Business

Digital age: ‘Underwriters catching up with e-payments’

  • Insurance no exception to revolution—CIIN boss

 

As the global business community goes digital by imbibing techonological innovations, Nigeria’s insurance industry is also tagging along in its deliveries, including gradual fading out of cheques in its payment system.

 

Cheque usage, which was the fad among corporate organisations and individuals in the past, started witnessing a rapid decline with the introduction of different payment channels that are electronically enabled.

 

Disclosing the position of Nigerian underwriting sector during the 2021 Insurance Professional Forum with the theme: “The Nigerian Insurance Industry in the Digital Age” the Chairman, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mr. Ganiyu Musa, said most operators in the industry had migrated from making payments with cheques to doing so through electronic channels.

 

He said although subsisting economic challenges were still taking a toll on the country and business concerns, the insurance industry was, however, catching up with digital and digitalisation processes.

 

According to him, the insurance industry has not been left out in the electronic transfer process. Although some operators are still making use of cheques, some others have long imbibed electronic payment, and the ones still issuing cheques are, however, catching up and ready to change soon.

 

The forum, organised by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) annually in Abeokuta, Ogun State, is meant to bring together top operators in the industry to discuss topical issues as they relate to underwriting business in Nigeria.

 

In his opening remark, the President/ Chairman of Council, CIIN, Sir Muftau Oyegunle, said the theme brought to the operators’ doorsteps, a topic that would define the insurance industry of today and the future.

 

 

He said the “digital era is here and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a large role in its evolution. More organisations are embracing the idea of a single microchip processing multiple functions. The future that Artificial Intelligence promises for insurance is a series of touchless processes from premium collection through to the entire claims process.

 

“Insurance is no exception to this revolution, with numerous startups, as well as IT and insurance giants massively investing and offering increasingly innovative new solutions. It is now imperative for market stakeholders to be at the cutting edge of technology and to equip themselves with the appropriate tools required for performance.

 

“The purpose of insurance is to enable risk-taking, support economic growth, encourage innovation and ultimately to enhance the resilience of society and the economy.

 

Insurance plays an important role in helping to address modern society’s greatest challenges, such as cyber risks, the effects of technology changes and societal changes driven by demographic trends.

 

Digital technology – technological advances, and the availability of new data sourcesis bringing about change in the insurance industry and reconfiguring the competitive landscape.”

He pointed out that the increasing use of data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things (IoT), for instance, was expanding the role of data in the insurance business model, adding that technological advances wiould allow for more efficient and effective risk mitigation and prevention, and  enable the development of powerful business models.

 

According to him, “big data is all around us, ready to be harnessed and put to use. As an industry, how should we be leveraging technology to simplify data analytics in order to make pricing premiums more accurate, enhance self-servicing of customers, tweak sales practices in line with customer needs to save time and improve profits, endear the profession to policyholders, maximise overall performance and launch the industry into the future?

 

“These are questions we must be able to answer before leaving Abeokuta on Saturday morning. Importantly, Artificial Intelligence has never been less expensive or inaccessible, which means most companies have no reason not to adopt it in at least some form.

 

The golden question now arises, what is the role of the modern day insurance professional as this evolution plays out and what will be your role as professionals when this evolution attains its full cycle? How will you stay relevant in an Artificial Intelligence driven society? This is something worth pondering about.”

 

He observed that any professional that wants to remain relevant must see the opportunities in the threats posed by this digital era, stressing that the relevance of the younger generation in this era of Artificial Intelligence had been brought to the fore by the institute.

 

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