By Dotun Akintomide
Challenged by the low insurance penetration in the country, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria has urged insurers to embrace strategic interactions that would enable them meet dynamic customers’ needs to reverse the trend in the industry.
Dr. Andrew Nevin, who is the Financial Services Advisory Leader and Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria, said this last week, at the public lecture held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, in Lagos.
He said insurers must form strategic alliances, enhance interactions, build trusted relationships and meet the dynamic customers’ needs to reverse the trend.
He urged insurers to change customers needs with new offering by customizing insurance solutions. He also enjoined the operators to remove large, entrenched bureaucracies and offer seamless customer experience and use new technology and services to increase access to information that can empower consumers decisions.
He called for the formation of joint ventures and partnerships between intermediaries, adding that service providers and reinsurers are a good way to augment existing capabilities and established symbolic relationships.
Nevin, identified the causes of low insurance penetration to include; poor public perception, absence of innovative products and distribution channels, poor monitoring and enforcement of mandatory policies and complex and lengthy policy and claims processes.
He said extracting profiling data from all of the unstructured purchasing, social media and other digital trails people leave behind would allow insurers to gain unprecedented insights into their health, wealth and behaviour.
“Increased processing power and smarter analytics will pave the way for more informed prevention, risk selection and premium pricing, allowing insurance companies offer cheaper and more personalised products, while still sustaining margins,” he said.
Chairman of Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Obinna Ekezie, said financial services in Nigeria is no doubt saddled with the responsibility of providing the fulcrum not only for economic growth but the development of the larger society, adding that how well the sector has been able to deliver on these in the last decade thus forms the background of preparations for the role in the next decade.
“The topic of the lecture – Financial Services in the Next Decade therefore aims at x-raying the whole gamut of the sector from banking, Insurance, Consumer perspective – as well as highlighting regulatory developments that are shaping and impacting our businesses.
“Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, like many others have undergone strategic changes to remain relevant and most importantly fulfil our obligations to our customers and indeed other stakeholders.Going into the future we are investing heavily in our technology, people and processes so that we can offer better services to our customers,” he said.
Ekezie noted that insurance is a tool which absorbs risks from individuals and corporates while at the same time helping to underpin stability and stimulate economic growth and that insurance is, therefore, more relevant today than ever before.
Managing Director of the underwriting firm, Eddie Efekoha, said the public lecture is the company’s little way of giving back to all who have encouraged it’s operations in many ways during the past 10 years.
“As we mark the 10th anniversary of our company, post the merger of three legacy companies, with this public lecture we are first and foremost grateful to God for finding us worthy to remain in business despite the challenges that came our way.
“According to collated research and a recent Harvard Business Review report, the failure rate for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) sits between 70 per cent and 90 “.
“Today CHI is not classified among the failed M&As rather CHI is surviving and among the leading insurance underwriting companies in our market, growing better and stronger, preserving wealth and reducing anxieties of those who came our way. This explains our joy and why we have chosen to celebrate this way,” he said.