BY ROSEMARY ONUOHA
To be able to unlock the nation’s insurance industry growth, operators must adopt innovative service delivery platforms driven by well researched tailored services and seamless processes, Prince Lafor Olateru-Olagbegi, former Group Managing Director, Oceanic Insurance Group (OIG), now Old Mutual Nigeria has said.
Speaking during an interview with insurance correspondents, Olateru-Olagbegi who resigned from OIG in January 2014 following its acquisition said this has become necessary in view of the need to increase insurance penetration and density for more market expansion. Old Mutual acquired two of the three entities that made up OIG, namely Oceanic Insurance and Oceanic Life. The third company, Oceanic HMO remains a standalone company.
“One big challenge facing the insurance industry is that of penetration, so efforts must be geared towards ensuring increased consumer confidence and trust through excellent service delivery”
“The question will be, which operators will have the right vision and capability to proactively anticipate and adapt to new market realities. Those that move to redefine the sector’s service delivery platform are more likely not just to survive, but prosper as they reposition themselves against traditional, emerging and foreign competitors,” he said
Olateru-Olagbegi who has had over three decades of working experience said companies wishing to take advantage of the new growth opportunities in the industry whether it’s in micro-insurance, Takaful or in the retail space generally, must ensure sustainable investment in human capital development, product/marketing research and robust technology for seamless operations.
“There is a lot of opportunity in the retail market space and we must not assume that it is still the old way of doing things, and I can tell you forward looking companies will make huge statements with their earnings in the near future,” he noted.
The insurance expert further asserted companies must simplify their product offerings and expand their distribution options through innovations and collaborations that will create inroads into the under-insured and un-insured populace across the nation.
“The interest of foreign companies in Nigeria’s insurance sector shows that the experts across the globe consider the market as the next growth frontier for insurance. I am currently consulting for a number of companies and spearheading think-tank initiatives with other experts to ensure the insurance sector in Nigeria takes this huge step towards a brighter future,” he added.
Growth and Expansion
It will be recalled that Olateru-Olagbegi oversaw a period of growth and expansion at the Oceanic Insurance Group during his tenure as GMD from 2006 to 2013 after injecting a wide breadth of experience and professionalism that made the Group attract interest from reputable investors.
Between 1995 and 2005, Olateru-Olagbegi joined the team from AIG Insurance Company USA, where he worked for over 10 years, the last five years as General Manager increasing sales by over $500,000 annualized premium within two years.
Alongside his accolades in the insurance profession, Olateru-Olagbegi made the distinguished Presidential Council trip and Award to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2000, and another Presidential Council trip and Award to Puerto Rico Island in 1998.