-Prof. Saye D. Gbalazeh, an Insurance Expert, takes mantle of authority for two years
Liberia Insurance Association (LIA) has installed its new corps of officers who have been given a mandate to steer the affairs of the institution for the next two years. The induction of the new leadership, headed by a long time insurance expert, Professor Saye D. Gbalazeh, comes after a prolonged leadership crisis that stagnated the operations of the association for a couple of years. Prof. Gbalazeh, who is the managing director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Activa Insurance Liberia Limited, and his corps of officers were inducted at a well attended ceremony recently in Monrovia. The event was also graced by some top dignitaries, including members of the diplomatic corps. Those who were also inducted along with the chairman were Sam O. Mintah, VP; Moses Gbayah, Kehinde C.O. Efevoghor, Mathieu N’KATTA, and Nteguia Fodjo J.B. — all members of the LIA Board.
Prof. Gbalazeh, is an insurance expert and a career insurance executive with over 25 years of proven work experience in the industry both in the United States, and Africa. He is also the Assistant Professor of Law, Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.
He succeeds Momo Fortune, General Manager and CEO of Mutual Benefits Assurance Company Limited, who experienced a hostile departure from the LIA leadership.
Pro. Gbalazeh lauded his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him and his team, noting that they will do their best to serve well by promoting the image of the organization.
“We thank Members of our industry for electing us; this demonstrates the high level of confidence reposed in us to lead the organization at this critical period,” he said.
He said that LIA members, in all that they do in the industry now and in the future, they must remain cognizant of their primary tasks and fully understand their responsibilities to the insuring public in the facilitation of public policies, contributions to the furtherance of domestic commerce, entrepreneurship and international trade.
Gbalazeh said that the turning of a new page at LIA is a “win-win for all of us.”
“Looking back whence we come, I must admit that this day is a win-win for all of us and returning to the past of stagnation and deep division is not an option we hope to replicate. We must forge ahead and remain aware of vices that divided us as an organization,” he said.
Despite many challenges, he remains hopeful of a brighter future for the industry.
By the oath of office taken by Gbalazeh and team, he said that they have agreed to commit to the tenets of transparency and accountability in the conduct of business.
“We take seriously the responsibility of being the custodian of the institution’s resources and solemnly promise to uphold our dignity and the confidence you have reposed in us to lead you for the next two years,” he said.
According to Prof. Gbalazeh, the LIA is now turning a new page for progress. “Our ascension is the new beginning of a no-going-back. Going back is not an option for us,” he told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview.
“We want to give the organization a new beginning after many years of crisis. The operation of the organization has stagnated for a long time because of the confidence crisis the past leadership faced, primary as a result of reports lack of accountability and transparency as well as overstaying its mandated time-frame.”
The crisis also brought about a split in the organization, creating two factions: Indigenous Liberian-owned Insurance companies and the non-indigenous ones operated by foreigners.
Some member companies also sued the LIA leadership for lack of accountability—a prolonged legal battle that eventually ended with the election of the new leadership.
With the turning of the new page, the new LIA president noted that there are some programs that his team will be proposing in order to help move the organization in the right direction.
As obvious, the association has a vision and objective, but the president said those well crafted words need to be matched with actions, which he and his team are bringing to the table this time. “If there is no leadership with vision and if you cannot get things done in time and orderly, the mission, vision and objective of the organization will amount to nothing.”
With the new leadership installed, Prof. Gbalazeh said, the association has been given a chance again to play its critical role in the society.
Insurance companies play pivotal roles, underpinning vibrant economies across the world, Liberia being no exception. One of these major roles is the facilitation of international trade and commerce as well as enhancing local economic activities.
Insurance companies are also involved in the enforcement of public policies such as all the mandatory insurance schemes and also help fund banks—providing money for the banks to facilitate their activities.
“Our role in the economy and society is often overlooked, but we are a very critical partner in the society,” he said.
What is critical about his leadership is that Prof. Gbalazeh will be stepping in next of April as president of WAICA, a position his predecessor, Fortune, also held in 2014.
To be able to serve well at WAICA, he needs a strong team that will ensure efficiency and effectiveness on the local team. “I need a strong local organization to support me for my bid to serve successfully at WAICA,” he said.
The installation of the LIA new leadership was graced by scores of high profile dignitaries. Some of which included the Ambassador of Ghana, Ernest-Burke Asare-Asiedu, who served as the keynote speaker; the Chief Judge of the Commercial Court, Temple of Justice, Judge Eva Mappy Morgan, who served as the installing officer, as well as ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Babantunde Ajisomo.
Asare-Asiedu is a career diplomat and holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Geography from the University of Ghana, Legon. He called on LIA members to work in unity in order to achieve the organization’s objectives. He added that the industry plays very critical roles in every economy and it is therefore important that they work as a team.
LIA, under the Momo Fortune leadership, was embroiled in crisis for about two years and apparently lost the confidence of its membership, who accused the leaders at the time of ignoring the practices of accountability and transparency. Also the center of the crisis was the overstaying of the team because of its unwillingness to conduct elections.