Nigeria’s insurance market boasts huge potential, but it is difficult to unlock because of the lack of trust between customers and insurance providers. FBNInsurance believes technology is about to change this.

With a young population and a rapidly growing middle class, Africa presents huge opportunities to insurers. But so far, this potential has been relatively untapped. In 2016, the whole continent of Africa represented only 1.5 percent of the global insurance market.

The insurance penetration rate is particularly low in Nigeria. There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps one of the most significant is a lack of trust in insurance providers. Many people in Nigeria still struggle to believe that their claims will be paid quickly, fairly and accurately.

FBNInsurance believes the way to warm Nigerians to the concept of insurance is to build trust and enhance transparency through digital innovation. World Finance spoke with Val Ojumah, Managing Director and CEO of FBNInsurance, about how the company plans to make this a top priority over the coming years.

This year marks FBNInsurance’s 10th anniversary. How will the company celebrate? How has the life insurance space changed in this time?
In the last decade, the Nigerian insurance landscape has seen a significant shift away from the oversaturated world of corporate insurance and towards the retail space, where there are enormous opportunities for insurance providers.

The distribution strategy has also changed from a completely broker-dependent market to a multichannel system, where insurance products are distributed through various merchant representatives. Finally, we are finding that more products released to the market truly resonate with Nigerians. We are also seeing an increase in consumer awareness of insurance and its benefits.

To commemorate 10 years in the insurance industry, this year we are planning a host of celebratory activities with our numerous stakeholders who have contributed to our success story over the decade.

In 2019, FBNInsurance became the most profitable life insurance company in Nigeria. How did it achieve this?
The company achieved this by designing and marketing products that add value to the lives of Nigerians and by managing our costs very efficiently. At the same time, we maintained robust investment in our insurance funds. We were aware of the huge opportunities in the Nigerian insurance landscape and chose areas that were both high volume and low cost.

What innovations has FBNInsurance introduced recently and how have they improved the company’s services?
Last year, we rolled out our internal financial advisor app to two thirds of our 3,000-strong agency workforce. We positioned this platform to be more than just another sales tool – rather, we wanted it to act as a professional aide to our financial advisors. This ensures that when they are out in the field, they can give the best advice to customers and recommend products that actually fit their individual needs.

We have built artificial intelligence into our financial advisor app so that it has the capacity to recommend cross-selling opportunities based on data we already have on the customer. The app also provides a sales tracker feature for the advisor and their manager, as well as an appointment tracker and other messaging features. Meanwhile, customers can benefit from instant payment notifications and multiple processing options.

The app has great potential to transform our processes for the better. It reduces bureaucratic inefficiency by eliminating paperwork that can easily get lost in transit. Now, the underwriter can instantly receive a proposal, meaning there is a faster turnaround for policy conversion. The app will also allow us to operate with greater transparency.

Are there any digital technologies that will continue to disrupt and evolve the insurance market in the coming years?
The biggest challenge we have to overcome in the industry is the lack of transparency between insurance providers and customers. It’s crucial that we enhance transparency across all aspects of our business model, from product features and terms and conditions to payment arrangements and policy statuses.

Digital technology is helping us achieve this. Through our online platforms, we can show customers that we will fulfil our promises to them by insuring their most valued assets and safeguarding their future. In this way, customers don’t have to simply take our word for it – they can verify our performance for themselves. This can be done anywhere, at any time and by any digital means, from quick codes and WhatsApp to other web and mobile apps. Even calling one of our customer service centres has become a completely new experience: thanks to technological advances, we know exactly who the caller is before they say a word.

Through data collection and artificial intelligence, these platforms allow us to better understand our customers and their preferences. This helps us personalise our interactions with clients and ensure that our products are relevant to them. In this way, we fulfil our ambition to secure the future of Nigerians and their families. At FBNInsurance, we truly understand that the future is digital, so we have made it our mission to embrace the latest technological innovations to drive success.

To what extent are environmental risks a consideration for your employees?
Environmental risks and the impact they could have on our employees are a major concern to our organisation. Because of this, we’ve included action plans for dealing with environmental exposure in our enterprise risk management framework.

