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How to use tech tools to drive inclusive insurance

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Worried by poor insurance penetration in Nigeria, stakeholders in the industry are demanding that greater investment be made in the acquisition and deployment of contemporary technology to address inclusive insurance.

In the last three decades, insurance penetration in the country has remained abysmally below expectation owing to a number of factors, among which is Nigerians’ apathy to buy policies.

At various stakeholders’ meetings, speakers had bemoaned the failure of operators to effectively deploy technological tools to boost the patronage of insurance products by the public.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Western Union, a payment company, Hikmet Ersek, hinged the problem of low insurance penetration in the country to the failure of professionals to leverage technology to grow the industry.

He spoke at a meeting with AXA Mansard Insurance on how partnership could be a novel strategy of facilitating value-added services to millions of customers.

Ersek explained that insurance penetration in Nigeria is still very low compared to South Africa, which has the highest penetration in Africa with about 16 per cent.

Assessing the global industry trends, he said basic technology is shaping the way insurance companies across the world do business, as consumers are looking for companies that will make a shift from paper to digital, and are able to enhance insurance purchase and management experience from start to finish.

He said: “Customers want a seamless experience that enables them to complete transactions in a matter of minutes as opposed to the status quo. The traditional model where a broker or agent has to be encountered in person is fast becoming archaic.”

With this, he charged brokers and stakeholders to embrace digital marketing, maximise the use of social media and artificial intelligence in their operations, adding that enormous opportunities abound in the Nigerian market and technology is a sure way to disrupt the status quo to allow improvement in the penetration level.

He decried that penetration in the country is still below expectation, a situation that presents vast opportunities for underwriters to deepen insurance penetration faster, thus increasing financial inclusion.

He said the utilisation of digital technology would provide operators the platform to deliver quality services to their clients as well as ensure that claims payment processes and procedures are faster, efficient and seamless.

Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer, AXA Mansard, Thomas Buberl, said customers want a seamless experience that enables them to complete transactions in a matter of minutes, noting that the traditional model where a broker or agent has to be encountered in person is fast becoming archaic.

He said: “The benefits of employing digital technologies in driving insurance penetration in Nigeria are unlimited. Artificial intelligence, for instance, when used can transform the archaic method involved in claims settlement thereby eliminating rigmaroles.”

Buberl said the usage of advanced analytics can help insurers to dynamically segment their clients and their needs, identify exceptions, adjust policy prices, which in turn aids in optimising new business strategies to identify new opportunities for business growth.

“With data sources like the Internet of Things, mobile-enabled insuretech apps and the likes, insurance premiums can become highly personalised to meet the various budgets of heterogeneous policyholders or intending ones.

“In addition, the blockchain technology, a simple yet creative method of transmitting information from one point to another in a fully automated and safe way, avails insurance firms the avenue to have an easy and secure transfer of data across multiple organisations, without the loss of integrity.

“And this, in the long run, can help them conserve operational costs, fraud management, and reliable data availability.

“Indeed, technology is key for the insurance industry in Nigeria to keep the pace of handling business processes, provide better customer experience, as well as increasing sales, hence accentuating the penetration in Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, companies are committed to providing inclusive insurance, a business with high social impact, and expressed excitement towards leveraging Western Union’s extensive network and trusted brand to reach its global customer base, thereby bringing accessible, relevant and affordable protection to those who need it most.

He commanded digital innovations, ranging from artificial intelligence, aerial and digital imagery, online sales technologies, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, virtual reality, to mention few, in the provision of products and services are endlessly disrupting the operations of the business environment, especially the financial services where insurance is a sub-sector.


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