BY Akintayo Eribake
Barrister and business leader, Moses Oruaze Dickson sat on a panel at the recently concluded Social Media Week Lagos, where he spoke on How Technology Can Be Used To Influence the Insurance Industry. The conversations focused on possible ways in which the Nigerian Insurance sector can adopt technology to increase their influence – much like the banking sector had managed to pull off with remarkable success.
It is almost inconceivable now to imagine a time before mobile apps and USSD shortcodes that made banking functions easier. The tech adoption in banking is continuously being entrenched with deliberate marketing efforts geared towards increasing the top of mind awareness in the consumers. It is apparent that this adoption has significantly increased the influence of the banks.
However, Barr Moses believes it’s not necessarily a technology adoption problem that the industry faces, as much as it is a perception one. The insurance companies already deploy technology at some level, he said. The biggest issues that they face is that of perception from users, with regards to claims payments and secondly the ignorance of the populace on the benefits of insurance.
“When people subscribe to insurance policies, the general expectation is that occurrence of particular loss, a third party (the insurance company) steps in to remediate that loss. The fear has always been that if this thing (a loss) happens, will the insurance company pay?” According to Oruaze, the average Nigerian does not know the benefit of insurance to their own lives.
He stressed the need for civic education on the part of the insurance companies. This, he says will help with sensitizing the populace and help create a better understanding of the insurance industry from the basic organic levels of association.
Barr. Moses also spoke on the need for the government to step in and create legislation in the industry that will foster increased adoption among the populace same way the Pension Reform Act has done by compelling employers in the public and private sectors in the form of pensions and health insurance, for example. which led to the sector becoming more robust and functional. He also stated that government need to help inculcate insurance into the curriculum of education so as to raise lasting awareness on the importance of insurance.
Oruaze also talked about the need for insurance companies to come together to form alliances. This consolidation, he says, will increase their impact and influence. He insists that the companies already use technology, and agrees that there is still more they can achieve with technology – making it easier for people to access and sign up for insurance via an app or via the internet, for example.
On a final note, he stressed the need for specialized claims management companies to step up and help people who have claims payment issues address such problems to allow the clients or policyholders focus on other priorities. This, he said, will go a long way in assuaging people’s fears regarding the possibility of collecting claims if and when they encounter losses and require payouts from their insurance companies. Restitute Nig Limited, a company he works with, is one of such companies.