• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Providing solution critical in deepening penetration in insurance, pension

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Players in insurance and pension industry have been tasked to provide solutions that meet the needs of customers, as critical in deepening penetration.

According to experts, customers are not looking for products, but solutions that take care of their needs.

They need peace of mind, so that as they engage in ventures and life activities they have something to fall back on in the event of the unexpected.

Biodun Adedipe, chief consultant, B. Adedipe Associates Limited gave the advice during an Insurance and Pension Conference in Lagos with the theme ‘Prioritising Excellent Customer Services in Insurance and Pension Business’.

He said what customers need is peace of mind, and would be willing to pay for a solution that gives that.

Adedipe said “The fundamentals of excellent customer service include a clear understanding of who your customer is; the problems that customer want you to solve for them; how, where and when they want those problems solved; what they are willing to pay happily for the solutions offered and how much they value your relationship with them.

“You must be able to answer in clear terms the questions of what is most important to different customer categories. How can we deliver repeatedly beyond the expectations of those customers? Can we build our entire strategy, systems and operations around the customer?”

He said Relationship Management is key to service excellence, noting that it is more difficult and costlier (the cost ratio is one to five) to start relationships than to maintain them.

Adedipe said relationships can easily weaken or fizzle out if they are not nurtured; competitors will capitalize on this vulnerability to take your customers.

He posited that Strong relationships translate into greater business volume through repeat purchases and new introductions “Which over 10 years can translate into 14 times the current business volume.”

Adedipe said People are important to every entity, whether public or private. They are our contact point, they are the ones we market, and they are the real buyers.

“The people that insurance companies and pension administrators serve are central to their existence, survival and sustenance.

“Managing their perceptions will make or mar the practice; as such perceptions determine the choices and decisions that those customers make.

”Excellent customer service is fundamental to every organization, public or private, profit seeking or not-for-profit.

On insurance and pension business, he said ”both of them are peculiar in the sense that they have triple bottom-line: Gross income; Profit and Social impact. Insurance enables entrepreneurial risk taking and loss recovery for the risk-vulnerable, while pension assures sustenance after active service life.”

Read also: Micro pension drags as customers’ behaviour remains unclear

Ganiyu Musa, chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) who was chairman of the event said the insurance industry was doing quite a lot to improve customer service, but still have a long way to go.

According to him, customers should avail themselves of the different platforms including the National Insurance Commission’s Complaint Bureau to resolve issues with their underwriters if the need arises.

He said the platform is at no cost to the insured and will go a long way in addressing some of the complaints consumers have.

He however noted that the key to improving customer service is innovation.

Joyce Ojemudia, managing director/CEO, African Alliance said in order for us as insurers and pension businesses to functionally prioritize customer experience, we need to think from the customer’s perspective.

Ojemudia said to carry out our business with the understanding that a customer does not draw a distinction between an agent, a marketer, a claims adjuster or brand manager, as all represent the insurer in the event of an accident or a critical situation that requires our service.

“Today’s customers are very demanding and value-centric, so there is a need for the insurance and pensions businesses to brace up and be continually dynamic in their approach in terms of quality service and value creation.”

Ben Ujoatuonu, managing director, Universal Insurance plc said as an industry, if we get it right, we will have some much growth in the business given the huge potential.

Ujoatuonu said, there is need for every player to have a virile business development unit that is research oriented, and this he noted will come out with products that are tailor made to suite specific need of customers.

He noted that players should quickly adapt to insuretech, as this will make the journey to penetration faster.