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Virtual i Technologies Gathered the Insurance Industry Leaders in Africa to Discuss the Transition to Digitalization

Virtual i Technologies hosted the event ‘Navigating Transition to Digital – Can You Cope?’ gathering the insurance industry leaders to discuss the future of the industry on the continent and the readiness of technology adoption.

Africa is the second fastest-growing insurance market in the world*

The risk of a major disruptor making serious inroads in the African insurance market is a threat never far from the minds of insurance CEOs across the continent. Africa Ahead and Virtual i Technologies hosted a closed-door round table with industry leaders who discussed the pain-points, the issues and the opportunities emerging from increased digitalisation of the sector. 

The participant lineup was impressive, encompassing key opinion leaders of African insurance ecosystem and covering 9 countries:

  • Adetola Adegbayi, Executive Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited (Nigeria)
  • Alexio Manyonde, Chief Information Officer of ZepRe (Kenya)
  • Bruno Nalletamby, Project Lead and Marine Specialist of SWAN (Mauritius)
  • Chabala Lumbwe, CEO of Madison General Insurance Company (Zambia)
  • Clement Owusu, Director (Technical) of WaicaRe (Ghana)
  • Dziki Nganunu, CEO of Bryte (Botswana)
  • Lawrence Nazare, Group Chief Executive Officer of Continental Reinsurance  (Nigeria/pan continent)
  • Mikir Shah, CEO of AsrRe (UK)
  • Paul Kavuma, CEO of Uganda Insurers Association (Uganda)
  • Rose Wanda, Secretary General of OESAI (Kenya)

A recent projection of McKinsey & Company places the African insurance market’s growth at approximately twice the rate of North America, more than three times the rate of Europe, and slightly higher than Asia’s 6 percent growth rate. What is more spectacular is that the pandemic delayed slightly, but DID NOT ALTER Africa’s insurance growth pattern. And the good side of the pandemic was that it accelerated the shift toward digital and remote platforms. 

The above was also the conclusion of the round table hosted today, as the participants expressed both concerns of lack of staff efficiency and low volumes of risk inspections on the continent, and the readiness of key markets to consider digitalization in the near future. Excerpts from the opinions of each participant are presented below.

A next round table, to continue the talk towards concrete technologies that could respond to the needs of the insurance market in Africa, is to take place at the beginning of autumn, with a similar impressive lineup expected.

Lawrence Nazare,  Group CEO of Continental Reinsurance highlighted the need for data accuracy for competitive pricing in the insurance industry. He emphasized his beliefs on proper risk selection, underwriting and pricing, which would be done with technology in the near future. “We are doing much less risk inspections right now as compared to when we joined the market. Yet I believe that these prohibitive costs & time resources will become affordable with technology implementation.”, he added.

Chabala Lumbwe, CEO of Madison General Insurance Company put the highlight of price consciousness from the consumer perspective. To answer the market need for preferable pricing, he added of finding ways to reduce costs. He shared his insight, with his respectful experience in the industry, about the transformation of underwriting as “The important thing is we’ve lost the plot in terms of underwriting skill. Because now you’re just doing desk underwriting, you just figures come on your desk, you look at it and you, you just pray to God that nothing happens. It’s very very difficult.”

As Rosa Wanda, Secretary General of OESAI, mentioned there should be beneficial ways to gather the data all around and generate insight for all networks of colleagues, i.e. members of associations like OESAI among others.

According to the report published by McKinsey & Company, Africa is the second fastest growing region for insurance. Despite that, the battle with the Covid-19 in Africa has been shaking the industry to find creative new ways for survival and keep the pace up again. The report also supports the worldwide digitalisation trends that keeps new opportunities to both insurers and customers. This means that we need to find new ways of doing business in the insurance ecosystem. 

Founder and CEO of Virtual i Technologies, Veysel Sinan Geylani: “Throughout my humble experience in the insurance industry as a Chief Underwriting Officer within global markets, including Africa, I believe that bringing experience with technology is the solution of our common sense need for change. With that in mind, I founded Virtual i out of the need of seeing the risk in Yemen while I was operating as a Chief Underwriting Officer in Dubai. It was the time being there or finding anyone to go to the risk space for the inspection was impossible. I refused to renew the policy without seeing the risk and started Virtual i to change the paradigm of good-faith to data-driven understanding in the insurance industry. Today, we are honored to host leading institutions and corporations in Africa around the vision of redefining the insurance industry for the good of all the ecosystem.”

Research Source:“Africa’s insurance market is set for takeoff”, McKinsey & Company 







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