The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has suggested ways of leveraging on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to grow the potentials of the Nigerian insurance industry, which he said has not been fully harnessed.
In a press statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Victor Oluwadamilare, the Minister said this while delivering a keynote address entitled, ‘Driving Insurance Penetration With Information and Communication Technology’ he delivered at the e-Insurance Conference organised by Pinet Informatics Ltd in Lagos last week.
Shittu noted that the nation’s insurance sector, which provides support to the financial institutions has not been fully explored, saying, ”the Insurance sector despite being a major driver of business growth that provides a critical support system to the financial market has not fared well-given the current size of the Nigerian economy and population.
“Information available to me indicates that there are less than 1.5 million insurance policy holders, representing a paltry 0.9 per cent of a population of well over 170 million citizens. Similarly, the gross premium of the sector is said to be less than 500 billion naira, implying that the sector contributes less than 1 per cent to national GDP.”
Expressing confidence in the performance of the ICT sector as the fourth pillar of the Nigerian economy and a sector that recorded positive growth in 2016 in spite of the recession, he said, ICT tools could be utilised to develop innovative solutions to improve insurance practice, increase product development and expand market activities in the insurance sector.
The suggested process, according to the minister, includes improved operational efficiency (including smooth communication between clients and company officials), office automation and optimisation, digital marketing and online marketplace for assessment and purchase of insurance packages.
Shittu said in other climes, e-insurance has already been fully adopted and various insurance products can be obtained through online insurance portals, which are programmed to tailor unique insurance packages to the distinctive individual requirements of prospective customers.
Some aspects of insurance that have been adapted to e-Insurance, he added, include auto and car insurance, health insurance, home insurance and life insurance.
The minister who was delighted with the organisers of the conference promised that government will continue to introduce and drive policies that will propel Nigeria to attain the status of a knowledge-based nation.
However, Shittu said the ministry will further seek to; grow the ICT sector contribution to GDP expanding broadband infrastructure and consequently resulting in improved quality of service, continuous capacity building to create a smart public sector workforce, and use ICT tools to increase government revenues, block leakages and reduce waste, while fostering transparency and accountability.