How to boost insurance through technology

Just as the telecommunication sector has come to be the fastest growing industry in the world, the same could be replicated in the insurance sector in Nigeria, if the players would leverage on technology to push up the current N400 billion profit.
Experts in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in Nigeria believe that N400bn is a far cry from what should be generated because the industry has come of age.
They are of the opinion that, if the insurance sector is driven by ICT, the fortunes of the industry would automatically transform overall penetration and gross premium.
Aided by ICT and a strong regulator that does not care whose ox is gored, like the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the telecoms industry, the insurance sector would surely witness growth, the experts believe.
One of such experts, managing director of Pinet Informatics, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, stated that the insurance industry was a vital part of the Nigerian economy but it was not living up to its full potential.
He said: “There are less than 1.5 million insurance policy holders in Nigeria out of a population of 170 million, which translates to 0.9 per cent insurance penetration. When compared to 23 per cent bank accounts penetration, 105 per cent telephone penetration and 55 per cent Internet penetration, there is a lot of room for improvement in the insurance industry and this could be achieved by deploying the right technology.”
Ajayi, who plans on convening an e-insurance conference on March 23, 2017, in Lagos, maintained that only ICT would drive insurance penetration in Nigeria as well as develop an appropriate framework for implementing such ideas.
Said he: “The Nigerian insurance industry could be turned around if the industry transit to a technology-driven one, the same way the banking industry got transformed through the infusion of information and communication technology in its service delivery processes”

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Africa’s insurance market a ‘giant waking up’

When KPMG, the advisory company, held its inaugural East Africa Insurance Conference in February, organisers were surprised that more than 100 industry participants attended. James Norman, KPMG’s regional insurance head, was equally enthused when a similar number attended the launch of a report on the sector last week.

“There’s a real buzz about the sector because opportunities are immense,” he says. “There’s a young population, a growing middle class — most with smartphones — and an increasingly large diaspora coming back,” he says. “There’s a whole new generation of savvy consumers with disposable incomes and large infrastructure projects being built.” Lukas Mueller, head of north and sub-Saharan Africa at reinsurer Swiss Re, is also bullish on the region, describing it as a “giant waking up”. He says the opportunities are many and varied — from infrastructure and agriculture to catering for the growing middle class. “The insurance market is closely linked to economic growth,” he says. “When incomes rise you have more insurable assets.” However, he also describes the sub-Saharan African insurance market as a “diverse picture”.

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