Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) delivering the keynote address at the Business Journal 2nd Annual Lecture/Awards last Friday in Lagos. He represented Prof Umar Danbatta, the EVC/CEO of NCC.
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Chuks Udo Okonta
Experts in the financial service sector have implored companies, especially, insurance firms to adopt a robust Information Communication Technology (ICT) for improved service delivery to their policyholders within and outside Nigeria.
The experts, who spoke during the Business Journal 2nd Annual Lecture and Awards themed ‘Digital Nigeria: The Path to Sustainable Economic Growth,’ in Lagos at the weekend, noted that, such robust ICT infrastructure will also assist insurers in management and payment of their respective claims as it falls due.
On his part, the Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Tope Smart, said, the country needs a robust and sophisticated ICT structure in insurance, banking, agriculture, and environment, among other sectors as well as governance as Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind, in a digital world that is current witnessing several disruptions of other services.
Digitalisation of Nigeria, according to him, should form part of the national strategy if the country truly wants to move forward as a nation, adding that, passionate effort should be made to see ICT as something very fundamental that Nigeria needs in order to make progress in its economic growth.
“This is because the impact of ICT changes everything including the way we live, the way we run our businesses, the way we work even the way we governed. Other benefits are that it ensures transparency by eliminating what we call black economy because when you are connected online, you can see what people are doing. It helps people to pursue their entrepreneurial aims because it brings out ingenuity in people. It creates jobs that provide means of livelihood for the citizenry,” Smart, who is also the Managing Director/CEO, NEM Insurance Plc, pointed out.
Moreover, the Executive Director, Leadway Assurance Company Limited, Ms. Tola Adegbayi, who was among the Guest Speakers at the event, said, insurers have prominent roles to play in a digitalised economy, adding that, insurance firms are expected to insure some of the risks that come with the ongoing digital disruption.
Even though underwriters might not have excelled in digital adoption unlike in the banking sector, she said, insurers are rugged to provide the fundamentals.
Underwriters, she said, are already using the best technology to sell their products and services as well as settlement of claims, promising that insurers would continue to improve in this regard as time progresses.
According to her, “When you talk about digitalisation, how do we come in as insurers? We need every development but nobody really talks about the negative side of it as well. As we develop, crime advances. When crime advances, it challenges development because crime is a necessary part of the society. It does not stop. It will not stop.”
Insurance, she stressed, is at the forefront of understanding the technology so that they can help those who want to take risk in terms of digitalisation to continue to take that risk.
Stating that cyber crimes are some of the challenges associated with digitalisation, she added that, the insurance industry was aware and is working out necessary solutions to tackle the scourge. As insurers, we stand in the very beginning and the end of it all to provide security, she pointed out.
While giving his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, said the commission will continue to provide enabling environment to support public-private investments in the telecommunication sector in order to enhance sustainable economic growth.
He said the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate creation or e-products across Nigeria in order to drive national economic growth.
Earlier, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Business Journal, Prince Cookey, said the Business Journal Annual Lecture Series is a platform to examine and discuss emerging issues in the Nigerian Economy and generate workable solutions going forward, by bringing stakeholders across sectors together to review the state-of-affairs in the economy through robust conversation to examine the roadmap on how Nigeria could reap bountifully from the digital transformation era to achieve sustainable economic growth.