Thomas says Digital Age may accelerate obsolescence of industries and companies

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What is coming may accelerate obsolescence of industries and companies not willing to pay the price now may go into extinction

The Commissioner For Insurance (CFI), Sunday Thomas stated in his keynote address At The Chartered Insurance Institute Of Nigeria 2021 Insurance Professionals’

 

The Insurance Commissioner noted that to address Insurance Professionals on the occasion of the Year 2021 Professional Forum where Fellows of our prestigious Institute, Associates, Senior Members, Practising colleagues and Insurance stakeholders converge to discuss topical issues; in this context, to discuss our place as an   Industry in the “Digital Age”

 

He said Digital technology has taken the world by storm, affecting, changing and improving the way things are done. He further stressed that it is disrupting traditional operating structures and systems.

 

Thomas pointed out that Industries such as telecommunications, media, entertainment, Financial services and indeed consumer products have been impacted in the way they attract and retain customers.

 

The NAICOM Boss said the aptness of the Forum’s Theme therefore is not only relevant to how we fit into the agenda of the Digital Age but also to ensure that we maximize the learnings required for the coming Age.

 

“Our ability to get attuned to the requirements of the Digital Age is just but an input for the coming Age. What is coming may accelerate obsolescence of industries and companies not willing to pay the price now may go into extinction, he added

 

“It is worthy of note to state that humans have weathered different Ages in history; such as, ü          The Paleolithic Age – the earliest period of Stone Age, ü The Mesolithic Age- Period in the development of human technology between the Paleolithic and Neolithic Periods, ü          Neolithic – A period of primitive technology and social development,

 

Thereafter we had the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Period of Renaissance, Industrial Age, Machine Age and then followed by The Digital Age.

 

According to Wikipedia, the Digital Age is a period that began in the mid-20th Century, characterized by a rapid shift from traditional industry established by the Industrial Revolution to an economy primarily based upon Information Technology.

 

He noted that our major concern from historical analogies of different Ages should be the fact that an Age goes to extinction to birth another robust Age; Machine Age foster the need for Digital Age.

The Commissioner pointed out that Insurance Industry is currently lagging behind and needs to reassess its business model, re-evaluate her strategy and make the digital agenda a high priority. According to him, if this is not done it will be difficult to deliver on customers’ expectations and new entrants, Insurtech Companies and leading digital competitors will take advantage of this weakness.

 

He said It is time for Insurers to evolve and do the needful.

 

This will require a different set of skills, culture and operating model, he stressed.

 

He concluded that as a Professional, should I still be relevant with the current level of knowledge when the Digital Age fully evolves and even metamorphoses into a new coming Age? As an Industry, if we failed to pay the price required to meet up with the demands of the Digital Age, what would be the consequence of a late catch-up strategy?

 

“Without unpacking all the contents of the Big Box called Digital Age, there are contents yet to be explored such as Automation, Blockchain Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, and such like.

 

“Permit me to state that the only explorable option for us as an Industry is to maximize our positioning in the Digital Age…. Waiting with our arms folded is not an option; ü Taxi Companies waited until Uber surfaced ü Landlords waited until AirBnb disrupted the realtor business

 

 

“Hospitals are late catch-ups with “K Health” a start-ups Company in New York City that uses AI and Machine Learning that offers patients access to health care through their phones. He said the AI-driven service makes it easy for Users to see how Doctors typically diagnose people with similar symptoms and biomarkers….So where do you see conventional Hospitals in nearest future? An Insurance Company, called “Root Insurance” in Columbus Ohio now uses AI, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning to enable everyone with smartphone get a motor rate based primarily on their driving behaviour, rather than relying on historically based demographic data to determine rates.

 

So, are we going to wait to do catch-ups with InsurTech Start-Ups before we disrupt our Models that suits the Digital Age?

NAICOM Boss disclosed that the Commission is desirous of a fully digitized Industry. More so, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption and the use of digital technologies in the Nigerian Insurance sector, he added.

“To this extent, On 1st September, 2021, the NAICOM Portal was successfully launched. In order to ensure effective and efficient utilization of the Portal, the Commission directed all Operators to: Integrate, connect and upload five (5) years historical data of all policies issued from 1st January, 2016 to NAICOM Portal on or before 1st March, 2021

 

“I want to assure those that are yet to align with the Commission’s Portal requirements that the Commission may not be able to wait for ever.

 

Thomas said there is no technology Age that does not have its own challenges. Also there would be challenges faced by the Industry in the Digital environment such as; Meeting the demands of the multi-generation customer bases; The fast-changing digital space, systems and technologies; the need to reduce cost; Data Reliability; Legacy technology; Workforce Training; Fraud, Dealing with On-Demand Economy and others

 

The CFI optimistic that after the end of this year’s Forum, the Industry would be abreast of the need to Encourage Disruptive Growth – through a reordering of priorities and cultural change: Cultural changes from traditional products offering to Customer-centric biases.

“Investing in disrupting our traditional Business Model.

 

“Matching current workforce with Future Needs – The skills that will be critical in the future will likely be quite different.

 

“Existing roles will likely require broader skill sets in the future.

 

He reiterated that it is time we developed Talents for Disruptive Innovations, that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network.

 

“Adopt Disruptive Technology (Cloud Computing, Mobile Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, Internet of Things) at the minimum:

+Develop New Products

+Enable better Customer Experience

+Develop new channels of distribution

+Automate processes

+Pursue faster claims processing

+Deploy Data Analytics and

+Ensure Information Security

He affirmed that the Insurance industry needs to catch up quickly with new technology, innovations, changing environment (from traditional to digital), developments and changing customer expectation.

 

“We are in the digital world and can no longer be playing the ostrich by being less digital in our operations. The only constant thing is change and there is need to quickly join the digital wagon to bring transformation to our industry, he concluded.

 


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