New Normal: What Insurance Businesses Must Do

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By Nkemchor Omife

The importance of insurance in this present day and time cannot be overemphasized. Due to recent happenings around the world, there has been a dramatic shift towards insurance without any form of coercion. Most people are beginning to key into the reality of engaging an insurance company to keep both their lives and properties safe. Insurance unlike other products or service sells “promises” so people are eager to buy promises sold by insurers that assure restoration in case of any unforeseen event or circumstances that cause damages to lives, businesses, or properties.

Also, due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic and other catastrophes that took place in the last year, there has been a great alarm to individuals and businesses to stay afloat and be more vigilant to the importance of having insurance, be it health or life insurance. There has been accelerated insurance awareness across the world, as people have realized the cover insurance brings in preventing damages during unforeseen events and circumstances.

From being the elephant in the room to being a prime focus one major selling point is the fact that insurance companies grant peace of mind. Census shows that a lot of people in the last year due to economic meltdown and uncertainties died to fear, panic, and loss not necessarily diseases. Business owners can now take on certain business ventures and go to bed, because of the new “burden-bearer” thanks to insurance.

In instances where a key family member or business partners kicks the bucket, activities can go on without interruptions or disruptions reasons the industry is likened to a “peacemaker” that ensures calm amid storms.
However, in recent times due to the realization of benefits gotten through insurance, insurance has now become a product that consumers are most likely to buy without the need for a big sales push. Therefore, with all eyes on insurance companies and financial institutions at large due to dust raised by losses and damages, insurance must concoct fresh strategies to constantly meeting the demands of customers.

What Insurance Companies Must Do

Insurance companies must become expert managers of the unexpected
The future of any insurance company is seen in their ability to fast track into the realities of the future, find out possible problems that may arise, and find viable solutions that will speak to the need of individuals and businesses before they become a reality in this present day.

Insurers, have to be quick thinkers and practical problem solvers in these present times. In the last few months thinking of what was termed normal saw an unprecedented shift in what felt like the future. The present future will require insurers to be far more than innovators but will require a more flexible approach that makes them managers of the unexpected.
In light of the new normal thrust, there will be a great restructuring of economic, business, commercial, social demands by individuals, and organisations. Insurance companies will have to draw up new mechanisms and operations to meet the demands of customers when in need. For the digital natives, such expertise from the insurance company has become unavoidable.

Insurance companies must activate an effective communication system
As our needs are different, so also our solutions. Insurers must adopt a flexible approach to meeting various needs rather than drawing up templates and pre-existing patterns of carrying out their operations.

Insurers should be swift in communicating effectively with their customers, the need of consumers months ago will not be the same need for this present time as there is a dramatic shift in demands both commercial, social, and business.

The “new normal” as it is being termed has reshaped how we live, work, and use technology. Insurers have to reinvent themselves based on these shifts to have any chance of surviving these present-day and times. Insurers will have to be more precise and accurate to function maximally and this will only be achieved through quality and effective communication. It would be pleasing to know that insurance firms are already thinking in this direction.
There must be a priority in providing a digital experience

Insurance companies over the past few years have proposed models that tend towards digitalizing the process. Most insurance companies have been considering a massive digital reorganisation. Each passing day, a large trunk of consumers are moving online, this has led to insurers playing catch up and investing vehemently in digital transformation dynamism.

The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened this process as more and more customers adopt digital, forcing most insurance companies to fast-track their existing business and operating models. Insurers as well as other businesses have experienced periods of downtime due to carrying out operations that excluded digitalisation.

A major limitation that arose during these times involves the transactions related to insurance that slowed down for insurance enterprises while working remotely. A significant fall can be seen in the delivery of hard copy documents. Most insurers over the years have relied remotely on courier services for the delivery of hard copy documents and during the lockdown experienced a rude shock as courier services did not escape being grounded during the lockdown by the government, except in cases of delivering essential services.

This simply points a finger to the fact that Nigeria and the world at large wouldn’t experience speedy growth except for the expansion of technology is being considered.
Digitalisation must be embraced to sustain and provide faster solutions that will appeal to and cater to the insurance needs of the customers. It is our greatest belief that the new move towards an increase in digital adoption could be a permanent shift in consumer behaviour.

Finally, with so many fingers and eyes fixed on insurers with the birth of this new supermoon across the world, insurers will have to keep thinking, innovating, and devising methods and technologies that will help them survive these times as any show of laxity and complacency might sink the boat of the entire insurance industry altogether if not properly managed. It would be nice to assume that the new dawn is here for the insurance industry in Nigeria.

Omife is a public relations expert with an interest in strategic corporate communications.