AIO forsees young growing population, technology to drive insurance in Africa

President of AIO, Tope Smart with his wife Mrs. Tonia Smart.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Growth opportunities in the African continent remain high, largely driven by a young and growing population with increasing utilisation of technology, President, African Insurers Association (AIO) Tope Smart, has said.

He said this in his keynote tagged: The AIO at 50: A Call for African Insurance Renaissance delivered at the ongoing AIO 2022 Conference in Nairobi Kenya, adding that despite the additional pressures of unrelenting regulatory and insurance accounting changes, and the huge costs associated with the changes, there are also some positive developments and opportunities for growth.

He submitted that the younger generation is looking for new ways to connect and protect, bringing affordability and access to the continent.

“These market conditions and dynamics are likely to continue to give rise to Insurtechs who, through technological innovation, are able to tackle consumer awareness and resistance and address inefficiencies within the financial system for product development, distribution, and settlement,” he posited.

“Having looked at what the African insurance industry looked like yesterday, permit me share with you, what we think the industry should look like in the next 50 years. The areas we need to lay emphasis on for a better, more vibrant insurance industry. The list is not exhaustive and I’m sure the imminent panelists here will enlighten us more.

“The insurance sector can play a crucial role in financial and economic development. By reducing uncertainty and limiting the adverse effects of large losses, the sector can encourage new investments, innovation, and competition,” he said.

He said insurance industry in Africa is undergoing a period of significant change and disruption, stressing that it is now evident that technology is playing a major role in this, with new companies and business models emerging that are challenging the existing ones.

Smart noted that the technological advancements in information management tools and mobility have paved the way for a new era in the African insurance industry.

“Consumer behavior is ever changing, and this constantly puts pressure on insurers to adapt and innovate if they are to stay relevant.
Nonetheless, the future looks bright for the African insurance industry, and it will be fascinating to see how it develops over the coming years. One way, amongst many others, in which technology is shaking up the status-quo is through the use of Blockchain. This distributed ledger technology has the potential to provide a more robust and efficient infrastructure for the industry, improving transparency and reducing costs,” he added.

He maintained that there is an existing gap between academia and the professional world which needs to be bridged and there are many questions regarding education and training in the African insurance industry, which need to be addressed.

Given the changing needs of learners towards more flexible training regimes, coupled with the need to improve the quality of insurance education in Africa and make it Africa relevant, there is the need for changes to insurance training and capacity building systems in Africa. This underscores the need for collaboration among the various insurance training institutions across Africa towards standardization of insurance training in the continent, he said.

The African Insurance Organisation, he said is therefore called upon to play its role as the center of excellence for insurance in Africa. As key stakeholders focus on relevant training and capacity building, there will be an increase in productivity, enhanced core competencies, better skills and job performance, increased employee motivation, ownership and confidence, and greater innovation and development.

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