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NCRIB advocates ethics, professionalism in risk underwriting

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THE Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) has advocated enforcement of ethics and professionalism in the business of broking.

The President of the Council, Ayodapo Shoderu, in his address at the second yearly conference and exhibition of the Ghana insurance brokers association in Elmina, Ghana, said the issues of ethics and professionalism the kernel of discussion is quite commendable because these are issues that have continued to generate an undying attention and ideation amongst professionals all over the world.

According to him, this is not far-fetched as they constitute the major pivots upon which business success or failures rest. It is a known fact that the foundation of any business behavior is hinged on moral principles and practices of those people involved and the standard set for or by the profession. While people are part of business solutions; they are also mostly responsible for many business challenges. Business challenges which organisations may face include responsible and informed decisions making, confidentiality, piracy, fraud and misuse of information, trade secrets and so on. The concern about how business should behave, as one of the dominant institutions in the society, has captured the attention of both academics and practitioners and has generated heated arguments and debates.

He said that there exists a thin line between professionalism and ethics in insurance business, which is our own constituency, it is apposite to note that professionalism connotes the utmost demonstration of integrity and probity. That is, the professional must always display ability to stand up to the test of accountability. He must not do anything that will not stand to private or public scrutiny. The professional must be a person of impeccable character who will not compromise moral principles and the ethics of the profession. Professionalism also includes continuous demonstration of competence acquired partly through continuous leaning and personal development.

The NCRIB boss said ethical behavior on the other side may be defined as a set of moral principles and it derives from the Greek word meaning “ethos” which means “character”. It has also been seen as a set of a system of moral principles and branch of philosophy which defines what is good for the individual and the larger society.

“Global attention has been focused more on the issue of ethics in recent times due to painful tales of failed corporate institutions, even in the most sophisticated economies such as the United States of America where companies like Enron, Adephia, Worldcom, etc had collapsed due to indiscipline or unprofessional attitudes of employees, including top management. The observed major indices of decay in these institutions was greed and desperation for protection of personal wealth of the concerned business managers or professionals, driving their companies to bankruptcy.”

Why ethics in insurance business, he asked? Since insurance itself is built on the principles of utmost good faith (uberima fidei) Insurance Brokers are fiduciaries and Insurers are trustees of policy holders’ funds. An insurance professional must therefore put service above self and should always endeavor to employ the most effective and economic ways to doing business and achieving the legitimate objectives of his company.

“For the above to be possible every country must continually subject its professionals to some forms of regulations, and this may be in form of government or self -regulation or a combination of the two. I am glad to note that the Nigerian insurance industry has continued to fine tune its Code of Ethics to meet with changing dynamics of business and professional practice.
For instance, the extant Code of conduct of the industry stipulates that every insurance practitioner must observe the general law of the land as well as adhere to guidelines and decisions of his profession and trade association. He (the professional) must ensure that his business is conducted in accordance with sound insurance principles. Rules are made therein to ensure that operators adhere to high moral standards in the performance of their duties. Appropriate rules are also made for the guidance of Insurance Brokers, Underwriters and Loss Adjusters”.

He explained that since the society is not static, prescription of ethical standards for the professional cannot be a once and for all thing. The insurance operators must constantly challenge their regulatory institutions to come up with regulations and laws that are in line with the changing global environment.

In view of the increasing temptations to cut corners or embrace unethical acts, the professionals must be vanguards in societal reformation. Professionals must realize that they are the conscience of the respective nations where they operate and refrain from the temptation of staying aloof in political, social, economic and environment matters”.



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