The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has reaffirmed its commitment for an enabling environment to enhance the growth and development of the insurance industry.
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, said this at the United Capital Securities Ltd. CEO Roundtable Breakfast Forum sponsored by the United Capital Plc on Thursday in Lagos.
The theme for the 2023 roundtable is: “Technology as a Critical Driver of Growth and Transformation in the Nigerian Insurance Landscape.”
Thomas said the commission would continue to focus on deployment of technology to increase access to insurance products across the country.
“As a regulator, we need to really push our technology so that people can get to know not only from the point of servicing; also creative thinking is key.
“In deployment of technology in the insurance sector, the regulator has the responsibility of awareness creation, standard setting, the government has to provide the infrastructure, education is very central,” he said.
According to him, technology is key for insurance sector growth and development.
Thomas said the commission was moving beyond compliance to developmental processes that would transform the sector.
He said education was key in driving technology to boost economic growth and development.
“Our payment system as advanced as it is, is still epileptic, infrastructure is key to driving technogy before the capacity the technology can bring to the economy can be explored.
“We have the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for the insurance sector to grow.
“We set the minimum operating standard for technology in the industry years ago, that’s why some of our initiatives are compelling operators to align with technology,” Thomas said.
“Today, you cannot bring your papers to the commisison to say that you want to renew, nobody will take it from you, you have to go back to your office, and upload those documents and you will be ready to print your certificate from your office.
“When we started this portal, people will first of all resistant, information is no longer secret, you are now open to the world. We have quality control in the IT department,” he said.
He also stressed the need for awareness creation to boost insurance penetration across the country.
“The insurance sector is not yet where it’s expected to be, deployment of technology through awareness creation is key to boost penetration,” Thomas added.
Earlier, the Group Chief Executive Officer, United Capital Plc, Mr Peter Ashade, in an opening address said the group would continue to be very strong in the market.
Ashade said the group recently introduced a digital banking arm, which was not there years ago.
“We are very delighted as a group to be hosting today’s breakfast meeting.
“It’s with great pleasure that I welcome everyone to this second edition where we believe on conversation that will drag the next phase of growth in insurance sector,” he said.
Ashade said change was very important for the growth and development of any sector.
He said insurance contribution to the Gross Domestic Product currently at less than two per cent would improve in no distant time with technology.
“Insurance sector will be a very strong and vibrant sector to reckon with in Nigerian financial services sector in no distant time,” he said.
Ashade said the group would continue to drive the pillars of growth in the insurance sector.
He said the changes happening in the insurance sector were inevitable.
“Shift in climate condition, technology infrastructure, workforce and customer expectation combined with microeconomy and geopolitical volatility are pushing organisations across the globe to change the way they conduct businesses and transform to a more customer-centric model.
“Insurance industry is no exception. The traditional boundaries and limitations that once defined the sector are shifting thus giving us the unique opportunity to reshape, rethink and redefine the future of insurance sector.
“It is, therefore, a very good thing for us as we are at the transition stage into technology investment methodology from a mere infrastructure driven approach with value driven model.
“Over the last few years, we have witnessed remarkable changes from the adoption of Artificial Intelligence for underwriting and claims, processing and use of big data analystics for risk assessment.
“It is clear that technology is not just an enabler any longer but a catalyst for growth, efficiency and improved customer experience.
“Our goal for 2023 and beyond for Nigerian insurance space, should be to fully harness the benefits of our technology investment and make insurance increasingly agile, innovation and customer-centric,” Ashade said.
Mr Ayokunle Olubunmi, the Head, Financial Institutions Ratings at Agusto and Co, tasked the insurance industry to embrace technology to increase the retail market noting that insurance penetration was still very low.
Olubunmi noted that the industry was highly conservative in technology adoption.
“Technology is seen as important and not necessary with focus on corporate clients,” he said.
Olubunmi spoke on the topic: “The Role of Technology in Taking the Insurance Industry to the Next Phase.”