October 8, 2019

Insurance sector stakeholders raise alarm over disruptive tech

INSURANCE: AIO picks holes in regulatory capacity against decline in penetration

By Rosemary Onuoha

Insurance industry stakeholders have hinted of looming huge losses arising from disruptive technologies catching the insurers unprepared.


They are lamenting that regulatory response by the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, is not enough.

This was the summation of stakeholders at the annual workshop of the Offices Representatives Committee, ORC, of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, CIIN, in Lagos last week.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Disruptive Technologies, the Game Changer for Insurance Business’, Managing Director/CEO of Oradian, a Lagos based Financial Technology firm, Mr Moses Sule, said that NAICOM and the Insurers Committee must put strategies in place to tap into opportunities being created by disruptive technologies.

Sule stated: “The movies industry was disrupted by Netflix, Hulu, HBO; the music industry was disrupted by Spotify, Apple Music; retail shopping by Amazon, Jumia; hospitality by Airbnb; taxi by Uber, Bolt; logistics by Lori, Kobo 360, MAX; while retail lending by, RenMoney, Pay later.

“Therefore, NAICOM must adapt to disruptive technologies just as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has been flexible in adapting to the change. It will be ridiculous if NAICOM continues to be laid back because most people in NAICOM were first operators before moving on to become regulators.”

He also noted that in the banking sector, a lot of technological disruptions happened because the CBN and the Bankers Committee had to make them happen.

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Speaking on the topic, ‘How the Insurance Industry is adapting to Disruptive Technologies’, Chief Technology Officer of Custodian Investment Plc, Esomchi Nwofor, said that companies that fail to adapt to disruptive technology lose market share or die completely.

According to Nwafor, “Disruptive technology refers to any enhanced or completely new technology that replaces and disrupts an existing technology, rendering it obsolete. It is designed to succeed in similar technology that is already in use.

“The insurance industry needs to take the back seat and think, ‘what are the people looking for? Insurers, as well as brokers, need to adapt to disruptive technology or get ready to fall out of the market.”

Speaking on the topic, ‘Leveraging Technology for Product Management: Lessons from the e-payments space’, Head, Product management, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, NIBSS, Sarah Chidebelu-Eze, said that the banks were able to adopt disruptive technologies despite the stiff competition among them.

She stated: “Although there is a stiff competition going on in the banking sector, the banks have been able to come together to collaborate to adopt disruptive technologies which gave birth to various initiatives like the BVN, the POS, etc.

“Most people don’t know about insurance because the sector has remained conservative for too long. There is such a huge gap in communications and as a result, most Nigerians don’t know what insurers have to offer. In essence, the sector must wake up and adapt to changing dynamics if it must remain relevant.”