Chief Executive Officer of Allianz Group, Coenraad Vrolijk, has assured insurance policyholders that the issue of fraud relating to payment of claims and low penetration in the Nigerian market will soon be a thing of the past.
He disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos to announce the completion of the acquisition of 99.03 per cent of Nigerian insurance firm, Ensure Insurance Plc by Allianz Group.
He stated that the fears of policyholders that trust would be broken when premiums or claims are to be paid are real because many policyholders have indeed been victims of malpractices perpetrated by major players in the industry.
Vrolijk, who is the Regional CEO of Allianz Africa, blamed this on some major players in the industry who obviously lack the robust financials needed to insure customers against risks, thereby breaking the trust reposed in them in the long run.
He said: “We had clearly identified Nigeria as a high-potential market in Africa with a strong regulatory environment and interesting demographics. We are delighted to penetrate this fast growing market through the acquisition of a solid financial player with a strong local expertise. Couple with Allianz’s underwriting capacity and service delivery, the combined group will be able to provide the highest quality of products and services to Nigeria customers in both personal and commercial lines. We trust that our combined group will help support the Nigerian economy and grow the local insurance market.”
“There is a very little insurance distribution in Nigeria. I am contrasting Nigeria with South Africa, Ghana and Kenya where insurance distribution is very high because they are more sophisticated than Nigeria. It is also because the players in the Nigerian industry are few to compare with the huge population, and many of these players are still struggling to pay claims because of financial constraints. As a result, there is a lot of cheating in the system leading to lack of trust by customers.”
According to him, another major reason there is low insurance penetration in Nigeria is because Nigeria has not leveraged on the presence of mobile network operators to drive the industry, and that efforts are being geared towards making digital insurance a reality in Nigeria.
He added that new products, especially those that have worked in other 17 African countries where Allianz Group is a major player, would be introduced to the Nigerian market to spice things up for customers.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Ensure Insurance Plc, Sunkanmi Adekeye, who was excited about the acquisition, stated that a new dawn and a new way of doing things had begun for policyholders who will have nothing to worry about over issues pertaining to payment of claims as at when due when proper verification exercise has been carried out.
Executive Director (Distribution and Strategy) of Ensure Insurance Plc, Owolabi Salami, said that the presence of a global brand like Allianz Group in Nigeria was indeed a good signal that things were taking a new turn for the industry, policyholders and the economy.
He said: “The consummation of this acquisition will be highly beneficial to our business and improve our service platform to our valued clients. We are excited to harness the depth of technical competence that Allianz has acquired over years of experience garnered through serving clients in various sectors. We are confident that this will position us for leadership in the local operating environment.”
Salami added: “We are in a market bedeviled by risk-cutting syndrome. But we have done well as an insurer of choice. The value proposition we are taking to the market will definitely set us apart.”
Meanwhile, he revealed that talks are ongoing between Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and major players in the industry to make digital insurance a reality in Nigeria.