We are gathered here today to welcome not just “another book on insurance” to the bookshelves but to celebrate the publication of a unique book that I believe offers vivid information and seeks to transfer knowledge on insurance practice in Nigeria to the general public from one of the industry’s best. I am elated at this development and wish to commend the author, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye for finding the time to put this book together notwithstanding her tight schedules.
Book authors in our midst here today will attest to the fact that it is never easy to write a book especially of this nature. It is no fiction or collection of essays. It is indeed a product of careful painstaking research work, observation of happenings within the insurance industry and the professional knowledge and personal experience of the author as an active insurance operator of so many decades. It must have been very tasking intellectually, time consuming I presume, especially when it dwelled on a boring subject like insurance.
I am told the book is written in simple and understandable language for the benefit of diverse stakeholders. I am yet to read the book, I must confess. However, knowing Funmi for who she is and what she represents, I will have no doubt about the quality and richness of the contents. I would therefore not hesitate to recommend that everyone in this hall and outside it buys a copy of the book for keeps and another one for a friend. This is one way we could bridge the knowledge gap in insurance and combat the dearth of insurance books in the country.
As you know, insurance is not a popular subject in schools in Nigeria, while only a few institutions offer it at the tertiary level, and, but for the recent effort of our institute it would have been non-existence at the lower levels. The lack of local study materials has been one of the major challenges confronting the development of insurance professionals in the country which I strongly believe would be reversed if more Professionals would sacrifice time to produce materials in this subject.
So, you will understand my elation over this laudable attempt by Funmi to confront this challenge head-on with this publication. It is my hope and prayer that this latest attempt will challenge us all, especially the men, to burn the candle and make us proud. This, I believe, will go a long way in encouraging the populace, particularly the teaming youth to begin to see insurance from a different perspective. This book will certainly be of a great value and importance to the Insurance and non-insurance stakeholder alike.
Funmi has taken time to put this piece together for the interest of our noble profession. As I have said in several fora, we are not in this profession by mistake. We chose to be here and should cherish the profession.
So I implore all insurance professionals to always strive to contribute their quota no matter how little, to better the acceptance and practice of the profession. We should all be concerned about the kind of industry we intend to bequeath to the next generation of insurance practitioners who are wont to demand explanations of our contribution to the growth and development of the profession in the country.
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has in the past few years contributed to the development of insurance profession in the country through support to the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) and the College of Insurance. As part of efforts to assist tertiary institutions in the education of insurance professionals, the Commission has donated insurance books to some Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria. On February 23, 2017, the Commission handed over an ICT Centre it built at a cost of N10m to the Federal Polytechnic, Offa in Kwara State. It also gave a grant of N5.4m to the school to purchase insurance books for use by the students.
Similar donations have also been made by the Commission to the insurance department of various universities across the country. Beyond this, the Commission has been sponsoring lecturers to foreign institutions to further their knowledge at Masters and Ph.D. levels in insurance and actuarial sciences. In recent times, the Commission have sponsored seminars and conferences for insurance students of the University of Benin and Ahmadu Bello University. The actions of the Commission in this regards is geared towards the promotion of insurance education and entrenching insurance culture at the youth level.
Very soon the Commission would be revealing a new policy geared towards the fast track development of actuarial professionals. The program would combine a national scholarship scheme for actuarial students and a calculated infrastructural initiative to upgrade a local facility that would qualify for appropriate exemption by the Faculty of Actuary so that more student can obtain the required training and examination locally.
I am aware that the purpose of our being here is not to make speeches but to launch a book. So I would not want to make long speeches about what is and what is not about our industry and profession but, to simply honour a woman of immense value to the insurance industry in Nigeria, a core professional, an astute businesswoman and now, a budding book author in her hour of celebration.
On a final note, let me say that I am aware that not every one of us can write a book for different personal reasons. But for those amongst us who have the flair, let us take up this challenge to contribute to the education of Nigerians about through our writings. We certainly need more books of this nature to explain to stakeholders from different strata of the economy how insurance works and the benefits inherent in its consumption.