Skip to content

We must all embrace insurance coverage to mitigate the inherent risks of life

“We must all embrace insurance coverage to mitigate the inherent risks of life” – Prof. Ahmed bin Salawudeen (FIIN, FCIB, FCALM, PH, ACII London), Group President of Standard Group Holdings.

IWA: Congratulations on receiving the lifetime achievement award from the 11th edition of Business Day’s Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards 2023! It is a great honor. As someone who aspires to be recognized with a lifetime achievement award, what steps can I take now to increase my chances of achieving such a prestigious honour?

Prof. Salawudeen: Thank you for your kind words. As a practicing Muslim, I believe that doing the right thing is crucial in all aspects of life, both professionally and socially. People trust and believe in individuals who exhibit integrity and consistently make ethical choices. Credibility is earned over time, and it takes more than just words to build it. Therefore, we should prioritize credibility and strive for excellence in our chosen profession, continuously gaining knowledge and expertise. This will ensure that we are recognized and appreciated for our contributions, leading us to receive the recognition that we desire. Let me conclude by saying that I have been privileged to receive several awards from across the globe, and these recognitions remind me that I have to keep working harder.

IWA: Thank you, sir. Let’s now explore the insurance industry, an industry in which you have been an active player for over forty-three years. It seems that many Africans, particularly Nigerians, are skeptical about insurance and have not fully embraced it. As a reputable insurance practitioner, why do you think Africans have this perception?

Prof. Salawudeen: Interestingly, I believe it is mainly in Nigeria that we still have such a perception. The truth is, you cannot do anything without insurance. Before any investor puts money into a project, they ensure that the investment is financially secure. I have travelled globally, and when you tell people you are a chartered underwriter, they respect you because they appreciate the pivotal role you play in society. For instance, every day we face various risks, and insurance helps to mitigate those risks. Moreover, in countries with healthcare insurance programmes, it ensures that citizens have access to proper healthcare. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, healthcare often becomes a luxury that only the wealthy can afford, leaving the middle and lower classes to fend for themselves. Insurance also provides financial security in instances of civil unrest or other unforeseen events. It is essential to recognize that insurance is an international business acknowledged worldwide. The regulators in the Nigerian insurance industry are making efforts to educate people on insurance and its management.

IWA: Now, let’s focus on your ventures in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where you have achieved notable success. If you were to advise other Africans looking to do business in the UAE, what do you believe you are doing right that has contributed to your success?

Prof. Salawudeen: First, when you are in a foreign country, you must adapt to its culture and customs. In Dubai, honesty is valued more than money. You must live by their laws and conduct your business affairs honestly. Dubai has been a tax-free zone for years, as they focus on building a corruption-free society. Their strict implementation of rules ensures a safe and secure environment. Their autocratic system of government has contributed to their success, making Dubai one of the safest and fastest-developing places in the world.

IWA: Thank you for your insights. Sir, before we conclude, as someone who lives in both Nigeria and Dubai, what specific actions do you believe Africans should take to achieve sustainable growth and development, even if not as fast as Dubai?

Prof. Salawudeen: Africa is the next frontier of the world, but we need a clear vision and mission as a continent. Our leaders should have a vision for our countries. Going by the body language of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria it is my personal opinion that he has the vision of getting Nigeria to regain its place as Africa’s biggest economy and the most popular country on the continent. Therefore, I recommend that Nigerians should get on board with this mission and avoid excessive criticism of their leaders, which only damages our global reputation. Let us focus on managing our resources efficiently and prioritize healthcare for all our citizens. Nigeria has tremendous potential to become a prosperous nation if we properly manage our abundant resources. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

Leave a Reply