More collaboration, innovation, awareness, technology, and digital adoption are critical to improve the Nigerian insurance sector, Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings, has said.
Elumelu said this on Thursday at the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers’ (NCRIB) 60th anniversary colloquium and book presentation, themed ‘60 Years of Insurance Broking: Redefining the practice and the practitioners’.
“The NCRIB and other insurance industry bodies should collaborate more to deepen insurance penetration in Nigeria. Where there are differences on issues, such must be resolved as friends and colleagues to protect and preserve the image of the industry,” he said.
He said the NCRIB should also play a key role in government advocacy for pro-insurance laws and policies.
According to him, the insurance industry can benefit from innovation across all phases of the service.
“For this to happen, there is a need to reward and incentivise innovation across the industry,” Elumelu said. “The industry must also benchmark against global trends, perhaps the starting point for innovation in the broking arm of the industry is retail insurance development. Over the years, brokers in the market have been recognised as corporate insurance specialists.”
He said it was high time the brokers’ community began to shift focus to retail, which, according to him, is where the future of insurance lies in Nigeria and brokers have the capacity to lead in this area.
“Innovation and disruptive practices cannot occur if we do not broaden our thinking trying to make profits from existing lines are not going to deepen insurance penetration, rather we must look at the blue ocean opportunities. This is something I task the management of the insurance companies to constantly think of in product development and deployment,” he said.
“There is a need to generate more awareness and showcase the value of insurance to the public, promoting participation, most especially in the retail space. We must bridge the insurance knowledge gap if we are to make insurance attractive to Nigerians,” Elumelu stated.
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Speaking about awareness, Elumelu encouraged insurance brokers to participate fully in this drive as they stand to benefit from the initiative like other players in the market.
“To remain relevant in the modern business arena, the insurance broker community and the entire Nigerian insurance industry must embrace technology fully. The body also needs to work towards positioning its members properly for digital integration, mediating between the insuring public and the underwriters digitally,” he said.
To improve service delivery to customers, Elumelu spoke on the need to embrace technology and digital adoption. “The brokers’ industry cannot advance when the other financial services are transitioning to online real-time and we are still stuck with a system that relies on hard copy files and documents,” he said.
According to him, there is an urgency to develop the next generation of talent to serve the Nigerian insurance industry.
“The broker community should rally and become the hub for the education and training of our youths to get qualified talent for the next phase of the industry. We need to raise the profile of our insurance professionals and make it attractive for the younger generation,” Elumelu said.
Shola Tinubu, the former president of NCRIB, urged the insurance sector to key into Know Your Customer and embrace its possibilities like other financial institutions.