Insurance College pioneer Rector bows out, recounts “tough” journey

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Lagos.

Dr Yeside Oyetayo, pioneer Rector of the College of Insurance and Financial Management (CIFM), Lagos, has described her efforts to build the institute from the scratch as “tough, but interesting”.

Oyetayo said in Lagos on today that she resumed at CIFM in April 2014 when the college had neither funds nor structures on ground.

She explained that the college was still operating from the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria’s (CIIN’s) building at Ebute-metta, when she was appointed.

“There was neither a structure, an administrative plan nor a solid academic curriculum in place for the college at that time.

“The college was only running a few short-term technical courses and the Agency Proficiency workshops annually at different locations, but mainly at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Alausa, Ikeja,” she said.

According to her, her first task was to choose a team to work with and then develop curriculum for some approved programmes with the help of some of her former colleagues at the Lagos State University (LASU).

Oyetayo stated that curricular for five programmes were later developed and approved by the CIIN’s Governing Council for the college.

The programmes included Diploma in Insurance, Foundation programme, Graduate Induction, among others.

“We began the promotion of our programmes and movement to the campus in Jan. 2015 to facilitate the commencement of the Diploma in Insurance Programme.

“Our faculty was drawn from the pool of skilled and passionate trainers in the academia and the industry.”

According to her, five insurance companies nominated a total of 17 students to enrol in the college and the maiden diploma programme took off in January 2015, while the students graduated within a year.

The rector said that the college was like a start-up business for her because it had no visibility within the insurance industry, hence she began the pace-setting and trail-blazing task of putting together a world-class institution.

She noted that the college, which was envisioned to be ‘the Insurance College of Choice of Africa’, was strategically positioned to provide cutting-edge training of global standards, with supports from local and international partners.

Oyetayo commended the board of CIIN for approving her request of a take-off grant of N20 million, which though was barely enough to furnish and run the college.

She stated that she sought ways to drastically increase the college’s revenue through trainings.

According to her, within a couple of months of her resumption, a more robust calendar introducing training programmes in areas where skill gaps were identified in the industry was designed.

The rector said that the CIIN’s board also sourced funding, developed strategic plans, and pursued the CIFM project with so much dedication.

She stated that the insurance industry contributed immensely to the infrastructural development of the college through the donation of equipment, generators, sponsorship of buildings and chalets, which facilitated rapid growth of its campus.

“The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the insurance firms,
professionals and members of the CIIN Council rallied round the CIFM.

“It was often said that the college was the future of the CIIN. I am sure everyone is proud to say the CIFM is their college.

“We simultaneously commenced the task of getting the college registered with the
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and creating a brand for the college, leveraging on CIIN programmes which served as a platform to sensitise the
industry about the college’s activities.

“We began collaborative training with the International Labour Organisation (ILO)Impact Insurance Facility and German Corporation for International Cooperation ( GIZ).

“We furnished and inaugurated the college, organised short-term training programmes that more than doubled the number and income of the college in the previous years.

“In the first year of operating as a college, we achieved a lot, so much that members
of the board were amazed at the number of activities that were going on in the
college,” she said.

According to the rector, the college is currently doing great and has grown tremendously, from operating under the Training Directorate in the CIIN Secretariat to a full-fledged college.

Oyetayo said the college had also grown from an annual income of N20 million in 2014 to about N290 million in 2022.

She stated that the college similarly developed from three unfurnished buildings to seven fully-furnished accommodation and office space and a 1500-seater hall named after NAICOM.

The rector expressed optimism that the CIFM, having become a brand, would, in the next few years, expand the scope of its services beyond Africa and grow into the global insurance college of choice that it was envisioned to be.

“The CIFM platform afforded me the opportunity to become the first female Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Insurance College in Africa.

“I was also able to impact positively on the African continent through my membership of the African Association of Insurance Educators and Trainers (AAIET) and the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Book Review Committee, among other contributions.

“To the glory of God, I am leaving a solid legacy that will endure for a very long time

“As a pacesetting pioneer Rector, I will continue to contribute my quota to the industry in other capacities when called upon,” she said.

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