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New insurance professionals join the industry

Dec 8, 2015, 10:37 AM | Article By: Lamin Jahateh

The Gambia-based West African Insurance Institute (WAII) on Friday turned out junior and middle level insurance managers, as well as upcoming professionals in marketing and law.

At a ceremony held at the WAII campus in Kotu, the candidates were graduated after completing their respective fields of study: one-year diploma in insurance, insurance foundation certificate, diploma in law, diploma in marketing, and advanced diploma in marketing.

A total of about 200 candidates were graduated, after they have been found worthy both in the academic field and character.

It was the combined graduation of the 35th and 36th batches; last year’s one, the 35th batch, could not be held because of the travel ban that was imposed in West Africa due to the Ebola virus outbreak in some countries.

The event attracted government functionaries and insurance and financial sector bigwigs from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia.

The chairman of WAII governing council, Abdou Kolley, who is also Gambia’s minister of Finance, said the graduates will impact on the productivity level of the insurance industry and related fields in the economies of their various countries.

He said graduates of the institute continue to excel and bloom anywhere they are planted.

Minister Kolley said WAII’s contribution to the various member countries’ nation building efforts does not only end with training the needed insurance professionals, but also forges strong bonds of friendship among member countries.

“WAII’s commitment to this course will continue unabated, and shall increase in intensity and tempo in the coming years. WAII is committed to contribute to the manpower development of the sub-region, in particular, and in Africa, as a whole.”

However, the WAII governing council chairperson pointed out that governments and organisations within the sub-region are yet to fully tap from the potentials and benefits of the institute’s services.

He, therefore, called on governments and organisations within the sub-region to take maximum advantage of the qualitative courses offered and enrol their personnel in the institute.

The director general of WAII, Frederick Bowen-John, told the new graduates: “You will leave this place with your heads held high, proud of your achievements and the knowledge you have gained which is yearning to be put into practice.”

“The institute has supported you throughout your learning journey, and I do hope you have been well-equipped, not only theoretically and practically in your subjects,” said Mr Bowen-John, himself an alumnus and the valedictorian of WAII in 1993.

He pointed out that the graduates have gained softer skills which are essential to help them prosper in a competitive environment.These skills will help in building working relationships, lateral thinking, problem solving, team working, emotional intelligence and networking.

“I challenge you to take what you have learnt to go out from this place with passion,” he further told the graduates. “Act as ambassadors of our institute.Make a difference to people, organisations, your country and the environment.”

Aside from its regular training programmes, WAII conducts training seminars in collaboration with specialist consultant firms.

In February 2015, the institute signed a strategic partnership with FJP Consultants, a management consultancy firm in The Gambia with branches in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the UK and USA.

Mr Bowen-John said WAII together with FJP organised a training workshop in Strategic Risk Management in February 2015, and an international training programme in Corporate and Sectoral Governance in October 2015.

He said they plan to take the governance programme to member countries during the course of next academic year, due to popular request.

Also in August 2015, WAII organised the first ever Brokers’ Forum in collaboration with the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, attracting participants from the five member countries.The forum is to become an annual feature in the WAII calendar.

DG Bowen-John said the Chartered Insurance Institute of London (CII) in September 2015 agreed to reinstate WAII’s recognition of prior learning awards.

“It means that WAII graduates from 2016 will be eligible for exemptions in the CII London Advance Diploma level,” he said.“The reinstatement of our accreditation in 2016 ushers in a new format for the one-year diploma replacing the 37-year-old format currently in place.”

The new format separates the learning from the assessment process. Lecturers will no longer be responsible for setting examination questions and marking scripts.

At the graduation ceremony of the latest graduates of WAII, the institute’s governing council rewarded some of its eminent past and present members as Fellow of the West African Insurance Institute.