle as a rounded leader who through the most bumpy challenges could still provide effective and admirable leadership.

Going by the proverbial saying that morning determines the day, Dr Onigbogi had hit the ground running with her bi-focal mandate of image projection and strategic engagement, to open greater doors of relevance for the insurance broking profession, which though play very pivotal roles in the insurance industry and national economy, but had been at the backwaters, due to public misconception and poor acceptance.

As a way of giving practical vent to her leadership aspirations, the Ilesha Born London trained Chartered Insurer had pursed her leadership mandate with unrelenting vigour.

As many have known, “crusading” for better acceptance of insurance in our clime is like literally squeezing water out of the rock; but with the resilience and can-do spirit coupled with the support of her team and members, the efforts of Dr. Onigbogi has started to yield good results.

Needless to say that the insurance industry had continued to groan under low acceptance.

As it stands today, the industry contributes less than one per cent to the nation’s GDP in spite of strides being made by the constituent bodies and the regulator. The acceptance of insurance brokers is even unimaginably low as many still misconstrue the operators as Stock Brokers or Insurance tied Agents.

This is far from being correct. Insurance Brokers are professional intermediaries with unassailable roles in the insurance value chain. Aside from helping clients (be they government or individuals) to make the right choices in the type of policies and insurance companies to patronize, they also serve as their ally in the prosecution of claims when a loss occurs.

Cognizant of this, Dr. Onigbogi clearly understood the need to rally the needed support of notable individuals in government and other spheres of the society for their voices in support of the insurance brokers’ brand. Happily, the strides in this direction are already yielding fruitful dividends. It is pivotal in the annals of the Council that a prominent traditional ruler in the mould of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi would endorse Insurance, nay Brokers.

Receiving the delegation of the Council in his palace at Ife, the elegant traditional ruler who was also personally present as the Royal Father of the day at the investiture of Dr. Onigbogi highlighted the roles of insurance and particularly Insurance Brokers in helping clients maximize full benefits of their lives and investments.

He said the lack of appreciation of insurance has been the bane of the nation’s economy. He opined that it is prudential to make insurance a first line consideration in business and financial planning at all levels.

The prominent ruler gladly accepted the offer to be the brand ambassador of the Insurance Broking profession and promised to deploy his personality and resources to take the crusade of insurance brokers’ awareness to his circle of influence.

In the realm of government, the NCRIB under Dr. Onigbogi has opened doors both in the executive and legislative arms of government. She latched on the overwhelming physical presence of many national assembly members at her investiture to effect necessary lobby for the council’s issues.

Aside from her sterling presentation at the public hearing of the national assembly on the amendment of the public procurement Act, Dr. Onigbogi was deemed worthy to be on the insurance industry delegation accompanying the Hon Minister of Finance to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the federation on issues relating to the COVD-19 palliatives.

Her pathfinding efforts with the federal capital development authorities through the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Mrs Ramatu Tijani Aliyu has given a soothing hope to members who may need anything from the institution.

Definitely, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the much expected visit to the presidency by the Onigbogi led administration would have materialised. The meeting earlier consented to by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was postponed with the hope of a revisit when the pandemic tails off.

Of course, one cannot remiss the most recent visit and overwhelming reception of the NCRIB delegation by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as a landmark accomplishment in the strides of Dr. Onigbogi.

During the visit, the NCRIB noted that there was no greater way to appreciate the former president than to confer on him the coveted Fellowship of the Council as well as a Brand Ambassador of the Council. She said it was during his tenure as President that the Council’s Act was signed, which was a watershed in the annals of the Council as it enhanced the ethical and professional entrenchment of Insurance Brokers in the comity of other professions.

In his response, Chief Obasanjo who accepted the awards joyfully and promised to live up to the expectations of the Council in the projection of its brand underscored the impelling need for all to factor insurance into their personal and corporate decisions in view of its pivotal benefits to human and business survival.

He opined that: “insurance is like a nation’s army whose roles are most appreciated during the period of war or unforeseen circumstances threatening lives and property.

He averred that most of the insurance laws (including the NCRIB Act) and policies he assented to during his tenure as President were based on his understanding and belief in insurance as a safety valve for the individuals, businesses and national economy.

The icing on the image making projection of the Council under President Onigbogi was the recognition of the support of insurance brokers towards the Covid-19 insurance industry relief to the federal government. The nation’s President, Muhammadu Buhari singled out the insurance industry for recognition and applause in his nationwide national broadcast on the pandemic; the first time that insurance industry generally would achieve such feat.

With these sterling feats, despite the untold disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. (Mrs) Onigbogi has re-affirmed the view of Robin Sharma in his book “The monk who sold his Ferrar i”that it is the willpower that allows a leader to push his dreams forward, even when the tides are seemingly contrary”. The Nigerian Insurance brokers are surely the immediate beneficiary of this positive leadership trait, for which they have continually given resounding plaudits to their dynamic President.

Tope Adaramola is the Assistant Executive Secretary

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