L-R: Deputy President, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mrs Ekeoma Ezeibe; President, Association Of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN), Mr. Kazeem Odewunmi and Susie Onwuka of .Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) at the IPEN Insurance and Pension Roundtable 2023 in in Lagos,

The need to make Insurance Customer-Centric and understanding seamless, for prospective policy holders, was Thursday, the consensus amongst insurance stakeholders at a one-day conference organised by Insurance & Pension Editors of Nigeria (IPEN) in Lagos.

The stakeholders who cut across Regulators, Insurance/Pension Operators, Insurance Agents, and Advocacy groups, further hold that, making deliberate effort in bridging the knowledge gap and creating the needed awareness, is key to the industry in contributing meaningfully to the country’s GDP.

In attendance at the IPEN Roundtable 2023, whose theme centres on ‘Consumer Satisfaction – Key to Insurance and Pension Sectors Growth’ are the President Nigerian Council, Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), Mr. Tunde Oguntade, the Director, Centre for Pension Rights Advocacy (CPRA), Mr. Takor Ivor, EVC/CEO, Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, represented by Mrs. Susie Onwuka, MD/ CEO Crusadersterling Pension Limited, Mr. Rotimi Adebiyi.

Others are, MD International Energy Insurance, Mr. Olasupo Sogelola, National President, Association if Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria, Mr. Kazeem Olakunle Odewunmi and MD/CEO Heirs Life Assurance.

The stakeholders who agreed that the insurance industry needed overhauling in its approach in doing it’s businesses, informed specifically that, only 52 insurance firms are extremely viable in the domestic economy, just as they expressed worry that the country has less than two million Policy holders, hence it’s contributions to GDP hovering around 0.2%.

Speaking during a panel session, Mrs. Susie Onwuka, who spoke from the stand point of the consumer protection commission, said most of the complaints received by the commission, from insurance policy holders, bothers mostly on lack of adequate disclosure from insurance companies, on policies sold to would be clients.

According to her, “what is presented to the consumers is usually different from what the policy being sold actually is”.

Mrs. Onwuka, who called on players in the industry to urgently address the knowledge gap in the insurance space, noted that, there is need for retraining of insurance agents, most of who, do not have full understanding of the Policy they are met to market.

Onwuka who adviced that the industry needs to do more to win over customers, said “bureaucracy in accessing claims is cumbersome. Rigidity of policy, and non compensation for policy holders, whom had paid their premiums for years, but failed to conclude the duration of his/her policy, amongst others brings discredit to the industry “, she added.

Earlier in his keynote address, Mr. Takor Ivor, EVC/CEO, Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission, said
Consumer satisfaction is also a measure of how well a company’s product, services and overall consumer experience meet consumer expectations.

According to him, “It reflects a company’s business health by showing how well the company’s products or services resonate with buyers.

“One thing that is certain in consumer satisfaction is that when consumers are satisfied, business will boom.

In the digital age we are now, consumers extensively research for products across various platforms., from user reviews to influencer insights. They meticulously compare options before making purchasing decisions. However, winning loyalty of consumers especially in the pension industry, goes beyond providing the services imposed on Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) in the Pension Reform Act 2014. Same goes for insurance companies. It demands more.

‘Now is the right time for leaders in both insurance and pension industries to rethink, redefine and transform what their teams deliver and how this is delivered.

“Transforming service delivery models will improve inside-led decisions making, so that insurers and PFAs can exploit market opportunities in a strategic, safe and informed way. Building an inclusive culture for service delivery has to be deliberate

Modern consumers, seek brands that actively listen and appreciate them. Neglecting this aspect risk loyalty loss to competitors. For the PFAs, the transfer window has been opened and Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) are transferring their accounts from one PFA to another.

He reiterated that, Insurance policyholders have grown to expect the same simple, seamless and positive interactions with their insurers that they experience with every other aspects of their lives, noting that, if those expectations are not met they will quickly move on. “The stakes of consumers loyalty and retention are high in the insurance industry as they are in the pension industry.

“In the pension industry, consumer satisfaction should mean that every telephone call, every email and website visit, of every consumer will have the potential to inform and influence the way the company improve what it does and how. In the insurance industry, keeping policyholders happy is no longer a nice to have, but a need to have”, he added.