Deepening Nigeria’s Insurance with Digital Technology

Samuel Ogbu, GCEO Old Mutual West Africa

By Ebere Nwoji

According to a 2015 insurance survey by PWC, Nigeria is ranked 62nd in the world and has a total premium volume of $1.64 billion. Insurance premium penetration rates of 0.7 per cent of GDP.

The report also revealed that only 1.5 per cent of Nigerian adults have insurance coverage, hence ranked 87th in the world with an average premium per capita of $9.4.

It is not really a grim picture as industry watchers see the Nigerian insurance market as a sector in development. Over the last 14 years, the Nigerian insurance industry has grown steadily, with total premiums written growing from about N75 billion in 2005 to over N500 billion in 2019. But the insurance penetration remains underwhelming at only 0.4 of Nigeria’s estimated 200 million population.

But Nigeria’s insurance strong market potential has attracted respected foreign investors such as Sanlam and Old Mutual from South Africa, Germany’s Allianz, Swiss Re from Switzerland and AXA from France which acquired a $246 million stake in Mansard Insurance.

The players have been increasing their efforts to grow the market further. With the increasingly rapid growth of digital technology and internet-enabled platforms, organisations have continued to leverage the advancements to birth novel ideas and serve their clientele improved offerings underpinned by game-changing convenience; seamless and immersive connections, as well as safer and timely transactions across continents. The possibilities are almost endless.

The recent and prevailing COVID-19 pandemic outcomes, especially the government-imposed lockdown that confined many to their homes, the internet became a ready resource or platform for commercial and non-commercial interactions. This instinctive shift has led more businesses to adjust to the difficult realities to continually serve the customers wherever they may be.

According to a recent data released by the Nigeria Communication Commission in May 2020, the country recorded a sharp spike in the internet connections, growing from 126 million from December 2019 to 140 million internet subscribers in just six months.

This paradigm clearly explains how the pandemic has accelerated technology adoption, which the businesses leveraged for superior customer service and exceptional service delivery.

One of the organisations setting the pace for this digital-inspired customised, solutions-driven products and services experience is Old Mutual, the Nigerian subsidiary of the pan-African and global financial services multinational, Old Mutual Limited.

With over 175 years of experience in providing life assurance, wealth, personal finance, savings, and general insurance services, Old Mutual since its entry into the Nigerian market, has leveraged its heritage and expertise in launching a wide range of insurance solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of Nigerian’s insurable population and corporate clients.

But with the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic, Old Mutual took a quick strategic step to rejig its operations with optimised and fully digitalised processes for existing and prospects alike to access the benefits of insurance, despite the lockdown and social distancing limiting interactions with customers and stakeholders.

Executive Head, Marketing and Customer Experience, Old Mutual, Mrs. Alero Ladipo, who is leading the tech-driven market penetration and exceptional end-to-end customer service delivery, said that the organisation understands how these capabilities enable improved access to insurance solutions, especially in these times. “At Old Mutual, we understand that the world is evolving, thus, we are deliberately harnessing technology to impact our business and consumer experiences specifically.”

“Old Mutual’s digitalisation of its operations started with the launch of our fully revamped, user-friendly e-commerce website that allows customers access various products of their choice, engage with the brand, and most importantly, make end-to-end online claims seamlessly. We also incorporated a functional chatbot on the website, Facebook and WhatsApp platforms to further assure robust insurer-customer interactivities without the usual rigours of frequent physical visits.

“This process signals a new direction and approach to the business and reduces wait-time for accessing and activating our insurance products.

Currently, customers can get their insurance needs sorted out via our digital channels, request for premium packages such as the Comprehensive Motor Insurance; Third-Party Motor Insurance; Home Insurance; Savings Plan; Travel Insurance; Personal Accident Insurance; Group Life Insurance; Marine Insurance among other many Group and Life insurance policies.

“The essential feature of the e-commerce web portal is enabling our policyholders to fully initiate and make insurance claims through its digital and mobile-friendly site without any physical interface with the insurer’s rep. At the peak of the pandemic-induced lockdown in the country, this feature ensured that customers’ access to benefits and services remained sacrosanct,” she added.

Alero, who leads the Customer Experience Unit at Old Mutual, noted that the e-claims channel speaks to the brand’s commitment to “providing ingenious, accessible, swifter, convenient, tailor-made, and exceptional customer-service-driven insurance services to Nigerians. Old Mutual deliberately envisaged the opportunity that digital technology could offer and adopted it without hesitation.”

She further emphasised: “As an organisation with a 175-year heritage of creating deeper connections with its stakeholders, we remain committed to deepening accessibility to insurance solutions in Nigeria. But with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and businesses resorting to working remotely, it is expedient that we meet our customers at their pain points by leveraging the capabilities and robustness of technology in this regard.

“So, if you are an Old Mutual policyholder and have the need to make claims, you do not have to visit our branches to reach our representatives. Instead, you can whip out your phone and initiate the claim process by simply visiting our optimised website, click on ‘Make a Claim’ button at the top right corner of the home page, fill the form with the relevant details and select ‘Claim’ under the drop-down menu. After this seamless process, the customer’s claim will be paid within 48 hours. It is that simple”, Alero quipped.

Old Mutual General Insurance Company and Old Mutual Nigeria Life Assurance Company are part of the globally acclaimed Old Mutual brand, which has footprints in over 30 countries and more than 170 decades of experience in providing life assurance and wealth, personal finance savings and general insurance services.

The insurer, since its entry into the Nigerian market, continues to leverage its legacy and expertise in providing premium insurance solutions as well as exploring new vistas that can optimise corporate consumer experiences and Insurance adoption at large.