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Chuks Udo Okonta
Friendliness will enhance the reputation and image of insurance industry to be at par
with banking industry and attract respect of all stakeholders, former Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Innovations, Ekiti State, Prince Debo Ajayi, has said.
He said this at the investiture of the 13th President of Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN) Diipo Olanrewaju, yesterday in Lagos, adding that a friendly insurance industry will certainly experience organic market development – premium income growth; higher coverage ratios; greater customer lifetime value and so on.
He submitted that ultimately, the customer is the reason for insurance business and is the one paying the premium, hence friendliness would engender trust and customers will trust a trustworthy insurance industry and will reward it with their loyalty.
“That means greater penetration and density, higher retention rates, greater referrals, more opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell existing customers.
“Customers will be “buying” Insurance more than the industry “selling” insurance,” he said.
He submitted that a friendly insurance industry will experience improvement in profitability, adding that according to a 2015 report from McKinsey, “Insurers that offer superior customer service beat their
peers in terms of profitability.”
“At the minimum, there will be a larger revenue base to cover operating and marketing expenses. The drive to create customer value will lead to
smarter processes and operations,” he said.
Ajayi noted that the creation of a friendly disposition will boost the morale of industry workforce and attract superior manpower up to senior management level, adding that career in the insurance industry will become what younger talents seek than it being the last resort in a high unemployment market.
He maintained that a friendly, growing and thriving insurance industry will attract more investments, both domestic and international, and quality shareholders to provide necessary oversight, stressing that spiring to become more friendly is the right goal for the insurance industry in Nigeria at this time.
He said friendliness would greatly improve the relevance of the industry, adding that achieving that goal will also greatly improve the quality and profitability of the industry.
“However, the goal calls for fundamental changes in the industry, and such changes will be inevitable regardless.
“The regulator and industry associations will have key roles to play in making insurance friendly,” he said.
According to him, the industry must prioritize positive customer experience, stressing that this means that industry players must: Consider the creation of something like an Office of the Customer, led by a C-Suite officer such as Chief Client Officer/Chief Customer Officer.
Review the language of communication with the people. Be ready to review
marketing materials, contract wording, product design to deliver tangible and
relevant benefits, and claims processes.
Develop systems that allow frequent interactions with customers to demonstrate
relevance in their life situations and be pervasive.
Industry players must adopt technology: automation, A-I, Telematics, Chat Bot,
even if it requires partnership with Tech companies.
He said the industry would require: A-I technology to convert potential customers, to perform intelligent underwriting and to issue policies.
Technologies to process and pay claims quickly, efficiently and curb frauds.
Technologies that help to deliver positive customer experience using multiple
digital communication channels to interact with the customer and serve them –
such as Website, Email, Online, AI chatbot, WhatsApp, Telegram, FB and mobile apps
Technologies that support risk-based, exposure-driven, personalized pricing, as
against tariff-based or commodity-based pricing.
Pervasive technologies that allow the industry to follow the customer and provide
context-based services –whileshopping, driving, in transit, on birthdays,at
lifestyle changes and so forth.
These he said give opportunities to offer need-based product solutions resulting in up-selling or cross-selling the customer.
Ajayi said the more the industry becomes friendly the more the need for product and benefit customization to respond to the needs of the customers, adding that insurance products will become more tangible, consumer research-based, context-sensitive and customer value oriented.
He maintained that the industry must be re-oriented to promote a positive culture of claims processing and payments, stressing that the opportunity to settle claims is one that the industry must cherish to deliver on promises, reinforce trust and demonstrate relevance.
President of ILAN, Diipo Olanrewaju, said his tenure would strive to cultivate strong relationship with all arms of the industry and National Insurance Commission.
He said the agenda of his administration is to pursue ILAN charter; research & development; training programmes; capacity building; ILAN scale of fees and ILAN building.