L- Mr. Chinedu Onyilimba. Head Corporate Communications and Company Secretary ; Mr Benedict Ujaotuonu. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Tunji Oyebayo, Deputy General Manager, Business Development, all from the Universal Insurance Plc at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) today July 6, 2023 in Lagos.
By Favour Nnabugwu
Universal Insurance Plc, one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the country, is embarking on an expansion programme to enable it to have more presence nationwide as part of its growth strategy.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) in Lagos recently sponsored by Universal Insurance Plc, Managing Director of the Company, Dr. Ben Ujoatuonu noted that the Company recently opened three strategic branches across the country as part of this strategy.
He explained that the Company was carrying out an expansion programme and in the course of that expansion, the Company received approval from its primary regulator, the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, to open three (3) new branch offices in Apapa and Lekki in Lagos as well as Kano in Kano State.
He stated that these branch offices had been been opened and were now operational.
He further explained that the Company was also trying to identify other areas of the country to set up more branches in order to maintain a strategic presence as part of it’s growth strategy.
Dr. Ujoatuonu revealed that Universal Insurance was ranked among the top 15 insurance companies in the country by the Nigerian Exchange Limited, NGX.
“Recently, there was an analysis of 15 top insurance companies in the stock market in terms of their performance last year and their growth rate. Universal made it to number 12 and what is very significant is that Universal had the highest percentage of growth with 58 per cent growth.”
In terms of product development, Dr. Ujoatuonu recalled that since he took over the reigns of the Company as the Managing Director, his Management team has been able to come up with a whole lot of new products and the Company now has a very robust retail line of business and products.
“In this month of July, we are flagging off the Universal Insurance Network Marketing model which we have designed to sell our products starting with personal accident insurance and this comes with an incentive for people who introduce others to the network. We are also launching our Mobile App which is already on the Google Play Store, through which people can access our products. We are not resting on our oars, we have a lot in our kitty which we are still developing.
”While stating that its branch network is strategic, he said: “If you have a critical look at our branch network, you will see that the bulk of our presence is down east. It is a strategic move aimed at ensuring that the Company maintains its historical clientele base.
“There is no state in the southeast where we don’t have a presence. In some states we have two branches, in Abia State for instance, we have two branches, in Anambra we have two branches and in all other south-eastern states we have two branches. We have created a regional hub in that south-south also; the essence is to ensure that we have a strong grip of our origin so to say, in terms of driving our business. What we are also doing is trying to penetrate other areas and markets. We have a very strong focus on looking at the northern zone of the country and we have started making inroads with our presence in Abuja and Kano with more branches soon to be established up north.”
Dr. Ujoatuonu noted that Universal Insurance is collaborating with the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, in trying to see how they can penetrate all the industries within the southeast.
“The last Enugu Trade Fair was sponsored by Universal Insurance. This is part of our strategy in entrenching ourselves in the south east and we are not going to relent in doing that. The businesses are coming and we hope to grow them better because there are still tremendous opportunities there, notwithstanding the obvious challenges that are facing the economy of the southeast.
“The economy is so bad but we invested heavily in the retail line of business and of a truth, despite what we are having, our retail line of business is growing, and growing very well and that was what informed the network marketing model that we created. The network marketing is done in such a way that even as a customer or policy holder that is buying insurance, as you buy and introduce people, you earn incentives for the introduction. So you are not just buying the cover, you also make money from buying the cover. We devised it as a strategy to penetrate the market even now in this hard economic situation, so that people can earn money from their insurance purchase,” he added.