Financial Inclusion: NAICOM urges insurance companies to invest in technology

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has charged insurance companies to invest in technology in order to effectively key into the financial inclusion target of the Federal Government.

Mr Sunday Thomas, NAICOM Acting Chief Executive Officer, gave the charge at the 2019 Insurance Professional Forum organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) on Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The theme of the forum which came at the heels of CIIN’s 60th Anniversary, is : “The Digital Era: Implications for Insurance Professionals.”

According to him, if the industry is to effectively key into the financial inclusion target of the federal government, it behoves on the operators and regulators to reinvigorate and face the challenges of digitalising of operations.

The NAICOM Acting CEO said that failure of the insurance companies to key into the 21st century demand for digital business services might spell doom for the industry.

“Our failure to master social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies means we will be unable to serve even the most basic demands of customers and the post-digital world.

“Hence, we will be prevented from embracing the next digital trends or disruption.

“It is important that we work towards being part of the wave because this new set of technologies will ensure we rethink the entire industry and the parts needed to be played in the world.

“Insurance professionals need to be more alert and imbibe various relevant technologies as a baseline or core competency while adopting newer technologies – the internet of things (IoT).

“Also, telematics, “big data”, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), “chat-bots”, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and so on,” he said.

According to him, consumers’ experience locally or globally are going to be greatly influenced by digital technology and so insurance companies must endeavour to take their products to the comfort of the consumer.

Thomas said: “Imagine this scenario; consumers having their claims, complaints or inquires attended to with minimal human participation, tasks that ordinarily would take several daunting processes to accomplish, now simplified.

“Automated, saving downtime, improving consumer experience, reducing operational costs and providing new revenue streams.

“This scenario as just described is not far-fetched from reality ; it is not only possible and achievable, it is already happening.

“This is where our true service will lie and also how the narrative of the insurance industry and market in Nigeria will change.”

Thomas noted that the insurance business must understand that digitalisation has now taken precedence in people’s daily affairs and the consequence could be massive if it failed to fix any gap that this could create in its service delivery.

The Acting Commisioner said Insurance companies must effectively integrate into the robust financial circle to take its rightful place in the economy.

He said that the commission was committed to improving the use of technology in the sector by investing hugely in automating most of its operations.

“To this end, the commission’s portal that will integrate all insurance transactions into a single hub is being finalised.

“Hopefully, by the time we meet next year, our processes would have become fully automated and operational, ” he said.

He said that NAICOM more than ever before was resolute in sustaining existing initiatives and introducing new reforms that would transform the industry from the resisted to the sought after.

“From neglected to the promoted, despised to the preferred and from the penny stocks to the investors delight. Its achievable and in our power to do, ” he added.

Thomas enjoined the participants to take maximum advantage of the forum to network and freely discuss their industry; prospects and challenges, while proffering possible solutions in the interest of all stakeholders.

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