It’s Time to Forget Insurance Bureaucracies

Today's frontrunner insurers have the obligation to address the gaps relating to low insurance penetration rate across Africa while fixing a constellation of problems that come with.

Can insurance be fun and dynamic already?

Insurance service providers are having to revamp their organisational culture in a bid to catch-up with the brisk pace of the modern insurance customer. Burdened with the realisation that they need to operate more like nimble tech companies instead of being weighed down by bureaucracies and legacy systems.

Ashok Shah, Group CEO of Apollo Insurance points out that the age of the digital insurance consumer has arrived. It is a moment to help close the gaps left by the low penetration rate of insurance across Africa, fix the challenges of high dependency on intermediaries, address the problems of lengthy unautomated processes and the complexities and unawareness of insurance products.

While delivering a keynote address during the East Africa InsureTech Forum 2020 themed Harnessing Innovation for Customer-Driven Insurance, Shah laid emphasis on the need for the insurance industry to observe that Africa had no choice but to drastically pace-up with policy change while speeding up digital adoption. Shah noted that the industry’s development and market penetration, particularly in general insurance, remains extremely low by international standards, and continues to be retarded by a mix of forces.

The key to delivering quality insurance service, he posited, stems from effectiveness, ease, and emotion, which typically inclines to the combination of digital and human access. “In today’s highly competitive marketplace, delivering best-in-class customer experiences is more important than ever,” asserted Shah adding that, “In our industry, that means making insurance significantly easier to buy and fun to own. When you think about it, historically, that has not been the case. The life insurance buying process, for instance, has been cumbersome and long.”

As it were, more insurers are adopting and contending with a world influenced by Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), or the Internet of Things (IoT). In their quest for adopting and using digital channels, more insurers are deploying robotics or blockchain. Shah noted that it was a step in the right direction. To improve the sector, industry players need to consider a plethora of digital products and services with an ecosystem of partners, an omnichannel customer experience, advanced analytics, and automated operations.

Getting to this level of service delivery calls for the insurer to start by simply finding a vendor with a proven insurance-industry track record. One who can help conquer discreet challenges, said Shah, adding that smart targeted change tends to be a better approach. “Forget about the big bang overhaul all at once. It is advisable to target minimal viable projects (MVP) and iterate to get bigger.”

He noted that empowering bridge builders can be done by outsourcing teams of specialists driving cloud-native solutions can quickly and transfer expertise. In this regard, competent coders can pricelessly collaborate well with the whole company and help insurance organisations get ideas out of the IT trenches and into strategic meetings where they belonged.

“Stimulating a digital revolution within an organisation requires forethought, planning, networking, and disciplined execution. The digital leader needs to understand what they are up against, where the pitfalls lie and how to best achieve the organisation’s objectives with the people and assets at their disposal.” In this journey of change, one needs to target conspicuous wins early, be mindful of budgets all the while cultivating the support of business leaders.

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