The Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN) has called on proponents of the N300 million insurance rebranding project to first tackle key issues that led to public disdain on insurance business, before embarking on a change mission.

Its President, Olamerun Gbadebo, told Inspen in an interview that efforts made by the drivers of the project would amount to futility, if issues like the internal structure of the agency system; remuneration of agents and review of brand strategy of agency marketing are not properly addressed.

Gbadebo, who also expressed misgivings over exclusion of the association in the project, urged drivers of the project to first rebrand internal mechanism of insurance practice, before embarking on the proposed project.

According to him, the allegation that conduct of agents in the past contributed to poor image of the industry, should prop drivers of the project to engage agents in remaking the image presently. He stressed that since agents are field workers, they should be brought in as change ambassadors in the new concept.

He also urged underwriters to critically examine the remuneration package of agents, stressing that on a weekly basis, underwriters put up advertorials for positions of marketing executives, but never get people to recruit, irrespective of the high rate of unemployment in the country.

He maintained that when underwriters interview 100 applicants for marketing job placement, only about five of them take the job, while 95 reject the job due to poor remuneration. He said the 95 that rejected the job offer only go around painting the industry in bad light.

On how the association, can help drive the project, he called on the proponents to integrate the association in the project so that issues around agents could be properly addressed and that the agency network should be urgently restructured to give agents their rightful position in the industry.

Gbadebo posited that going ahead with the project, without addressing issues around the agency business, would amount to throwing money at the perceived image problem, whilst leaving main causes of the problem.

The project which was to commenced in October this year, was moved to first quarter 2017.

It was gathered that the project was moved due to financial challenges. The operators had hinged the project on financial contributions from members, but the targeted date could not hold due to inability of some operators to meet their financial obligations.

According to the Head Corporate Affairs, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) ‘Rasaaq ‘Salami; the project would kickstarts in first quarter 2017, adding that by then all necessary requirements to make the project successful would have been put in place.

Insurers have adopted the rebranding initiative as a vehicle to transform their business. They resolved to propel the multi-million rebranding campaign through radio and social media channels.