Shared infrastructure will help insurance industry drive retail market – Niger MD

The nation’s insurance industry quest to develop the retail market for better penetration would be more successful if there are collaborations for shared infrastructure, expert has said.
This also would not only enhance speed of development, it would impact on cost management, expertise as well as increased consumer confidence, Kola Adedeji managing director/CEO, Niger Insurance plc said in an interview with BusinessDay.

The Niger boss, who identified retail business as the way to go in increasing access to insurance particularly in the grassroot said because of evolving technology and dynamism of insurance and financial services sector consumerism, coming together as an industry and investing on high capacity tech’s would be more cost effective.
It ‘s not as if all of us independently are not investing in technology, but doing that as group would enable us manage cost, and get the best technology that is available, he said.
“The Corporate market is getting saturated, so retail is the way to go if we must deepen penetration and achieve the expected growth”
Insurance is about large numbers, where from the pool of funds contributed by many, a proportion that would be affected are indemnified, which according to Adedeji underscores why mass population must be brought into coverage.
According to him, technology would help in premium collection and even empower customers to directly deal with the insurers, and genuine intermediaries directly from their mobile phones and online platforms for proper accountability and safety.
Adedeji who said Niger insurance policies can be purchased and sold via its portal, disclosed the insurance company was already at advanced stage in sealing partnership agreement with top telco’s to drive further its reach into the grassroots.
This must be accompanied with personal line products that will be tailor made and appealing to the customers, he said.
“We are developing new products targeting the retail customers. We have been in research and a numbers of products have been developed and as soon as we secure approval on them we will roll out.
We want to ensure that products put out there have extensive life span, stating that occasions where new products are thrown out of the shelf after a five-year period is not worth it, and this we are working hard to avoid.
On consumer response to the fluctuating economic environment, Adedeji said this is a big challenge to insurance purchase given that people are pushed to concentrate mostly on basic necessities.
The disposable income in the hands of people are very little, so they have focused on meeting their priorities according to order of preference and, you know is insurance would be largely affected.
On performance of the industry in the first quarter of 2015, Adedeji noted that the transition to new government and its activities occupied major half of the year could with the dwindling oil revenue as well as the foreign exchange rate.
All of these joined to affect business activities, and worsened by non payment of salaries by most states.
What we did as company was to ensure we retain and sustain existing relationships with our customers by ensuring we offer them good services. At least, if you cannot win new relationships you try not to lose the once you already have, Adedeji noted.
Source: Businessday