By Rosemary Onuoha
THE out-going President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye, has said that the insurance industry must embrace digitization to remain afloat and relevant in the economy. Babington-Ashaye, who stated this at her valedictory lecture in Lagos, said that the insurance industry as a whole and brokers in particular need to adapt to new styles of interacting with customers.
She stated: “We must embrace digitization to stay relevant and afloat. To operate successfully in an environment in which customers are increasingly becoming enlightened, sophisticated and IT-savvy, the insurance industry as a whole and brokers in particular need to adapt to new styles of interacting with customers. For example, by providing more detailed analysis and evaluation of different options, or having more conversations about price and the value of insurance coverage.”
According to her, to attract generation-next to patronize insurance products, the pricing strategy must be right. She said, “The generation-next category of consumers will detest, for instance, the age-old practice of compulsorily buying fixed rate auto-insurance policies every year when in fact, the car is in the garage because the customer works from home most times or travels by train. The implication is that the insured pays premium only when he is actually on the road. This is a novel pricing structure which will most probably appeal to generation-next.
“We need to change the wrong perception by showcasing the career opportunities that exist, the products we develop, the risks we assume and the professional advisory services we provide. Without doubt, our underwriter, actuaries, risk engineers, claims specialists, risk managers and the brokers have special skills to drive the growth of the profession and industry into the near future.
“To ensure that there is no gap, therefore, the current generation must begin to give serious and strategic consideration to the issue of succession through mentoring while the Institute must strive to persuade and partner with many more tertiary institutions to deepen knowledge in insurance while producing many more qualified manpower for the profession. In addition, the Institute must seek international partnership to obtain funding and technical support for its College of Insurance.
“Thus as seasoned practitioners, we need to interest the next generation in it through advocacy, catch them initiatives and products that address their peculiar needs.”