“I’ve Turned Things Around at NIA,” Yetunde Ilori Speaks on Achievement as DG

“I’ve Turned Things Around at NIA,” Yetunde Ilori Speaks on Achievement as DG

The outgoing Director-General, of the Nigerian Insurers Association, Mrs. Yetunde Ilori, will soon become the President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria. She speaks on the major achievements of the association in this interview with Legit.ng.

During your tenure as the DG of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), the Nigerian insurance companies realized a befitting edifice as the association’s office, after years of desiring for one. How does this make you feel?

When I resumed at NIA, we were in the old building where I was always having monthly meetings.

I saw that beyond what we were having, there was the possibility to turn things around. With the support of the council, with the support of the companies, this happened.

Yetunde, Ilori, NIA
Outgoing Director-General of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Yetunde Ilori speaks on achievement at the association
Source: Facebook

From a story building, we now have a befitting six-storey building; that is the pride of the entire insurance industry, not just NIA. I am happy also because when you look at the building from the outside, you see the edifice, befitting for the entire industry.

Read also

MTV Base Ghosted: Ilo and Oluchi to help jilted Nigerians find closure on reality show

And then what I realized is that coming into it is another thing, because you seetheambiancee is so warm, it is a workplace that makes you get the best out of the people that are working there. And it's not just people walking in, it's not just about putting the walls there and then you get in there and nothing is happening, it is inspiring. People have been here, not just within Nigeria.

If you go to Ghana, they are also now building their own Secretariat. They came here and they commented and commended us for what we have done and they said, they would want to go back to their home country and replicate that.

What are some other achievements that you would like to mention?

Read also

“We cannot take people for granted”: Senate urges Tinubu to address food Scarcity, hunger crisis

There are milestones and successes to be celebrated. Before now, many things were done manually, but we have platforms that people are leveraging on to achieve whatever they need to achieve when it comes to insurance matters.

Whether verification of insurance certificates, to authenticate whether this one is genuine, or whether to make things easy. For example, we have the trade Portal through which banks can ascertain that marine certificates that people are carrying are genuine.

Before, when a customer in the banking hall presents a paper, they need to put a call across and say is this certificate issued by you? But that's no longer the case. Everything uploaded onto their own trade Portal is managed by the Central Bank, and you can confirm the genuineness of the certificate that any customer is carrying.

We moved on from there to have the USSD code, working with NIBSS, to say people can verify the genuineness of the policy, and from there we moved on to the Nigeria Insurance Industry Database (NIID).

Read also

Disappointment as FG flops on promises to fast-track passport processing, begin home delivery

That becomes a central thing that all enforcement agents are now using to ascertain the genuineness of the cover that people present to them. It started with the motor, but it was not just the motor that is there now, later, marine came on board.

Now, we have Occupier's Liability, builders, and liability insurance. We're now working with the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to enable them to ascertain the genuineness of the cover presented to them in respect of group life. And that's not going to be the end, it is going to be on and on. So that's something worth celebrating.

During your tenure, the NIA produced a commissioner for insurance among other achievements by your members. How does this make you feel?

I want to say in terms of human resources, when you look at people that I have to work with, out of among us, we now have a Secretary General for the West African Insurance Companies Association Secretariat.

Read also

“Loan or equity”: Expert advice on best source of capital for new business

I don't think without the polishing here and there, that would have been possible because they also felt inspired with the encouragement that you can do anything, you can go for it, go for the position, why not you? So in competing with all other people across the sub-region, one of my staff here got the position.

Well, I'm also proud that the last Chairman that I worked with at NIA is now the regulator for the entire industry, and I believe all these people in various areas that they're, they will do very well and make a difference. So it's time for all of us to make a difference within the insurance industry and I believe together, we can do. I got the entire management staff to work with me; the support of the council, the various people that have chaired the council within the seven years that I have been here, they've all been very fantastic and supportive.

Read also

After Kenya’s protest, FG makes important proposition on new tax for the poor

Have the insurance companies significantly improved their capacities to carry more risks and respond to claims faster?

The Nigerian insurance companies paid N669.4bn in claims in 2023. Yes, the insurance industry can carry any risk, and I want to say that without any fear. This is because of the way insurance works, at a time we saw claims payments as a major issue.

And for that reason in the course of my working here as Director General of NIA, we had to expel three companies that were not measuring up, and not responding or meeting their obligations. We expelled them and, later the regulator withdrew the licenses of two of them; but you will appreciate that it was NIA that first of all, even expelled them. This expulsion doesn't just happen.

This will happen after we have invited them, we have given them time, we have asked them to come up with a payment plan, but where they are still not living up to their responsibility, we had no choice but to ask them to go, and we also came up with several publications asking beneficiaries of insurance policies or even claimants to come up where they have not been paid their claims, and we saw people coming up. We also intervened in helping some people to resolve issues among our members, and so, claims figures rose, and we are beginning to earn the trust of the public. Apart from the advert that we placed, asking people to come up with a claim, we had personality shows where we were asking people to call and report claims that were not being settled. We still need the public to believe in this process and believe it's achievable.