What is the current state of Nigeria’s insurance sector? How do you expect it to achieve further growth?
In Nigeria, insurance penetration has remained at less than 0.5 percent for over two decades. This positions the Nigerian industry among the least-penetrated insurance sectors in Africa (see Fig 1). While this is an indication of the current weak performance of the country’s insurance industry, it also highlights Nigeria’s potential, particularly for companies that are willing to exploit opportunities in the retail segment.

Awareness of the value of insurance is still relatively low in Nigeria. This inevitably limits the demand for products and services offered by insurance companies. Furthermore, Nigeria’s National Insurance Commission has identified that some cultural and religious beliefs act as a hindrance to the uptake of insurance. In fact, some consider them to be critical factors in the underdevelopment of the insurance sector.

Consequently, an aggressive consumer education campaign is a strategic priority for the insurance sector. From a regulatory perspective, new recapitalisation plans are expected to result in the emergence of stronger insurance companies that would be capable of underwriting bigger risks.

Can you talk us through FBNInsurance’s strategic outlook for 2020-23?
In the past 10 years, FBNInsurance has emerged as a leading life insurance company in Nigeria, becoming one of the top three life insurers based on market share. Our strategy is based on the fundamental premise that insurance penetration in Nigeria, which still stands at less than one percent, must be improved.

Because of the low penetration rate, the opportunities for first-time buyers of life insurance are huge, and the retail market is open to all players that possess the capabilities and stamina for it. Therefore, between 2020 and 2023, we will strengthen our capabilities in this regard, with a view to reinforce our foothold in the retail segment.

Specifically, our focus will be on the following strategic initiatives: sustaining agency expansion and enhancing productivity; establishing bancassurance partnerships with key banks; and leveraging digital technology to enhance our operational efficiency and service delivery.

Could you explain some of the key differences between your corporate and retail products?
Given that FBNInsurance is a retail-focused insurer, meaning most of its offering is developed for the retail market. These products are designed to address the particular needs of various types of retail customers while taking into consideration the specific customer’s income level. From time to time, we conduct research on the evolving needs of Nigerians, with a view to develop groundbreaking products based on what they tell us.

The primary corporate product of FBNInsurance is group life insurance. This is a mandatory life insurance product that companies with five or more employees are required to purchase on behalf of their workforce.

How important is corporate social responsibility at FBNInsurance?
Our corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies reflect our vision of becoming Nigeria’s first choice in wealth creation and financial security. This is an undertaking that can only be achieved by nurturing strong long-term relationships. This is a core value of the company and something that influences the way we go about our work. It means not just engaging with our stakeholders and striving to meet our customers’ needs, but also cherishing our workforce and the communities in which we operate.

The business of insurance revolves around trust. As a leading insurance company, it is imperative that we inspire trust and confidence in everything we do. It is with this in mind that we move into a bright new decade in Nigeria’s insurance industry.


February 18th, 2022

2019 Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism: 2 Nigerian Journalists emerge 1st and 2nd runner ups


Sanlam Group, owners of FBNInsurance Limited recently held its 2019 Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism at a socially distanced gala event in South Africa recently.


Two Nigerian Journalists from BusinessDay newspapersCaleb Ojewale and Isaac Anyaogo emerged the 1st and 2nd runner ups respectively. Omar Mohammed of Reuters News, Kenya also emerged as 2ndrunner up with Isaac.


Amid stiff competition, Claire Bisseker was named the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year 2019 for her outstanding analysis of South Africa’s complex economy. Bisseker who also won the Economy category award, is a regular contender in the competition. She has won the financial journalist of the year award in 2013 and as a joint winner in 2014.


The Sanlam Financial Journalist Award is an annual event open to all journalists who practise in Africa, the African Growth Story prize recognises stories covering the significance of business and investment on the continent. Entries are focused on the growth of the continent in terms of investments, infrastructure development, economic progress and related topics.


This year a total of 113 entries were received for the awards, which were established by Sanlam 45 years ago in a bid to recognise and reward exceptional financial journalism. The work judged was all produced in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and spans the African continent.


