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Partnerships, tech, innovative products will drive insurance penetration- Orimolade

Partnerships, tech, innovative products will drive insurance penetration- Orimolade

Stanbic IBTC Insurance Company Limited is one of the companies licensed by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in 2021. Akinjide Orimolade, chief executive Stanbic IBTC Insurance, in this section with some select journalists reviews the industry in the past year, major developments and strategies adopted so far by the company to deepen penetration. Modestus Anaesoronye brings the Excerpts:

Give a review of Nigeria’s insurance industry in 2021?

Over the past decade, the insurance industry has witnessed some remarkable growth, particularly with the entrance of key international players. This growth trajectory is expected to persist in the coming years, driven by more industry competition, technology adoption and innovative products. In terms of competition, a number of key new licenses were issued in 2020 to new insurance companies like Stanbic IBTC Insurance. This provided more competition within the market in 2021.Other key industry developments in 2021 included NAICOM’s amendments to the code of corporate governance; Nigeria’s hosting of African underwriters at the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) conference, where the CEO of Standard Bank Africa region was a guest speaker; the nomination of the GMD and CEO of NEM Insurance Plc as the President of AIO; and there was an acquisition of some of the shares of Royal Exchange General Insurance company by a foreign private equity.

Highlight some of the critical issues that shaped the sector and the operations of Stanbic IBTC Insurance?

We do not have data for the industry yet, but from 2018 to date, the industry has grown and is still growing with a double-digit percentage. The regulator, NAICOM, has assisted with the market development and restructuring initiative (MDRI), which made some insurance products compulsory and the minimum rate applicable on group life products. This has assisted the market, especially in the growth of group life business.

The #EndSars protest was another defining factor that reshaped the industry in the area of claims payment. About N9billion had been paid so far by the insurance companies to individuals and organisations. Another important factor is the COVID-19 pandemic that made the insurance of lives very key in most households and organisations.

From the above, though the economy is still struggling, there is bound to be growth in the insurance sector this year. The uncertainties in the environment are likely to drive up the purchase of insurance. Stanbic IBTC Insurance will benefit from these opportunities.

What measures or strategies can your company leverage to stay ahead of competition?

The Stanbic IBTC Group is an innovative organisation. We want to make our engagements with clients as robust and seamless as possible. Our partnership with insurance brokers through their body, the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers [NCRIB], is another strategic approach we have taken to avail clients the reliable insurance solutions at competitive rates. We remain determined to create value addition in providing valuable financial solutions to our clients.

Read  also: NCRIB at 60 reaffirms commitment to deeper penetration, professionalism

How do you see the partnership between Stanbic IBTC Insurance and the brokers, and what are your expectations?

Insurance brokers play a critical role in the insurance industry, particularly in terms of price discovery and product development. They provide a vital link between the insurer and consumers of insurance products. We believe that the brokers’ community is very crucial to the success of our business, and we know we can offer them solutions that will address the needs of their customers. We believe that we would be able to grow the insurance penetration in the country with the partnership.

The NCRIB conference centred on issues such as Innovation, Strategy and Opportunities in the insurance industry. Do these align with your vision at Stanbic IBTC Insurance in any way?

The company’s vision is “to be the preferred life insurance solution provider in Nigeria”.

This aligns with the theme for the conference because to achieve this; we need to be innovative, harness opportunities in the country and have the right strategies in place to provide solutions that meet the needs of our customers.

Can you avail the public of your product offerings and how they can be accessed?

The products approved by our regulator are compulsory Group Life, Credit Life, Annuity, Term Assurance, Mortgage Protection and Endowment Policies. We plan to develop new products to address the insurance needs of Nigerians. We are also open to working with the brokers’ community for new products.

What should the Nigerian insurance industry and its stakeholders expect from Stanbic IBTC Insurance?

Prompt settlement of claims. We are customer centric, focusing on delivering quality and excellent services that are driven by technology. We hope to continue to drive enlightenment initiatives to help demystify the industry and drive full adoption of insurance by Nigerians. This we hope to achieve through relevant partnerships like the one with NCRIB.

Experts have pointed out that insurance penetration in Nigeria is relatively low at 0.34 per cent. What is your plan towards bridging this gap?

We hope to drive initiatives that will lead to regular engagements among key stakeholders in the industry, particularly the insuring public and the insurance players. Such constant engagement is what the industry needs to finally break free of some of the negative perceptions surrounding insurers. Importantly, we shall be harnessing the opportunities we see in the market. We intend to deploy technology and create simple products targeted at the youthful population.