Experts call on insurers to place their customers first

Matthew Otoijagha
To make progress this year, experts have called on insurance operators to adopt strategies such as placing customers at the centre of their business plans and Strategies; and also, in their review of products, policies and processes to ensure that they are relevant to customers’ needs.
They also called on insurers to begin to build capacity in retail businesses; deliver on the promises through simplified claims processes that will leverage on the use of cutting edge technology amongst others.
The Deputy Commissioner, Technical, National Insurance Commission, Thomas Sunday; who was one of the experts that spoke at the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) 2018 business outlook seminar, in Lagos, said this in a paper entitled: ‘INSURANCE AND STABILITY OF THE ECONOMY: THE ROLES OF THE REGULATOR AND STRATEGIES FOR THE FUTURE OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY’.
He urged insurance operators to focus more on profitable growth rather than top-line or volume growth and that they should place great importance on professional and disciplined underwriting.
According to him, a low and uneven development of insurance business increases the level of risk in the economic decisions taken by individuals and firms, hampering, in turn, economic activity.
He added that a sound national insurance sector represents an essential feature of a proper economic system, contributing to economic growth and fostering high employment, stressing that without Insurance, businesses are unable to expand or create jobs; and the economy stagnates.
Managing Director, Financial Institutions Training Centre, Dr. Lucy Newman, in her paper entitled: ‘‘Diversification of the Economy into the Non-Oil Sector: Challenges, the Way Forward and Benefits to the Insurance Industry’’, advocated for market intelligence; embracing evolving technology; products innovation; re-orientation of underwriters and brokers, rethinking portfolio and reinsurance provisions, amongst others.
Managing Director, B. Adedipe & Associates, Dr. Biodun Adedipe, in his paper, ‘‘Economic Policies of Government in 2018: Issues, Challenges and Prospects’’ said the analysis and interpretation of government policies not only gives an understanding of the implications for business, but also provides a clearer picture of the likely opportunities and threats to organizations, be it profit-seeking or not-for-profit.
CIIN President, Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye, said the theme of the 2018 edition of the Business Outlook which is: “Economic Policies of the Government in 2018: Issues, Challenges & Prospects for the Insurance Industry”, was apt, as it will help beam searchlight on the economic and business issues that are likely to engage most captains of Industry and other business leaders in the new business year and also provide opportunity for members of the institute to enrich their knowledge of happenings in their environment.
She noted that considering the fact that the government has allocated N181.19billion to the payment of pensions and gratuities of public servants, while N15billion has also been set aside to meet MDAs’ life assurance premium obligations, the insurance sector should experience increased business momentum.
“On the whole, the Insurance industry, in my view, has more to cheer from the budget. In other words, the business outlook for the Insurance industry is mixed but very promising. As players and risk managers, we need to open our inner minds and take those business decisions that will help us reposition the industry in the unfolding 2018 business year,” she added.

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