‘Government should intensify efforts to boost nation’s insurance industry’
Nigeria’s insurance industry is going through a transformation, with major players strategising to take prime positions for growth. Polycarp Didam, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc, in this interview with BANKOLE ORIMISAN, speaks on the economy, while unveiling plans of the company and what the year holds for its shareholders.
You were recently appointed the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Veritas Kapital Assurance, what is your vision for the company?
It has been a privilege to be tasked with overseeing the future of our company. As we all know, the Nigerian insurance industry is going through renewed efforts to recapitalize the sector and ensure companies conduct business within their ability.
To this end, I envision Veritas Kapital Assurance becoming the pacesetter in several aspects of the industry; especially in the areas of underwriting excellence and expertise, prompt claims processing and payment as well as astute use of cutting edge information technology for the benefit of our customers.
Furthermore, we intend to become a composite insurance company before the end of our current strategy cycle which ends in 2021. All these are in line with our vision statement of becoming the top insurer of choice in Africa.
What major changes took place in the last one year since coming on board of the new management?
In the last one year, our focus has been on transformation. This has been all encompassing touching on all areas; People, Service Delivery, Product Enhancement, Information Technology, Customer Service etc.
People: Scaled human capital capacity with recruitment of experienced personnel
Service Delivery: Streamlined internal processes for efficient service delivery. Turnaround time for core transactions has reduced and we continue to work on this to achieve efficiency above current industry levels
Product Enhancement: We have continued to work on our current product bouquets to create unique value for our customers. E.g, Recent review of comprehensive motor policy where we included additional features as well as reward for customer loyalty.
Information Technology: We continue to develop capacities within our I.T portfolio, these include installation and configuration of I.T help desk, Redesign of e-business portal & ongoing implementation of core business software
Delivery Channel: Expansion of our service delivery channel through introduction of retails sales team focused on driving insurance penetration for the everyday man
Customer Interaction: As part of effort to get closer to our customer and better understand their needs, we have set up a fully functional customer service unit. Also, our customer interactive lines have been commissioned to ensure our customers are able to reach us.
Special Risk: We also set up our special risk team to allow them focus on needs of client operating within sectors of Oil & Gas, Aviation and Engineering.
The insurance industry is undergoing through a transformation now, how prepared is Veritas Kapital Assurance to key into the new era?
I am a firm believer that every challenge provides an opportunity, if one only has the strength of character to see it.
Our company welcomes the introduction of the NAICOM Tier Based Minimum Solvency Capital model as we see this as an opportunity to consolidate on past efforts while we lay the foundation for future footprint on the insurance sector. As reiterated during the just concluded AGM, we are well positioned to remain a key player underwriting risk in all sectors. Hence, we would operate in Tier 1 and we have communicated this to our regulators.
Retail market is the new way to go in deepening penetration, what is your plan in this area?
In this regard, and as an aspect of our revised corporate strategy, we have recently set up our retail team. The team is responsible for communicating our product value proposition within the retail space. Also, we are investing in technology to provide support to the retail team as the long term plan of delivering convenient services to our customer can only be achieved through digitization.
This is just one of the numerous strategies being implemented to reinforce and grow our company’s market share.
How do you plan to close the year in terms of business performance, and what should your shareholders be expecting?
Our published half year result shows marked improvement compared to prior year performance. Our gross premium written grew by 30 percent as at June 2018 while there were improvements on other operating indices also. We can assure our stakeholders are that we are well positioned to surpass prior year performance.
Why should somebody invest or retain their investment in Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc?
Our financial indicators are improving. There is steady growth in our top line business as premium continues to inch upwards. Same applies to investment income as we seek to diversify our revenue sources.
Operationally, we have implemented a comprehensive cutting-edge cloud based application that enables us to speed-up our entire process viz-a-viz risk management, underwriting, excellent customer service as well as a guarantee of prompt claims settlement to our clients.
We have invested in the right people from right from board appointments to every individual staff within the company.
To reiterate our company is strongly positioned to generate sustainable value to its investors in the long run.
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