Sanlam Group CEO Paul Hanratty says: “A vibrant society needs strong media. In Africa, financial journalists have a profound impact in keeping us informed, helping to uncover corruption, tell our strong growth stories and act as watchdog for companies, government, markets and economy. Against a background of change within their own industry, we commend the outstanding work these professionals do and look forward to continuing our support of the industry.”


Mr. Val Ojumah, MD/CEO, FBNInsurance, congratulated the two Nigerian Journalists: Caleb Ojewale and Isaac Anyaogo as well as BusinessDay newspaper for the feat achieved for representing Nigeria creditably in the competition.



The Newcomer of the Year award went jointly to Thando Maeko of Mail & Guardian and Donald Magomere of Kenya’s Financial Times. Both demonstrated a vibrancy and poignancy in their storytelling on various topics ranging from investment to the economy.


The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Caroline Southey. Over a period of more than 20 years, Southey has served as an editor, media strategist, financial journalist, speechwriter, communications specialist and contributor to government policymaking. She is also passionate about mentoring and motivating novice business journalists wherever she practices the journalism profession. Caroline continues to contribute to journalism as editor of The Conversation.



Nixon Kariithi led the independent judging panel for the first time this year and was joined by Paula Fray, Xhanti Payi, Ylva Rodny-Gumede and Ulrich Joubert. New judges, bringing diversity and extensive experience in pan-African journalism, joined the panel this year and they were Angela Agaowike based in Nigeria, David Moepeng in Botswana, Tom Indimuli in Kenya, and Richard-Stovin Bradford based in the United Kingdom.


Commenting on Bisseker’s achievement as the overall winner, Kariithi says the award recognises the collective value brought to the financial journalism profession by an outstanding individual for consistent professionalism, influential reporting and inspirational contributions. “What made Claire stand out was her ability to pick the key stories in the news cycle and convey these to the public in a way that helps readers have a deeper understanding of the issues prevailing in the South African economy and beyond.”


The full list of winners and runners-up across categories were:


Business/Companies award

  • Winner: Pauli van Wyk, Daily Maverick
  • First runner-up: Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb
  • Second runner-up: Dewald van Rensburg, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism


Economy award

  • Winner: Claire Bisseker, Financial Mail
  • First runner-up: Londiwe Buthelezi, Business Day / Fin24
  • Second runner-up: Fifi Peters, CNBC Africa


Financial Markets award

  • Winner: Ann Crotty, Financial Mail
  • First runner-up: Rob Rose, Financial Mail
  • Second runner-up: Giulietta Talevi, Financial Mail


Consumer Financial Education award

  • Winner: Maya Fisher-French, Maya on Money / City Press / eNCA
  • First runner-up: Marteli Brewis, Kuier
  • Second runner-up: Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb


African Growth Story award

  • Winner: Tom Collins, African Business magazine (Kenya)
  • First runner-up: Caleb Ojewale, Business Day (Nigeria)
  • Joint second runners-up: Isaac Anyaogu, Business Day (Nigeria) and Omar Mohammed, Reuters News (Kenya)


Established in 1974, the Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism recognises and rewards exceptional financial journalism. The awards arthe premier financial journalism awards in South Africa. The winner of each category receives a prize of R25 000, while the overall winner receives an additional R35 000 and the best newcomer prize amounts to R20 000.


Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across 42 countries worldwide -34 African countries, 8 countries outside of Africa. Sanlam have created value for its stakeholders for over a 100 years since 1918 as they continue to contribute to financial resilience and prosperity in all the countries where they are present.

November 16th, 2020

FBNInsurance together with its subsidiary, FBN General Insurance and its new owners, the Sanlam Group, hosted its Brokers in a virtual Brokers Forum recently, pledging to provide excellent services to its teeming clients.

The Forum was aimed at welcoming the Brokers to the Sanlam family while providing an overview of the Groups operations and reassuring the Brokers of a seamless transition with the new ownership. The Forum was well attended by over 30 top ranking Brokers of FBNInsurance and FBN General Insurance as well as the Executive members of both businesses and the Sanlam Group.

