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Customer satisfaction crucial to insurance growth, say experts

With insurance penetration and contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) still at an abysmally low level, experts believe the only way out for operators to achieve growth is to ensure offering optimum customer satisfaction to the insuring public, OMOBOLA TOLU-KUSIMO and FAVOUR OBIEMEKA report
 
FINDING solution to low insurance penetration and poor premium generation of the insurance industry, arising from poor perception among the insuring populace, has remained germane to stakeholders in the industry, The Nation has learnt.
The Nigerian Insurance Digest 2017 published by the Nigeria Insurance Association (NIA) showed that the total industry premium income grew from N268 billion in 2013 to N294 billion 2014, N313 billion in 2015, N316 billion in 2016, and N365 billion in 2017. This translates to one per cent of the Nigerian population that have insurance policy, with an estimated 0.30 per cent contribution to Nigerian economy.
Experts said this performance is abysmally low compared to what is obtainable in other climes. Due to this poor performance, insurance operators and regulators seem to have agreed that creating and sustaining positive customers experience is key to insurance growth in Nigeria.
Stakeholders at the 2019 Insurance Consumers Forum organised by Almond Productions Limited in Lagos, however, reiterated the need for operators and regulators to satisfy customers not just by meeting their needs but by taking them to a place of delight.
Insurance and Health Management Consultant, Dr. Sarafadeen Adebayo Raji, who was a guest speaker at the forum while speaking on the theme: Creating and Sustaining Positive Customers Experience Is The Key To Insurance Growth In Nigeria, said insurance is relevant in our society today as it plays vital role in the management of individual, household, organisation and government risk exposures.
He stated that the Nigeria insurance sector is an important component of the Nigerian economy as it provides covers to the insuring public. He noted that although the premium income shows a progressive increase in the industry’s total premium income from 2013 to 2017, only an estimated policyholder of between 1.5 million to two million were insured out of a population of about 200 million people in the country.
He pointed out that the Nigerian insurance market is one of the largest not only in sub-Sahara Africa but Africa as a whole. He said: “With only an estimated policyholder of between 1.5 million to two million, translating to one per cent of the Nigerian population with insurance policies. Also it is estimated that Nigerian insurance industry contributes 0.30 per cent to the Nigerian economy, which is abysmally low compared to what is obtainable in other climes. Equally, growth in the industry is mainly driven by inflation while the industry struggles to gain only marginal expansion in real terms. This crawling growth requires urgent attention of the stakeholders in insurance especially in the area of achieving appreciable growth in real terms in the years ahead by creating and sustaining positive customer experience as a critical factor for insurance growth in Nigeria.
“In today’s rapidly changing environment, the most successful companies are those that put their customers at the centre of their strategy and treat the experiences being delivered as a critical business function. Organisations with leading customer experiences decline less in the downturns and bounce back faster when the economic cycle improves. By defining the ideal customer experience, building a sustainable process and leveraging new technologies, companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and position them for growth”.
He added that while concerted efforts at creating and sustaining positive customer experience in order to increase insurance growth in Nigeria is commendable, other factors can be co-joined to further improve the industry growth.
“Other factors that can be co-joined to further improve the industry growth include the establishment of insurance industry based research and development centre; implementation of compulsory insurance policies; regulatory intervention; and government interest in insurance.
“The aim of sustaining positive customer experience is to optimise the customer experience through gaining the loyalty of the current customers in a multi-channel environment and ensure they are completely satisfied. Furthermore, to also create advocates of their current customers with potential customers as a word of mouth form of marketing.
The chairman of the event and Managing Director/CEO, Integrated Resources, Mr. GUS Wiggle, added that insurance currently contributes less to the nation’s GDP. He said operators in the industry would need to move faster to fully adopt and change to the digital world. He urged consumers to insist on good service and getting value for their money.
Managing Director, FBN General Insurance Limited, Bode Opadokun, said insurance is beneficial to the economy. He said that currently the level of penetration is on the increase, noting that they have realised the need to design products that meet the need of customers and have been doing so.
He urged his colleagues to continue to listen to customers as they remain king.
 
 








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