He’s no doubt one of Nigeria’s dynamic boardroom colossi whose impressive track records in the tactically technical insurance industry is second to none. That’s Bode Akinboye for you. Notwithstanding the pervasive harsh economic situation under which businesses have been operating in the country with most companies resorting to taking some\= drastic decisions to remain in business, National Enquirer can conveniently report that Standard Alliance Insurance Plc is instead raising its head tall in all directions. This is courtesy of the refreshing business tactics being brought to bear by the new Board and Management under the Chairman, Mr. Johnson Egwu, an accomplished banker and financial analyst and the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Bode Akinboye, a longstanding insurance practitioner, respectively.
The new Board and Management came in, January 2015 after a new investor, Gemrock Management Company Limited, acquired strategic stakes in the underwriting company in December 2014.
Upon assumption of roles, the new Board and Management were saddled with the mandate to, among others, “evolve the company into a composite underwriter, aggressively grow its market-share, run a more responsive claims administration policy, sustain profitability and dividend returns to shareholders and to make the organization a more exciting place to its varied publics to partner with.
Checks by this office show that the Board and Management are delivering on all goals. Records show that most of the basic regulatory approvals needed to perfect the merger of both Standard Alliance Insurance Plc and Standard Alliance Life Assurance Limited to form a composite company have been achieved. This was after the companies’ shareholders gave their nods to the board to go ahead with the merger plans. At the moment, the two companies are functioning as one with the objective of, among others, reducing administrative cost, raising customer satisfaction level and returning the company to the full path of profitability.
Apart from achieving the above and increasing its market share, the company has been deliberate about matters relating to claims settlement. Upon resumption in January, 2015, the new Board and Management inherited large amount of unpaid claims with the company returning losses for close to six years.
Despite the obvious harsh economic situation, the new team took this claims challenge up with all boldness to create the required trust that will engender continued patronage and to grow its market share. Accordingly, the company paid a consolidated claim amounting to N2,089,400,000.00 and N1,531,927,000.00 as at the end of 2015 and 2016 respectively. A total consolidated claim of N400,762,331.04 has already been paid out to genuine claimants during the first quarter of this year. As it defrays the inherited claims, the company made it a mandatory policy to settle any fresh claims reported along the line from January, 2015.
When contacted, the CEO, Mr. Bode Akinboye, admitted that “we are not fully where we want to be on claims payment yet. When the new Management headed by me resumed duties in January, 2015, we were faced with the huge arrears of unpaid claims we inherited. The company was almost losing its stability on all fronts. However, the board which is made up of accomplished young professionals were undaunted by the size of the challenge as it was determined to change the story for the company. We knew we had a good brand that was once the toast of investors before 2009 ending. And true to our belief, the story is different today as we have paid a very substantial part of the legacy claims. Trust is now returning as we deliver on promises. It was not surprising, therefore, that the company was recently rated BBB by the South African-based Global Credit Rating in recognition of the company’s consistent claims paying ability. So, on behalf of the Management, I can assure the remaining genuine affected policyholders that in the next few months, we would have taken care of their own.”
In response to other questions he was asked to clarify during our phone chat with him, the CEO, Mr. Akinboye, explained the value which the new Management team under his leadership places on the company’s human capital strength, noting that without them, the company would not have returned to its former profitability status. According to him, “despite the unbearable economic situation which has negatively impacted on business operations in the country, we at Standard Alliance Insurance Plc have not retrenched or sacked a single staff. We increased the salary package and also promoted some deserving staff to various levels of responsibility and moved some others to other departments where they will be of much strategic value to the company. Some have also left us for greener opportunities. We cannot stop such work mobility. But I can tell you that though we miss them and wish them well, their exit has not in any way affected our market share and income as we have other able hands that have perfectly and suitably filled their gaps. Our 2017 first quarter performance shows that we have even outperformed our 2016 first quarter results and we intend to sustain this trend.”
According to him, “we will continue to invest on deserving staff and strive to provide the needed enabling work environment for everyone to excel at Standard Alliance. Our ultimate goal is to return the company to its former pride of place which it was before six years ago to those looking for where to invest in and where to work at. I can assure you that we are almost back there.”