Speaking at the Forum, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM), Mr. Heinie Werth, stated that the core strategy of the Sanlam Group is to be one of the leading pan-african financial service providers. “With a business presence in 33 countries in Africa, we want to be the preferred service provider across the continent when it comes to providing financial solutions and it is part of our ambition to be the number one pan-african financial services provider.”

On the way forward following the transfer of ownership of FBNInsurance and its subsidiary, FBN General Insurance to Sanlam, Mr. Werth stressed that the role of the Group is to leverage Sanlam’s 103 year old pedigree and provide the Management of both companies with the requisite support and technical skills to bring new products and services to the Nigerian insurance market.

While addressing the Brokers’ further, Mr. Werth sought their support and commitment in building and growing the Group’s operation in Nigeria, stressing that “We are optimistic that the FBNInsurance and FBN General Insurance teams will continue to provide the same excellent services to you and your clients that you have become accustomed to over the years. There is no doubt about this.”

In the same vein, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FBNInsurance, Mr. Val Ojumah, appreciated everyone in attendance, especially the Brokers, for their invaluable support to the Nigerian life and general insurance businesses and craved their indulgence for continued support to FBNInsurance and FBN General Insurance.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FBN General Insurance, Mr. Bode Opadokun on his part applauded the Brokers for their continued support to both businesses over the years while reassuring them: “We remain committed to partnering with you in offering innovative product solutions to our customers and we are open to more suggestions that would help improve our service delivery to you,” he said.

The question and answer segment was facilitated by Robert Domisse, Chief Executive Officer, Sanlam Pan Africa Life and Emmanuel Brulé, Chief Executive Officer, Sanlam Pan Africa General Insurance respectively.

With over a hundred years in wealth creation, Sanlam, a leading diversified pan-African financial services group, has businesses that cuts across 42 countries globally. Listed on the Johannesburg and Namibian Stock Exchanges, the market capitalisation of Sanlam is over $7billion with 104,000 employees across the world.

September 3rd, 2020

In view of the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak globally, most companies are adapting to the new norms of working and seeking alternative ways of reaching their customers. FBNInsurance Limited, a foremost insurance company in Nigeria and a member of the Sanlam Group, has adequately provisioned for this new norm by upgrading its digital capabilities and platforms to adequately serve its customers, especially its payment channels.


Various payment channels have been introduced to its esteemed customers to ensure premium payments are made with ease and on time so that customers continue to enjoy the benefits of the various insurance policies held.


In a briefing with pressmen, Val Ojumah, Managing Director and CEO of FBNInsurance outlined some of the payment channels available to customers: FBNInsurance Customer and Financial Advisor (FA) Apps, E-Insurance on their website, POS at their Aba, Onitsha, Warri and Ikeja Retail offices. Other alternative payment channels include USSD, ATMs, Web payments, Money Agents, Bank Payment/Online Transfer, Direct Debit/Standing Instructions, FirstBank First BAP platforms amongst others.


Through our online platforms, we can show customers that we will fulfil our promises to them by insuring their most valued assets and safeguarding their future. The introduction of various payment channels to our customers is one of the few innovations being pioneered by the insurance company. I urge our customers to use these alternative payment channels to generate e-receipt(s) for every payment made and send to for ease of payment reconciliation,” he explained.


In recent times, FBNInsurance has been keen to develop and improve its digital capabilities – something that particularly impressed the award judges. In 2019, the firm launched its internal Financial Advisor App to support its agency workforce, complete with artificial intelligence capabilities that can recommend cross-selling opportunities. It is just one of a few innovations being pioneered at FBNInsurance.

This singular effort recently earned FBNInsurance the 2019 Best Insurance Company in Nigeria at the World Finance Global Insurance Awards. The organizers of this award announced that winners earned their place based on the industry’s most forward-thinking players that can deal with unexpected shifts in the market and changes to consumer demands.

As the company upgrades its digital capabilitiesit continues to break new grounds in the insurance sector by continually leveraging its digital innovations to deepen accessibility to its insurance solutions to its customers.

FBNInsurance, a member of the Sanlam Group recently coveted title of Best Life Insurance Company in Nigeria at the World Finance Global Insurance Awards 2019. The success represents the fourth time that the company has received the award, after previous wins in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

August 21st, 2020
June 4th, 2020
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