Babalola: Digital Transformation, Key to Insurance Sector Survival

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Ebere Nwoji

A former Minister of State for Finance, and Chairman Law Union and Rick Insurance Plc, Remi Babalola, has said that for insurance sector to remain relevant and survive in the future financial services industry, operators must embrace digital transformation.

Babalola, who stated this at the quarterly Breakfast Meeting of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) held in Lagos, said digital transformation among insurance industry operators has become necessary in view of the changing consumer segment and appetite, which requires that digitalisation is quickly embraced to drive changing customer relationships and experiences, redefine value proposition and optimise business models and processes.

Speaking on the Theme, ‘Millennials: Digital Transformation & The Nigerian Insurance Industry’, Babalola said that the millennials are either critical success or failure factor for the insurance industry both locally and globally, depending on how proactive the insurance industry harnesses their positive characteristics.

“Proactive adaptation of their lifestyle or behaviour to innovate products by insurers to match their lifestyle needs will significantly change the landscape of the insurance industry”, he stressed.
According to him, with 92 million segment of the population as active users of the mobile phone, insurance business communication needs to change in order to achieve phenomenal growth in the insurance industry and financial service sector.
“Babalola also warned that “If your brand doesn’t show up in online search, millennials are not likely to take you seriously.”

He said available information has shown that the millennials have the capacity and are in fact influencing purchasing decisions as well as how companies conduct business.
He said insurers must therefore be ready to tailor their marketing strategies to align with the digital natives in order to achieve improved performance.
He further stated that the insurance industry needs to embrace the strategic significance of social channels.

He added: “We need to be where the customer is and be part of the conversation where they interact, exchange opinions and levy complaints.
“Insurance companies would need to allocate resources to study millennials’ habits and employ effective marketing strategies to sell multiples strands of insurance. Since they engage in a sharing economy, we may need to think of how to insure space and time.”

Speaking at the event, President, CIIN, Funmi Babington-Ashaye, in her welcome remarks said one key factor that has impacted the way business is done and value is communicated to consumers today is information technology.
She said the emerging generation of workforce and consumers are now tech-savvy and require online real time information on products and their offerings.”

Ecobank Promotes 1000 Staff
Ecobank Nigeria Limited has announced the promotion of more than 1,000 of its staff.
This latest promotion exercise which affected about 30 per cent of core employees of the bank, the financial institution explained, was in line with its commitment to recognising and rewarding excellence and exceptional performance.

The ban said in a statement that the promoted staff cut across all cadres of the workforce.
Also the bank said it has commenced a graduate recruitment exercise that would give opportunity to several hundreds of young Nigerians to join the workforce within the next few years starting from 2018 through a structured training programme that will prepare them as next generation of leaders in the banking industry.

The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Charles Kie stated that these developments are part of the bank’s roadmap to leadership targeted at making Ecobank one of the top three banks in Nigeria within the next five years.
He stated that the bank was fully committed to rewarding excellence and would continue to take appropriate positive actions in line with international best practice to sustain excellence in its work force.

Kie emphasised that Ecobank Nigeria would also continue to simplify and digitize its operations to better serve its customers.
“This exercise is part of steps taken by the bank to realign its work force for better efficiency in line with best practices.
“Our people are our greatest asset as they allow us to maintain high service quality standards, constantly improve on customer satisfaction and enhance our brand experience,” Kie said.
The promoted staff were selected through an appraisal exercise conducted using an in-house developed performance management system which uses both financial and non-financial metrics to appraise staff.

Heritage Bank, Others Support Creative Industry
Heritage Bank Plc has stressed the need to continue to support the diversification of the economy through the Nigerian creative industry in order to guarantee sustainable growth.
The MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated this at the Exhibition Gallery of National Museum Benin by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in collaboration with the Edo State Government, and the Smithsonian Institute, United States of America, which Heritage Bank was the lead sponsors.
The exhibition focused on photographic works of Chief Solomon Alonge, photographer to Royal Court of Benin kingdom during the reign of Oba Akenzua II.

Represented by the Executive Director, Jude Monye, the Heritage Bank boss said: “The art and culture industry has become one of the major contributors to so many countries gross domestic products (GDP) and Heritage Bank is committed to supporting it because it is part of Nigeria’s heritage.”
According to him, Heritage Bank has continued to make efforts in supporting ideologies like this, through the use of arts as a tool to promote cultural awareness and to help younger Nigerians form a strong sense of national identity.

He promised that the bank would always be driven by cultural heritage in delivering distinctive financial services to create, preserve and transfer wealth.
In his presentation, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed called on states to emulate Edo in collaborating with the federal government to promote culture, tourism and the arts.
The minister, who was represented by Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Yusuf Usman, said synergy amongst corporate bodies, states and the federal government would guarantee diversification of Nigeria’s economy whilst showcasing its rich culture.

He commended Heritage Bank, Smithsonian Institute, US Embassy and others for the exceptional supports in making a huge success of the Exhibition Gallery at the National Museum Benin by the NCMM.
Edo State, Gov Godwin Obaseki, while appreciating the Smithsonian Institution, said the exhibition would add to state’s quest to develop tourism as it makes a connection between past and present.
The governor said art was assuming a wider national importance and the possibility of it being developed as a self-sustaining alternative to oil revenue was now being appreciated across the country.