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Africa’s insurance industry has only about 3 percent subscription penetration across the continent compared to the telecoms sector, which has over 72 percent subscription penetration in Africa.

This is because most insurance companies have not fully evolved from the traditional means of doing business to integrated modernization and innovation in their products.

During one of the panel discussions at the 2021 Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) tagged “Insurance: how to (finally) win over African consumers,” the speakers emphasized the need for insurers to understand that customers have evolved and are more open to digitalizes products.

“For insurance to work in Africa, we need to have an understanding of our society and how it is working,” said Corneille Karekezi, Group MD/CEO, African Reinsurance Corporation (AFRICA RE) Group.

Emphasizing the need to educate people on financial literacy and the integration of technology, Souleymane Gning, Directeur Général, Assuraf spoke about the need to educate people and show them the benefits of insurance. “Insurers need to engage the use of technology to reach the masses,” Gning said.

Despite a 7.5 percent year-on-year increase since 2015 in countries belonging to the Federation of African National Insurance Companies (FANAF), these successes have been short-lived. This is partly because while many still lack an adequate understanding of what an insurance plan is, the sector is also struggling to woo customers. As tech-driven startups are winning the heart of the African market with innovative and affordable products, most insurance companies still approach the fast-evolving market with methods and less innovative plans. Hence, the need to develop civilized ways to approach the customer with innovative products.

“Customers have evolved very quickly in Africa. They are engaging with Telecoms and not us. We need to engage with them in a more civilised manner. We need to open up and ensure that people can engage with us.”

-Rashidat Adebisi, Chief Client Officer, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc.

Another set of challenges discussed during the session include poverty and financial literacy. A large number of the world’s most impoverished population are found in Africa. This means that many Africans are unlikely to be able to afford an insurance package. According to a World Bank report, high population growth between 1990 and 2015 caused the number of poor people in Africa to increase from 278 million in 1990 to 413 million in 2015. The bank also forecasted poverty to rise in the continent from 55 percent in 2015 to 90 percent in 2030.

“More than half of the population in our region are below the poverty line and cannot afford insurance. We should integrate insurance into the products that the population is consuming more,” said Souleymane Gning.

Some important measures that could facilitate the growth of Africa’s insurance include a transformed digital economy, new innovative products, and industry consolidation. The panelists also stressed that the adoption of these measures could cause an influx of customers to the sector. Players from digital and tech-driven sectors have succeeded in captivating the minds of a vast majority of the African population due to the rise in the use of mobile phones on the continent.

“Our competitions are not other insurance companies but the Ubers and tech startups. The speed at which insurers would provide smart and innovative products to consumers would determine growth in the industry,” said Junior Ngulube, Former Vice-Chairman (2020), Sanlam Pan Africa.

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Emirates airline on Wednesday said it was in talks with Nigerian government a week after the carrier announced that flights from the African country would remain suspended until March 20.

“Emirates remains in close dialogue with the relevant regulators and authorities in Nigeria and we are fully committed to making progress on a resolution to ensure the continuation and expansion of our operations,” an airline spokesperson told Gulf News.

“Our highest priority continues to be the health and safety of our customers, employees, and the communities we serve both in Nigeria and across our network,” the spokesperson added.

Last week, Emirates said that flights from South Africa and Nigeria will remain suspended until March 20, in line with government directives that restrict the entry of travellers from these two countries in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entry restrictions for passengers originating from or transiting through both these countries were earlier in force till March 10.

“Customers from both Abuja and Lagos will not be accepted for travel prior to or including this date. Passengers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not allowed entry into the UAE, whether terminating their journey in or connecting through Dubai,” the airline said in a statement earlier.

The mother of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) Spokesman, Peter Aghahowa, Mrs. Alice Aghahowa had passed on at aged 88

Late Mrs. Alice Aghahowa passed on to be with the Lord on Saturday, March 6, 2021. She was aged 88 years old and survived by four children, 12 grand children and great grand children.

The Chairman, National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents (NAIPCO), Chuks Udo Okonta, on behalf of members of the association, sent a heart felt condolence to the Aghahowa family and prayed God to grant the deceased an eternal rest.