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Insurers explore digital avenues to boost earnings, growth

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Amid looming recession, insurers have began to explore digital avenues to aid the performance of their gross written premium from the 2019 financial year, to drive new policy uptake in the market.

Speaking with The Guardian on strategies that could be used to boost gross written premium in the industry, the Managing Director WAPIC Insurance Plc, Yinka Adekoya, urged operators to take their services with all sense of seriousness to ensure a wide level of market penetration.

Adekoya noted that insurers need to be aggressive in pushing out their products to tap from a bigger pool of the Nigerian market.
Commenting about WAPIC’s performance in the 2019 financial year, she said the Group recorded a 17 percent growth in gross written premium to N15.20 billion from N13.89 billion in 2018.

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While this could not translate to huge profitability, she said 2019 was a challenging year. The increase recorded in claims and other operating expenses were as a result of costs incurred on its on-going transformation projects, which benefits would be reflected in its performance from 2020 and beyond.

She said the new strategic plan for the company gained full speed in 2019. “With our value propositions focused on improved excellence, service delivery and competitive pricing, we are on a journey to becoming a top three insurer in the Nigeria Life and Non-life insurance market by year 2023. We worked with a global consulting firm in the development of this 5-year strategic plan, which has set us on an ambitious growth trajectory from 2019 to 2023.”

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Similarly, the Managing Director, Anchor Insurance Company Limited, said despite the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on businesses, some operators are still doing well in their financial statement.

According to him, the underwriter’s premiums would have been above N7 billion by now if the pandemic had not struck. He said: “We started the year well and from all efforts and aggressive marketing, it was clear we were going to hit at least N7billion by mid-year 2020, but for the pandemic since March, which has made the insuring public to review their insurance budgets downwards.

“Despite the Covid-19 challenges, we have surpassed the N4.2 billion premium income written in 2019, and performance stood at N5.1billion. For the remaining months, income will rise to a greater figure before the end of the year.”

Responding to marketing strategies engaged since the advent of Covid-19, Ebose said it was like foresaw the pandemic period when invested in most modern information technology to drive business operations.He said it was not difficult to continue to navigate the market using the already put in place mechanism, which has really helped in ensuring doing business differently.

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He said Anchor is strongly pursuing its recapitalisation in line with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM’s), directive, saying: “As for the recapitalisation ordered by the regulator, the firm Board of Directors does not want anything that will alter the organisation’s identity. It therefore resolved to recapitalise alone as we are. We do not have plans for now to acquire any company that might not meet up with the recapitalisation requirements, but we can buy over their policy portfolios where the need arises,” he explained.

A policyholder, Mrs Juliet Akudo, who spoke to The Guardian, noted that some challenges faced by a few insurers are traceable to improper investments, and now find it uneasy to showcase a balance account for the financial year.

Akudo stressed that the only way to succeed in the long term is to remain committed to the full execution of strategic objectives of becoming a best-in-class lifestyle company, and delivering superior value to industry’s shareholders.

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