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NAICOM tasks insurers to lead business revival after EndSARS unrest

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Sunday Thomas

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has implored underwriting companies to stand firmly by the insured individuals and businesses that suffered varying degrees of losses during the widespread #EndSARS protests.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, gave the charge at the just-concluded 29th edition of the Professionals Forum, hosted by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He reminded attendees that the “widespread protests, civil unrest and destruction of properties and others had created further impacted business’ profitability and growth.”

Thomas said insurance should provide the leeway to re-launch the economic growth agenda. He said: “As Nigeria reels in the pains of the destruction and losses suffered this year, the Nigeria insurance industry must utilise the opportunity to lead in the quick recovery and restoration of the affected businesses and showcase its role in reinforcing the economic resilience of individuals, businesses and the economy.”

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He linked the increased propensity for claims to the suddenness of the Covid-19 pandemic, which imposed immense pressure on all businesses including insurance business.

He said claims could come from pressures faced by consumers in the form of reduced finance and business activities, lack of access to credit, expiration and wastage of perishable goods, temporary or permanent business closures, employee contract terminations, life threatening issues and death.

Focusing on the theme, ‘Defining the Future of the Insurance Industry,’ he said the pandemic had curtailed the ability of the industry to sell insurance products, which in turn has reduced premium incomes. This, he reiterated, has necessitated the need for a robust online and automated marketing and feedback system.

Another lesson from the pandemic is the need to review conventional products and meet the current needs of insurance buyers, he said.

Thomas admitted that most losses were not adequately covered by existing insurance policies and that there was a need “to respond to emerging risks and needs of our society.”

The President/Chairman, CIIN,Muftau Oyegunle, said the industry is going through profound disruption, which is beyond the digital change.

Oyegunle said”: “Demanding customers, new competitors and constantly evolving challenges are driving the narrative for the future. No matter what technological advancement we adopt, if it does not translate to value for the customer, all the capital outlay will have been in vain.

“The task before the industry is to create an entirely new set of products that inspire customers demand, anticipating and addressing customer needs and wants.

“These products must be simple and flexible enough for customers to evaluate and purchase through any channel.

“There is a need to offer a holistic value proposition, one centered on the aspirations that really matter to consumers, including well-being, safety and reaching personal goals.”

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According to him, consumers have experienced highly-personalised, self-directed shopping experience followed by instant fulfillment and they are looking for this same service from all service providers including insurers.

He added: “Regulation and a conservative business approach have caused insurers to adjust slowly, but outside forces are now bringing to light the full effects of this transformation-in-waiting for the insurance industry. Disruptors in other climes have found new ways to evaluate risk, with tools like big data, drones and telematics.

“They have expanded offerings with micro-insurance, and they are finding better ways to engage with customers in an online world. They are also experimenting with block chain and the possibilities it presents for the industry. The shifts that are taking place affect every aspect of the industry value chain, which means the insurance marketplace of the future will soon look nothing like that of the past.

“The market place of the future will be defined by a handshake between creativity and technology in order to fulfill the needs and wants of consumers. How do we harmonise these two drivers of change?”

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