•Sanwo-Olu calls for private sector investments
The doors of Heirs Insurance Limited and Heirs Life Assurance Limited were yesterday officially opened for business in Lagos. The ceremony also saw the unveiling of the Heirs Towers, a new edifice by Heirs Holdings.
The event had in attendance, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas; Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu; bank chief executives as well as other business executives.
In his opening remarks, Elumelu who is the Chairman of Heirs Insurance, thanked the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for granting operating licences to both organisations.
He pledged to deepen insurance penetration in the country as well as change the insurance landscape.
He said: “Let me say that the journey that started seven years ago has finally materialised. It is good when our policymakers, regulators and public sector leaders begin to understand that for us to eradicate poverty, both the private and public sector must work together.”
According to him, by approving the licences for both companies, the regulator has helped to create more jobs in the country and improve the country’s tax revenue.
He stated that over the years, Nigerians have been yearning for insurance companies that will offer excellence and superior services, which would be digitally-driven.
He added: “These are what Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life Assurance would bring to our people. I want to say to you (Thomas) as our regulator, we have a track record of governance, best tradition of compliance and making sure that you (Thomas) looking back even when you retired, you will be very proud that you signed off these licences for these two companies.
“To the general public, we believe that our economy is the biggest in Africa, yet insurance-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is insignificant. We need to work with the regulator and other stakeholders to make sure that insurance-to-GDP improves. In most other economies, insurance companies own banks.
“Finally, I want to say that we are coming with a strong track record, not just on governance, but on business success and business turn around and most importantly, wealth creation for all. We believe that prosperity should be democratised; success for us will not only be felt by the shareholders, but would be felt by everybody, including our communities as we strive to eradicate poverty.”
On his part, Sanwo-Olu, who commended Elumelu, said coming out of the pandemic, there was need for increased collaboration with the private sector.
He said: “We need to encourage the private sector because they are the real engines of growth; we need to acknowledge that no matter how well the government does, we certainly cannot employ everybody that needs to be employed and the private sector are the ones that can create opportunities for our businesses and they are the ones that can grow the GDP.
“Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life are bringing freshness and new beginning to the sector and they have said to us that they are going to be simple, they are going to use technology to drive insurance and that it is going to be affordable.
“I am convinced that Heirs Life and Heirs Insurance would certainly change the insurance landscape. With the array of men on the board and management team, it is clear to me that you will bring your wealth of experience to drive this company and take this sector to greater heights.”
Thomas also commended Elumelu over his decision to play in the insurance sector as well as his decision to contribute to building the insurance sector.
“The timing of this launch could not have been more auspicious in view of the fact that NAICOM has been rolling out various developmental initiatives aimed at deepening insurance penetration in the country. With the capitalisation of these companies (Heirs Life and Heirs Insurance), I have no doubt that the Nigerian insurance market is poised to write big ticket risks.
“We want to minimise outflows and conserve foreign exchange for national development. Let me quickly state that the commission expects that the affairs of these companies would be conducted in consonance with extant insurance sector corporate governance guidelines and other directives.
“The independence of the board and its committees, including ensuring adequate disclosures and transparency are required of these companies. Let me state here that the commission is now more determined to ensure professionalism and high ethical standards to protect the integrity of the Nigerian insurance industry,” Thomas added.
In her contribution, the Acting MD/CEO, Heirs Insurance, Dr. Adaobi Nwakuche, said: “We are delivering insurance that is easy to understand, quick and reliable, simplifying our customers’ lives. Our mission is simple: make insurance accessible.
“Our goal is to transform customer service: cutting waiting time in claims processing and purchase to bare minutes — across all touchpoints, including mobile devices. At Heirs Insurance, we want to give our customers what they have so often lacked – high quality insurance, at an affordable price – and with an insurer that is on their side.”
On his part, the MD/CEO, Heirs Life, Niyi Onifade, said: “Our goal is to integrate life insurance products into people’s daily lives to create financial inclusion and bring quality financial services to the many, not just the few.
“This way, we empower people to live more confidently and achieve their dreams, whilst securing the future of their loved ones. Heirs is all about giving our clients financial security. As people build wealth, we want them to know that they have a partner in Heirs Life, providing financial support throughout their life.”
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