In this interview with NIKE POPOOLA, the Managing Director, Wapic Insurance Plc, Mrs Yinka Adekoya, speaks on why there should be confidence in the insurance sector
Why is the value of insurance not well recognised?
Until the unforeseen happens and a remittance is required, the importance of holding an insurance policy hardly crosses anyone’s mind. With a cover at hand, the burden of searching for a bailout is lightened by the possibility of making claims on the insurer, but a greater heartbreak occurs when the insured does not get reprieve for their held policy.
The disillusionment and agony suffered by policyholders in situations like this have impaired the reputation of insurance industry across the world, especially in Africa, with Nigeria being a reference point because of the size of its economy, and general expectation about what the industry should be doing in the available landscape of opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, distrust and disbelief are some of the dominant feelings of the customers towards insurance companies and their offerings. Even though some instances of unsettled claims are attributable to ‘process issues and technicalities’, clients procured policies to cover them in the rainy days when emergencies rear their ugly heads and do not expect succour.
Why are there still claims issue in the industry?
Most players in the insurance sector do notsee the available opportunities in removing the barriers between policyholders and access to claims, but continue to rue the poor fortune compared to that of its first cousin, banking, where technological transformations and customers’ pain-points analysis have boosted process efficiency and made services not just desirable, but more enjoyable through quality experience.
Amidst this gloom, there is an emergent star in Wapic Insurance Plc, shining brightly to provide the long-sought illumination for the insurance industry. For insurance, clients in Nigeria, the 60-year old insurer has become the perfect example of the intervention expected from an insurance company since commencement of its transformation agenda.
With the articulation of a strategic directionfor the company, its new owners and management, boasting history of accomplishments’ in the financial services sector including banking, identified for resolution a number of legacy issues, amongst which claims settlement was utmost. As a result of this effort, claims pay-out has risen progressively to N10.6bn. Resolution of some outstanding and disputed claims became possible with a record sum of N2.13bn paid as claims in 2013.
What are you doing to boost confidence of people in insurance?
The issues at Wapic Insurance upon our arrival were reflective of the general problems facing the insurance sector in Nigeria, but motivated by our transformation objectives.We carried out a diagnosis of the situation and discovered that a huge barrier sprouts between insurance companies and policyholders soon after insurance policies are purchased. This situation might not be createdknowingly, but it is the reality of what non-human-centred organisational processes have created and the misunderstanding that ensued from inadequate engagement with insurance customers. Regrettably, policyholders experience anguish when the need to extract benefits of their contracts with insurance companies arise. However, there seems to be a reawakening in the industry that has put customer satisfaction and service experience at the heart of the revolution.
As the signpost for service excellence in the insurance industry, Wapic’s quest for restoration of industry reputation has yielded significant benefits after a year of a rigorous process review and extensive claims audit. The exercise, undertaken to provide succour to insuranceclients and set the practice on a world-class standard manifested in the progressive growth in the company’s paid claims, from N1.63bn in 2015, N2.86bn in 2016 to N3.06bn in 2017. This growth is a valid testament to the company’s commitment to value creation and exemplary customer experience role.
How are you driving growth with digital revolution?
With its recent digital revolution culminating in acquisition of a new core operating system and iPortal’, the interface between the company and its customers will become more effectual with latent phenomenal influence on claims settlement process. This is predicated on the envisaged similarities between the impact of this strategic corporate undertaking and the effects online real-time systems have on the banking sector.
The insurance application, which is configured to ensure that interactions with Wapic Insurance is most enjoyable and reinforces the company’s status as the most resourceful underwriter in the industry, is suggestively the beginning of digital revolution in the Nigerian insurance sector. By this, Wapic insurance has again successfully played its industry-confidence restoration role through new service paradigm hinged on innovation, empathy and operational efficiency
How is your financial performance?
In the financial year ended December 31, 2017, Wapic Insurance’s post-tax profit grew to N1.5bn from N586m, which is 161 per cent increase over the previous year’s figure. This excellent performance cuts-across the entire business lines, resulting in9.9 per cent total revenue growth, from N12.4bn to N13.6bn; and 22.5 per cent increase in gross written premium, from N8bn to N9.8bn.
Impressively, the efficiency of the company’s operations, which delivered remarkable financial performance, also manifested in other critical growth indices. A review of this record performance that signposts Wapic Insurance’s steady but certain ascension to industry leadership showed that total assets increased by 10.4 per cent, from N25.90bn to N28.60bn.