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Let NAICOM boost insurance awareness in Nigeria -Glanvill Enthoven MD

By on March 26, 2011

Glanvill Enthoven & Co, a subsidiary of Odu’a Investment Company Limited, is one of the oldest insurance brokerage firm in Nigeria. In this interview with Adekunle Tayo, the Managing Director of the company, Mr Olayemi Olatunji, explains how the firm has succeeded in retaining its clients, successes, challenges and the efforts of National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to enhance the operating level through increased awareness on insurance. Excerpts:

SINCE you resumed office in 2008, what have been the major challenges you’ve been facing?
I don’t want to bother you with the operational challenges. First, there is a challenge of the vision of the company. What is Glanvill Enthoven, where is it coming from and where is it going? So, there is a challenge of focusing the attention and the efforts of the board and the entire management and staff in one direction, and what we’re doing is ensure that everybody understands and key into that corporate vision. The mission of the company is not something that is concrete, you have to explain it and get everybody to buy it.

We have also built in new values, we have five set of values with the acronym PETIT. This means Professionalism, Essentialism, Transparency, Integrity and Team-work. We have sat down together and we have agreed on these five major values to move this company forward. We believe that with the entrenchment of these values, the style, the motivation, the way the company does its business will be unique and distinct.

There is also the challenge of corporate governance; making sure that things are done properly, ensuring that committees, avenues and processes of doing work are followed. The situation has improved much more than when I resumed and we are very grateful for this. Overall, we have had to reposition the company in the minds of the customers. In summary, the challenge has been to restore Glanvill Enthoven to the number one position in the insurance industry as it was one or two decades ago.

Ostensibly, this would have been the fulcrum of your turn around strategy, could you give more insight into the other things you added into putting Glanvill Enthoven at the present height it is?
Firstly, we have made sure we understand our sector; that means we are not just going around every client. The truth is that some clients are worth more having than others. We have studied our clients, we have broken them into private sectors — multilateral and multinational; we have also looked at the government sector. This will help us to target the kind of prospect that we are going out for.

Secondly, we have strengthened our ability to obtain new business. Our branch network has been re-examined and strengthened in terms of the technology we have and also in term of manpower.

The ability, consequently, to retain clients has been increased; as you know, its much easier to grow an existing account than to go after new ones. We are happy that we now have a machinery to make sure that we retain most of our clients. We are also pleased to enter into a business agreement with Norton Company, LLC in the United States. This is the largest unquoted insurance broken company in the world.

This agreement has enabled us to be able to access superior technical services which they render to us. Also, they have been of assistance in business acquisition; that is American company based here; we’ve been able to gain access to them.

We are working on our ground and corporate repositioning. Coming in here, you would realise there is a lot of construction going on; it’s an ongoing process and we believe we will be able to unveil a new head office before the end of this year. These are some of the things we have been working on. Internally, we have worked on our committees and our processes to make sure that not only the top management, but also the middle management is actively involved in decision making process. This helps us to place ourselves in a position that people can understand internally where we are going; what we are doing and why we are doing them, and we are glad we are seeing result. At the end of 2010, we achieved considerable profit before tax; that is, the unaudited account and I know we can do much better than that in this year and the next.

It appears things seem rossy for Glanvill, but looking at the insurance industry, there seems to be low patronage in general. What do you think should be done to increase the orientation of Nigerians regarding insurance?
I agree with you that the orientation is unlike what we have in South Africa and Egypt. There are a number of things that can be done. At the level of individual company, insurance players should learn to look beyond what the customers want. The media too have been doing wonderfully well in promoting the lot of insurance and I want them to do more. I believe NAICOM has been playing its role, and all these combined together will help increase the orientation of Nigerians.

For example, if a customer comes to you and says he wants to ensure his car, you need to look beyond his request of just insuring his car. As a professional, one needs to inquire if he needs a life insurance, whether he needs a fire insurance, burglary insurance or any other policy. With these steps, I believe that existing patronage can be increased.

It might also interest you to know that there are some certain federal contracts that an organisation like a company cannot bid for, let alone win if such company does not show the evidence of having obtained good life assurance for your employees. So, if this is well handled, it will definitely increase the market size of insurance companies.

In all these repositioning efforts and strategy to move Glanvill Enthoven forward, what have been the contributions of Odu’a Investment Company, being the parent company?
The first and most important support is that the vision we have in Glanvill Enthoven is in tandem with the new vision in Odu’a. I acknowledge the assistance and advice of Mr Bayo Jimoh, the Group Managing Director of Odu’a. Its been very helpful knowing that the things I do here enjoy his backing. It’s helped me to stay focused, not worrying about any external influence. I’m also happy that I have a very supportive board. I must also mention that Odu’a and other major stakeholders have put in so much money into Glanvill Enthoven in the past two years that we have been here and we are expecting more. They can see that we are pursuing the vision with vigour and we believe they will do more for us, especially financially.

Odu’a has also been forthcoming on technical matters. They give us helpful technical pieces of advice which have helped us out on different occasions. We are also grateful for the partnership we have with the leading Wester Nigeria Investment vehicle and we hope the partnership will grow and expand in years to come.

The Maxim, “no premium no cover,” does it still exist in the industry?
Even when the maxim, ‘no premium, no cover’ was existing, there was a market agreement that allows about 60 days for remittent collection to be paid. But I think what is happening now with the tightening of accounting rules in the industry, the payment and collection rate is much better. As a broker, I see that clients are more inclined to pay quickly now.

Source : Tribune