A portal of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) that will integrate all insurance transactions in the insurance industry into a single hub will go live next year, its Acting Commissioner, Mr Sunday Thomas said on Thursday.
Speaking at the 2019 Insurance Professional Forum organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, he said the implication of this will be a transformation of businesses to online. Hopefully, he said, by the time the practitioners will meet next year, the Commission’s processes would have become fully automated and operational.
The theme for the year’s forum was: The Digital Era: Implications for Insurance Professionals.
He said NAICOM has, at all times, encouraged practitioners to adopt technology in their businesses.
He said in the 21st century, digital technology has integrated the world and its systems into “one global village” where all transactions are now on our finger tips. Our smart phones perform wonderful functions including almost all financial transactions, he said.
These he said, are changes that affect all strata of their personal activities and businesses and bigger than the phase of the advancement are the implications which are already affecting us positively or negatively depending on our answers to the questions raised earlier.
He said insurers must understand that digitalisation has now taken precedence in people’s day-to-day affairs and the implication will be detrimental if the industry fails to fix that gap that it will create in the business between them and their customers.
He said the operators must effectively integrate into the robust financial circle for insurance to take its rightful place in the economy.
He said: “We must invest in technology in order to meet up with current phase of advancement and take our products to the door steps of consumers. The demand by consumers for ease of transacting business is becoming clearer and aggressive. How we respond to these demands will certainly determine our position in the financial market and long time sustainability of our businesses.
“If the industry is to effectively key into the financial inclusion target of the Federal Government, it therefore behoves them to reinvigorate and face the challenge of digitalising their operations not only to build trust, confidence and reassurance of all stakeholders that the industry is ready to encore its peers, but to enhance penetration.”
The Acting Commissioner warned that failure to key into the 21st century demand for digital business services might spell doom for the industry.
He added that their failure to master Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud technologies (SMAC), means they will be unable to serve even the most basic demands of customers and a post-digital world. Hence, we will be prevented from embracing the next digital trends or disruption.
He said it is important we work towards being part of the wave because this new set of technologies will ensure we rethink the entire industry and the parts needed to be played in the world.
“Insurance professionals need to be more alert and integrate SMAC as a baseline or core competency first before adopting newer technologies- the internet of things (IoT), telematics, “big data”, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), “chat-bots”, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and so on.
“Choosing carefully the customized and on-demand customer experiences we intend to target is essential before we can work backwards to map out or develop a strategy on these three things which include how to get there, identifying what ecosystem partners we need and our position in that ecosystem. All of these simply mean, better decision making for all of us in the insurance industry. We all need to move beyond our comfort zone. This means moving beyond the current structures and culture we have in order to achieve our goals. All these been said, for this transformation to occur, strong leadership is required.
“Chief Executives of insurance entities must embrace this change and do so rapidly. This is if they are all willing to benefit from the opportunities the digital era brings, so as not to be left behind as the industry is being transformed. The opportunities require that we reserve old qualities while engaging talent, focus and digital energy towards the new structures, model and culture which will become the energy of business transformation. Again, to recognize this, Leadership is required.
“The idustry is indeed, in a position to embark on a digital journey that can have real impact on ourselves and customers while exploiting existing assets.”
He enjoined the practitioners to understand the task ahead and resolve to make good the gaps that are created by technology in our businesses.