The Managing Director Sanlam General Insurance Bode Opadokun in this interview with Chuks Udo Okonta says the company
sells confidence as a way of life and the better way to live and that when insurance is needed, Sanlam should be the brand that comes to mind.
How has your company fared in a hostile economic environment since January 2022?
It has been a tough year, but we have been dogged in our approach from the start. We deployed various innovative strategies and partnership as well as leveraged Sanlam Group capacity and spread to ensure we have a better year than the last. It is a strategy that has helped us keep stakeholders happy.
What were the challenges / greatest obstacles?
The year has been blessed with opportunities for us as a business to think differently to overcome the some of the challenges brought forth, starting with the japa syndrome that resulted in sudden exit of some staff from our organization; unrest in certain areas of the country we operate, the unstable macro-economic environment as a result of the Russia/Ukraine war and other local and global trends, which have had a direct impact in our bottom line in terms of operating expenses.
How were you able to navigate through these challenges?
Our people are our greatest assets. We have a very diverse group of staff. Despite the japa syndrome, other colleagues have been able to pick up the slack to ensure we meet our agreed targets. Our staff continue to be the pillars for our business, and have been tremendous in working with key stakeholders to close any gaps. As a sign of the times, we continue to invest in the use of technology to automate key aspects of our business. We have been very prudent in our approach to reacting to the impact of the macro-economic trends on our bottom line.
What new offerings do you propose for the insuring public in 2023?
Our approach in 2023 will be dynamic. As a new Sanlam brand, the market will feel our pulse as an exciting and confident brand in touch with the needs of her stakeholder. While I would hesitate to let the cat out of the bag, I just want you to know that now we have a new, “confident, brand” and this will filter through the way we do things. Indeed, our charge is to instill that confidence in our existing and prospective clients. Our claims payment approach, for example, is now automated thus allowing for faster turnaround time which quicken our desire to help our customers to live with confidence.
What agenda do you have for 2023 financial year as there might be a change in administration?
2023 is an election year. Election years are always different all over the world because of the uncertainty that it comes with in terms of the operating environment. The electioneering in the first half of the year will definitely impact organizations investments and marketing activities. Notwithstanding, we have factored this into our strategy as approved by the board. As the risks that we underwrite don’t disappear due to an election, so would we not wither but deepen our reach and capacity to cater to our stakeholders by making sure our customers can easily access the products they need. We will continue to expand our touch points across both the retail and digital fronts to ensure that our stakeholders have the needed access to us and reinforce the brand to be a household name when it comes to financial confidence as a whole. Our customer engagement will re-enforce our brand to remain in their mind. We plan to continue to grow our clientele base and market share in year 2023
What would you do to boost public trust and confidence towards insurance industry?
We are in the business of underwriting risks and paying genuine claims. As a brand, we do this by instilling financial confidence in our stakeholders with our collaborative approach, sincerity of purpose, fulfilling our promises and providing dynamic and innovative products and services to buttress our commitment to all our stakeholders. We would continue to live the brand values of collaboration, innovation, integrity and care for all our customers. We will make insurance more accessible to our customers by being at all their key lifepoints such as, supermarkets, car shops, religious houses, entertainment spots and travel stops. By and large, we are selling confidence as a way of life and the better way to live. When insurance is needed, Sanlam will be the brand that comes to mind.