By Cynthia Alo
The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, and insurance underwriters are banking on increased adoption of digital solutions that will make insurance more acceptable to Nigerians to drive growth in 2020.
This follows a report by Pricewater Cooper (PWC) titled, ‘Insurance 2020 and beyond: Necessity is the mother of reinvention’ which highlighted how a combination of digitalisation and new business models is disrupting the insurance marketplace by opening up new routes to market and new ways of engaging with customers.
The report noted that an increasing amount of standardised insurance will move over to mobile and internet channels.
It also warned that agents would still have a crucial role in helping businesses and retail customers to make sense of an ever more complex set of risks and understanding the trade-offs in managing them.
It stated: “Effective technology-focused mergers and acquisition, M&A, will depend on a clear group-level technology strategy. Insurers need to consider the merits of technology-driven M and A from both pro-active and defensive positions.”
On its part, NAICOM said that it will pursue digitisation of its process in 2020, stressing that digitisation is critical to the turnaround of the insurance industry.
The Acting Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, disclosed this while speaking at a seminar organised by the Commission for journalists in Kano.
He said the digitalisation of the insurance business is no longer an option, “but an imperative which we all have to work towards its actualisation.”
According to him, “As we may all be aware, the industry is currently lagging behind other financial services sectors in this area. The Commission is working vigorously to see that all its operations are digitalised. The year 2020 is a year for us to turnaround the fortunes of the industry and this cannot be accomplished without digitalising our processes and encouraging the industry to imbibe the same.”
He further stated that the commission shall in the course of the year continue to introduce new reforms and initiatives in line with international best practices for attaining the level of growth and development we all desire for the sector.
However, Vanguard gathered that the Commission shall in 2020 launch NAICOM’s portal which is expected to ensure real-time insurance industry data capture, reduce the cost of supervision and increase revenue collection through the elimination of leakages.
According to the commission the portal would reduce incidences of fake insurance policies by enabling instant electronic verification of policies by Nigerians thereby improving service delivery to insurers, the insuring public as well as investors and other stakeholders, “it will also enhance fidelity to sustainability principles by curtailing the use of paper.”
To achieve this, the Commission disclosed that there is an ongoing resolution of backend infrastructure challenges and a capacity-building ahead of go-live
Also, insurance experts who spoke to Vanguard expressed confidence that digital solutions would sustain and stabilize the insurance industry and would create a greater impact on the people.
In a chat with Vanguard, an insurance consultant, Mr. Ekerete Gam-Ikon said that that there is a need for digital solutions that people can trust like the uber app, noting that the industry should be about experience and no longer on services and products.
Gam-Ikon further said the value chain needs to be changed including experienced management to enable insurers to connect with customers, “Insurers should be customer-centric and the relationship of their policyholders should be about their experiences.
“So, insurers need to approach them from the same angle and know that when an insurer is mindful of how the policyholders will tell others about their experiences, they will understand why their products and services must give customers great experiences,” he added.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, Deputy Managing Director, Corporate Affairs at Lasaco Assurance Plc, Mr. Rilwan Osinusi said that there is need for digitalisation because a lot of millenniums don’t have patience and to align with their needs, the industry requires digital solutions so that anybody can conveniently buy any form of insurance and get immediate certificate of cover at the comfort of his or her home.