Read also

'Not a lab experiment': climate tech CEO on green innovation

There might be one issue or the other with companies that have lawsuits with the regulator when a case is in court, everybody's hands are tied. But where the company is now in court, and they're not settling your claim, we can assist and support in claim settlement. So, claim settlements are something that we have priced as very important and this is what we want to see everybody, every company, living up to their responsibility and settling claims promptly. We would like our clients to know that there are things that they also need to do to make it easy, reporting documentation and providing the necessary details that will enable companies to pay promptly.

What are developments on the Nigeria Insurance Industry Portal (NIIP)?

I want to say NIIP is a product and project that t wee have been working on as NIA for a long time; it wasn't like absolutely my initiative.

Read also

Labour speaks on time new minimum wage act will be ready

It started long ago. So, NIIP, the Nigeria Insurance Industry Portal, is like an offshoot of the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID). The first time that this came into being or that it actually became real and functional was in the year 2021, and that one is still running now.

And how is this running? We want insurance to be accessible. Not just accessible, we want it to be easily accessible by anybody. Sometimes when you're talking about people buying insurance, the question comes, where do I buy? So we see in motor insurance that fake insurances were thriving just because people didn't know where to get it, so they go to some other places and whatever they offer them there by people that have nothing to do with insurance, they just get the paper.

But when they now have claims, that is when they realize that the company that the name is even appearing on the paper never existed in insurance, or there has been a tweak or a company that ceases to exist. And so the general impression by the public is that, oh insurance companies are never certain whereas the name on the paper they were carrying does not exist to start with.

Read also

100+ timeless football quotes from your favourite stars

So, we felt we needed to provide the public with an easily accessible platform secured platform, and for them to do it in the right way. Because insurance companies are set up to pay claims, and when you don't go to the genuine source, you are carrying fake, there's no way you enjoy the service. So we want them to have this security. We want them to enjoy the benefits.

How can motorists access genuine insurance through the NIIP?

You can log on to that platform to buy your insurance. You have the opportunity if you have been an existing insurance buyer to pick the company that you were buying from because you can renew on the platform and you can buy as a new customer.

As an existing customer, you can go there, search for the company that you were transacting with before and then you buy and pay the right premium so that you get the right benefits. Also, if you're a new buyer, or a new user of insurance, whereby every insurance company that sells motor is presented to you, you can click anyone. If there's any challenge with any of our members, you can come to this platform.

Read also

60+ The Lorax quotes from the Dr. Seuss’ famous franchise

We're a self-regulatory organization, we can call them to order, and we can bring both of you together and explain things if you have done the right thing because there are responsibilities or there's an obligation on the part of the buyers also to meet. So once you meet your obligations, you have paid the right premium, you have chosen the right company, and honestly, you will get your claims when the need arises, no stories. We’re with you to ensure that you benefit from that which you have purchased.

Has the NIID reduced fake motor insurance certificates on Nigerian roads?

I will say yes, but to what extent? We can do more. So now, it's not just a question of fake, it is a question of people insuring, and we need to work with the right agencies that need to enforce. Ours is to sell, we are not the ones to enforce.

Read also

50 best Johnny Cash quotes from songs and interviews

Where it is not enforced, whatever doesn’t get measured, many times will not get done. In Lagos State for example, without running after anybody, the state has even automated the process.

You only need to pass through and there's a camera that will catch you, and then, the next thing is, text messages will be sent to you that you are violating, you're not carrying the right document. So I think it is something that the entire nation has to adopt so that if this process is adopted across the nation, there won't be a question of anybody running after anybody as it happens in other climes. You just get your letter that you have violated, and sometimes they ask you to appear in court. Sometimes you are just sent your fine and you're asked to pay. Sometimes the entire vehicle is impounded.

It is not even a question of carrying fake, some people don't even carry any paper at all. It helps the citizens of the nation because there are times you have accidents and who compensates the victims?

Read also

50+ quotes about lockdown life everyone in the world can relate to

They're not compensated because the vehicle they were traveling in was not carrying any insurance, so they were not covered. So the families of victims are just left to carry their burden which shouldn't be. When you look at the premium that is being paid, even though we said it was increased, Nigeria is one of the countries paying the least for insurance; the premium we are paying in the country is about the least in the region. In fact, across the region, Nigeria has been accused of saying, that what you're paying is insufficient. But we told them that we have the number, and with the number, if everybody comes on board, it reduces the cost because you know insurance itself is a pool, it works with like the law of large numbers.

Insurers to pay Dangote for refinery reconstruction after fire Incident

Legit.ng previously reported that the country's insurance sector has reaffirmed its dedication to the timely and effective resolution of all legitimate claims.

Read also

50 of the best women empowerment quotes to inspire you

This followed the recent fire at the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals Company, which is situated in Lagos' Lekki Free Trade Zone.

The Dangote Refinery fire incident was among the risks covered by a group of Nigerian insurance companies, according to a credible industry source who verified.

Source: Legit.ng

Pascal Oparada avatar

Pascal Oparada (Business editor) Pascal Oparada is a Mass Communications Graduate from Yaba College of Technology with over 10 years of experience in journalism. He has worked in reputable media organizations such as Daily Independent, TheNiche newspaper, and the Nigerian Xpress. He is a 2018 PwC Media Excellence Award winner. Email:pascal.oparada@corp.legit.ng