It delights me to stand before you today to accept the double honours: Insurance Man of the Year and the Insurance Company of the Year Award on behalf of FBNInsurance Limited.
Awards by their nature are an external acknowledgment of an entity's good works in its catchment area. That an industry-wide medium like this has found us worthy of these awards is not just heart-warming but also imposes on us a challenge of continuous performance we are all too glad to accept. After all, in our six years of operation, we have thrived on challenges; and these challenges have made us stronger to be successful in this short a period.
Insurance is a promise. When you're in the business of selling promises, your number one asset will be your integrity. Nothing sells integrity better in this line of business than your commitment to prompt claims payment and savings pay-outs as due. As at the end of July 2016, our life business paid out about N1.39billion in claims. This is coming at a time the economy is in a bad shape.
A lot of the older companies wonder how we make things work for us and I am quick to tell them: we may be young in the industry, but we have learnt from the finest masters Africa has produced in the financial services industry. Like Isaac Newton said of Robert Hooke, we have seen far because we stood on the shoulder of giants. Our giants, FBNHoldings and Sanlam SA, have a combined experience of over two centuries in this industry and we never fail to adopt the methods and strategies that have kept them successful for generations in our own day-to-day dealings. We plan to be not only the life insurance provider of choice today but of tomorrow as well.
Beyond FBNHoldings and Sanlam, we have been blessed with professional, hardworking and devoted staff who have by their doggedness driven this business to the heady heights it is today. You see Val Ojumah as FBNInsurance but I see these guys as the tour de force driving Val Ojumah. I am nothing without them.
I would quickly like to use this medium to appreciate the Board of FBNInsurance Limited led by the tireless amazon, Mrs Adenrele Kehinde, for providing the motivation and resources necessary to improve the fortunes of this company. He who dances without a physical source of music must have sweet melodies playing in his head. You're the music in our head. Even when others can't see your best efforts at ensuring we keep dancing, we will not fail to appreciate your consistent symphonies presented as pieces of advice, strategies and leadership that have kept us abiding where angels dare not tread.
Like I said at the outset, these awards are yet another challenge for us. We accept it in good faith. What's a business without challenges, anyway? Our sister company, the general business subsidiary, FBN General Insurance Limited, has just appointed a substantive managing director, the inimitable Bode Opadokun, to pilot its affairs to greater profitability premised on outstanding performances. Watch out for them because at the awards next year, you'll be sure to see the company carting away the Awards. Don't say I didn't tell you: in our family, challenges are our life blood. We thrive on it.