Government should diversify economy, intensify efforts in adoption of new tech tools
Funmi Omo, is the Managing Director, African Alliance Insurance. In this interview with BANKOLE ORIMISAN, she canvasses diversification of the economy, intensification on how African Alliance Insurance has embraced technology to ease its process and the team’s future plans of the company.
African Alliance recently rebranded, what does this mean for the company and its customers?
First, we are a company that has been in existence since 1960. This speaks to our longevity and ability to adapt and evolve. It also speaks to our resilience, as well as the trust our customers have in us.
The main reason we had to undergo a rebranding process is along these same lines. We want to continue to adapt to changing times and deliver superior value to our customers. The country has changed a lot since 1960. Our customers, both young and old, single and family units, retail and businesses, are more digitally inclined. Our tastes, preferences and even dreams have changed. It is important that we continue to power and support the dreams of our customers while providing value in the best way; one of which is convenience.
In this fast-paced world, customers value convenience above all things. We have therefore optimized our channels and our people to ensure that customers can take on a new life insurance policy, renew or change their policies from the comfort of their homes or from their computers. We are also actively engaging potential customers on what they need to know about life insurance. We are working to demystify the experience and help people understand why life insurance is so important at every stage of life.
Finally, for us as a company, this rebranding has brought greater confidence to internal stakeholders – from staff to management and board members – to our shareholders. We are positioned for the next few decades.
What should stakeholders expect from the company in the area of innovation and product development?
Firstly, optimizing our channels have granted us access to data that helps us determine the periods people need life insurance products the most. In this area, we are not only narrowing products to fit the stage of each customer’s life, we are able to tweak our products to suit our current environment and the economic climate we face today.
Secondly,in terms of engagement, life insurance companies are becoming more relatable. We are leading the charge to ensure that there are open communication lines in our offices, digitally and otherwise. Our social media pages are constantly engaging with leads. In fact, I dare say we are one of the top three engaging insurance brands in the digital space today. By relating to people, we can better understand their pain points and proffer the best solutions. Our website also runs around-the-clock customer service centre to swiftly respond to needs.
Thirdly, as I said earlier, times have changed and we understand this. Our products are not as rigid as they were before. Now, we have products with flexible paying arrangements. We have products that are presently in development. All our customers need to do is ask, and we can personalize products to suit their needs.
Your company in the past had some flaws in the area of regulatory compliance, what should we be seeing going forward?
In the past year, we have worked closely with consultants and our ever-supportive internal teams to tackle this. We are changing, not just our brand presence and experience, but internally, there are stringent restructuring going on to ensure we are on the good side of our regulatory partners as well.
What major changes took place in the last two year since coming on board of the new management, and what is your growth plan?
A lot of changes have occurred. The rebranding is one major change – it is the company’s first brand overhaul since its inception in 1960! I am grateful to be a part of this change and I thank our board members and staff for believing in this new chapter of our history and future.
In terms of strategy, I have been more deliberate ensuring staff members contribute to our strategic growth. When people feel that they are a part of a story, they are more willing to put in their best and make sacrifices when they need to. We have had intensive strategy meetings and have put in place smart goals, key milestones, and measure to test our growth. In the next few months, I daresay that these will yield the much-expected results we have been working towards.
More importantly, I have been focused on ensuring that African Alliance Insurance Plc is recognized as one of the best places to work in the broad financial services industry. We are already getting there. The number of CVs we receive now compared to years ago has grown exponentially. People trust our story and they trust that when they take on a life insurance plan with us, we keep to our promise to provide a secure future for them and their loved ones.
The insurance industry is undergoing through a transformation now, how prepared is African Alliance to key into the new areas of growth?
We are very prepared. All the activities we have embarked on are geared towards contributing significantly to the growth of the insurance industry. We are not just consolidating our products in response to the demands and needs of our customers, we are aligning our purpose to that of the general insurance environment.
Retail is the way to go in deepening penetration, what is your plan in this area?
We are indeed deepening their engagement in the retail space. We have identified the challenges of our retail customers – complex insurance products, lack of understanding of the value insurance offers and accessibility of products, being key among these problems. Our current strategy and of course, rollout, address these challenges.
In time, we will reap the benefits.
Will you be surprised to see the regulator announce a new capital requirement for the industry?
Frankly, we have learned that we should always be prepared for changes in the environment. I believe that our regulators and the government want what is best for us to succeed. Our job is to ensure that we support them in achieving the overall success of the broad financial services industry.
Why should somebody invest or retain their investment in African Alliance?
African Alliance Insurance is the foremost life insurance company in Nigeria. We have been around since 1960; this speaks to our resilience to economic forces and our longevity.
We are not going anywhere soon; In fact, we have taken deliberate steps to reinvent ourselves in line with the rapid changes in the revolving socio-economic landscape we operate in.
Why should you retain or invest in African Alliance Insurance? I will say three things – we have a great customer response rate, we promise what we can achieve and surpass, and we constantly listen to our customers’ feedback to ensure that we are working in tandem with their goals. These are the reasons why anyone should do business with us.
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