African insurance should embrace technology – Oyetunji

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Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund

Insurance companies should be innovative, embrace technology and create products that are suitable for the average African.  Hence insurance companies need to consolidate and move away from the business as usual notion and adopt technology as one of the key driving forces to reach the masses in Africa.

This is according Dr Femi Oyetunji, the managing director of Continental Reinsurance, one of the largest insurance companies operating in Africa.

Oyetunji was speaking to New Era during the opening of the African Continental CEO summit currently underway in Swakopmund.  The summit is being attended by 21 delegates from the insurance sector in Africa and is being hosted by Namibia for the first time ever. The delegates are to discuss how technology can transform the insurance industry in Africa.

Oyetunji says the insurance industry in Africa is not fully optimising technology, and some companies have not moved from entrepreneurial business to full-blown business organisations.

“I don’t think as an industry we are embracing technology at a level that we should be able to make money or fully penetrate Africa for that matter.  We are missing out as an industry, simply because our focus is in the wrong place.  We focus more on corporate insurance and neglect individual insurance,” he said.
He added that insurance service providers should also cater for the general average earning African by focusing on individual needs instead of collective insurance operations.

“I do believe that we need technology to innovate and reach the general population. Insurance is financial management and a lot of people out there are not protected and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are.

 However, we can only do that by capitalising on technology as more and more people do business, and also focus on packages that suits the individual person,” he explained.

Also speaking at the event, the CEO of Google Kenya, Charles Murito, said businesses such as the insurance industry need to capitalise on the digital transformation in the insurance sector as more and more people have moved from the normal way of doing business and rely on the internet to access info.

He feels the insurance industry should make use of such platforms to help drive acquisition, retention and the servicing of claims.

“Insurance companies need to become fluid, seamless and assistive by using technology to enhance their operations and provide better effective and efficient services,” said the Kenyan senior executive.
Caption (Oyetunji):
Dr Femi Oyetunji, the MD of Continental Reinsurance

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