“Tope Smart’s successes in his chosen career; insurance, is not an everyday story, they are the results of a well planned, articulated and execute plan. If anyone had imagined that the fit which Tope accomplished in nurturing Vigilant Insurance Company into becoming the beautiful bride during the era of the last insurance consolidation exercise was just a fluke, the the towering and enviable heights to which NEM Insurance Plc has attained should be more of a conviction that strategy is one of the hallmarks of organisational success. Tope Smart plays the game of strategy and team work perfectly work. The outcome of his various endevours speaks well for him.”
“Those things are better which are perfected by nature than those which are finished by art”.
Those were the submissions of Marcus Tullius Cicero in his work titled ‘De Natura Deorum.
Mr. Tope Smart, Group Managing Direct and Chief Executive Officer, NEM Insurance Plc is perhaps the perfect description of the age long saying that hard work pays. For Tope Smart, the reward for hard work is not just showering on him, it is simply pouring on him. And he has a long time to drink from the fountains of his investment in learning and character.
Tope Smart’s successes in his chosen career; insurance, is not an everyday story, they are the results of a well planned, articulated and execute plan. If anyone had imagined that the fit which Tope accomplished in nurturing Vigilant Insurance Company into becoming the beautiful bride during the era of the last insurance consolidation exercise was just a fluke, the the towering and enviable heights to which NEM Insurance Plc has attained should be more of a conviction that strategy is one of the hallmarks of organisational success. Tope Smart plays the game of strategy and team work perfectly work. The outcome of his various endevours speaks well for him.
When last year that the umbrella body of insurance companies in Nigeria, the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) elected Tope to lead the association as its chairman, little did the group realize that it would not limit the technical and professional proficiencies of the insurance manager to itself as the larger insurance community in Africa is now queuing up to drink in Tope’s fountain of knowledge.
The African Insurance Organisation (AIO) which is the apex body of insurance companies in Africa had at the end of its 46th annual general assembly and conference which held in Johannesburg, South Africa elected Tope Smart as the organization’s Vice President. The larger implication of this is that youthful Tope Smart will, in less than one year from now be decorated as the chairman of the body of continental insurers. What an honour to cap a rewarding and successful career.
Smart took over from Mrs. Delphine Traoré who is the Regional Chief Operating Officer Allianz Africa. Delphine was appointed AIO President at the end of the Assembly.
Tope’s emergence as the Vice President of the AIO was consequent upon Nigeria’s acceptance to host the conference next year, 2020.
Already, Nigeria and indeed Tope Smart have activated strategies for a successful hosting of the conference and the eventual decoration of the Chief Executive of NEM Insurance as the new kid on the block.
In his acceptance speech, Smart assured members of the AIO of an effective and efficient work relationship.
He disclosed that the hosting by Nigeria has the full backing of the Federal Government. This is not surprising considering that Tope has been used to doing things well within nthe government circle. In 2014, he was appointed by the Federal Government as Co-Chairman of Insurance Industry Transformation Committee. An alumnus of Havard Business School, a member of Ikoyi Club 1938 and an Assistant Pastor with Redeemed Christian Church of God, the incoming AIO president has the moral to do things right and this has been opening greater doors for him both in business and private life. The imposing edifice which is the corporate head office of NEM Insurance situated along the ever busy Ikorodu Road in Lagos is a testimony of Tope’s giant strides. The balance sheet of the insurance company brings many of the shareholders into wanting to invest more in the company.
At 55, Tope qualifies as a success story. Smart is from Ijagba in Ondo State. He was born on the 14th of April, 1964 at Omuo Ekiti in Old Ondo State now Ekiti State. He started his education from St. Silas Primary School, Omuo – Ekiti between 1970 and 1976. He continued his Secondary Education within the same vicinity by attending the Community Grammar School, Omuo Ekiti where he completed his O’ level examination and emerged as the overall best graduating student in 1981.
Smart was not done with education like some of his counterparts that dropped out of school immediately after the completion of the Secondary Education. He got admission at the Federal School of Arts and Science in Ondo for his Advanced level program. This step led him to gain admission into the University of Lagos where he read Insurance and graduated in 1987 winning the University’s prize for the overall best graduating student in Insurance department.
He equally won the Unity Life and Fire Insurance Company Limited prize for the best graduating student in Insurance in the same year .In 1991, he completed his professional examination with the award of CII London where he equally won the prize for Distinction in Property and Pecuniary Insurance.
His working career has seen him work for Everyman Insurance Brokers and Nigerian French Insurance Company before joining Vigilant Insurance Company in 1995 as the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer .
In view of the outstanding results posted in two years, the board in 1997 approved his elevation to the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer with shareholding in the company. Mr. Smart transformed the company from N6 million annual premium income in 1995 to an industry leader with a recorded premium income of about N1 billion in 2005.
The company was acknowledged and adjudged as one of the fastest growing Insurance companies in Nigeria then. The company was not only making profit but consistently paid dividends to its shareholders throughout the period.
IIn 2007, Smart successfully spearheaded the merger arrangement between Vigilant Insurance Company Limited and NEM Insurance Plc. After the merger, Mr. Smart was appointed the Managing Director of the merged entity. The company has since become the delight of shareholders and brokers alike.
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