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The future of insurance business in Africa

The speakers at the summit entitled “The Future of Life Insurance in Africa” have covered topics ranging from the Prospects for Growth, The Changing Customer, Operation Efficiency, Local economic Conditions as some of the key themes impacting the African Insurance Landscape.

KPMG Head of Insurance in South Africa and Africa, Gerdus Dixon gave the overview of the life insurance markert in South Africa based on their 2014 Insurance Survey report.

Dixon said KPMG have launched the survey to look at the impacts of digital technology on the industry.

The survey indicates that with arrival of smartphones and tablets, customers are increasingly expecting to have instant access to services wherever, however and whenever they want. With this in mind, insurers will have to start exploring the growing impact of using new technological platforms to communicate with customers, cater to evolving buying behaviours.

According to the survey, in africa, the mobile penetration is slightly less, at an estimated 69% and internet usage is sitting at a low 16%. cognisance should be taken of the fact that africa accounts for the highest growth in mobile network penetration and internet usage, with a growth rate of 4% and 25%, respectively, from 2013.

These digital channels provide insurers with new ways to reach the customer. smartphone and social media usage is increasing exponentially worldwide, which has opened the door for insurers to increase the number of customers they can reach. This can be done by expanding transactional platforms and paving the way for a new ‘social crM’ (customer relationship Management)  which offers insurers another way to enhance their customer experience and branding propositions by creating a platform for customers to provide instantaneous feedback, instead of waiting for customer surveys. Overall insurers should see digitisation as an access point for supporting overall customer experience, rather than just viewing it as another sales channel.

He said the emergence of a digitally connected world has brought with it a buzz around big data and analytics and it has great potential to help organisations to drive competitive advantage. The truth is that winning in today’s markets requires organisations to analyse large volumes of data, uncover hidden patterns and unknown correlations in order to garner accurate customer insights and determine the right course of action to take.

In the insurance sector, companies are increasingly using data collected from telematics devices or social media to know their customers better and thus increase revenue through avenues such as effective marketing, accurate risk profiling that results in better premium calculation and the provision of personalised solutions at affordable prices to customers.

The challenge however is that most of the data is unstructured and requires advanced analytics in order to unearth meaningful insights and provide the capacity for the organisation to change direction at short notice.

Donald Makhafola

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