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Insurers adopt new code to drive policy uptake

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To further cope with the challenges posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus, insurance operators have adopted the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), to reach out to more Nigerians for industry penetration.

With the federal and some state governments entrenching physical and social distancing to limit human contacts to curb the spread of the virus, the underwriters chose to advance digital awareness, leveraging technology to give insurance a facelift.

Under the arrangement, a prospective policyholder will have an easy, quick and convenient channel to buy new products and policies, renew existing policies and make payments for Value Added Services.

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The general idea is for the USSD code to improve customer experience, and reduce turnaround time for all transactions, explained the Chief Digital Officer, AXA Mansard, Bayo Adesanya, who spoke to The Guardian at the weekend in an interview in Lagos.

Adesanya said: “The digital world is advancing at a very fast pace. Organizations thus need to match the pace of this dynamic world by designing initiatives and creating platforms that allow their consumers to remain at the cutting edge of global digital transformation.

He added that “At pandemic period, we have found a way to deepen insurance and pension penetration in Nigeria by driving USSD code usage, as an alternative channel for service consumption, which is tagged the ‘one code for life’s big issues’.”

In its trial phase, the initiative is specifically designed to increase penetration in Nigeria, mainly in those areas where there are no branches.

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Despite the recent lockdown, which affected most businesses, insurers were still selling policies, and even paying claims running into millions of naira through their respective electronic channels.

For instance, Great Nigeria Insurance (GNI) Plc, has promised to continue to provide seamless and quality services to its policyholders through its IT platforms, despite the current challenges.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Cecilia Osipitan, said: “To stay true to our commitment of delivering quality service to valued customers, alternative service channels have been made available for access to all insurance products and services available under the stable of GNI Plc. On your mobile please explore our USSD Platform for self-service, easy premium remittance, policy renewal and prompt claims settlement.”

Similarly, Unitrust Insurance Company Limited also provided alternative communication lines to interact with its policyholders and stakeholders.

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Likewise, Guinea Insurance Plc directed its customers to leverage their online platforms for their insurance services, just as Old Mutual Nigeria, launched a digital platform to ensure unbroken and convenient access to cover benefits and claims for its customers.

The firm said its policyholders can also make claims through its digital and mobile-friendly, e-commerce web portal to enjoy their insurance benefits.

The Executive Head, Marketing, Old Mutual Nigeria, Alero Ladipo, said the launch of the revamped e-commerce web portal aligns with its continuous leverage of digital innovations to deepen accessibility to insurance solutions for its customers.

For Linkage Assurance Plc, its online platform ensures continuity of operations, which was activated to provide uninterrupted insurance services during the period of the pandemic, while remaining accessible through her e-commerce website, and self-service to renew policy, purchase covers and report claims.

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