#IMT2022: Ola Williams Speaks on How Big Data Can Disrupt Insurance Sector in Nigeria  

Big data is becoming a buzzword, but it is a reality we are in today. We keep exchanging and interacting with data, sending signals across multiple applications every day, every time and every hour. Insurance can’t scale without this.

Data has become a source of wealth and power. Organisations that have data have a lot of power in their hands.

In the context of conversation today, data has become a key disruptive factor that organisations leverage to gain competitive advantage.

Ola Williams, the Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, made further submissions while speaking at Insurance Meets Tech Conference held on Thursday, September 29 2022 in Lagos:

Combined with cloud and innovation, data can actually be a game changer in any business and much more so, in insurance today. 

When we look at leveraging the cloud, cloud drives data innovation and gives organisations the ability to gain a lot of insight that would otherwise not be visible to the ordinary eyes.

When you put your data in an aggregated manner, with the right tools, it would give you detailed reporting of what data signifies.

Ola Williams speaking during a fireside chat with Odion Aleobua, the convener #IMT2022

Taking insurance in a literal context

Insurance is the transfer of risk from one entity to another. That means the insurer collects data from the insured, people that have different products with you. That gives you a lot of insights about the behaviours and preferences of your customers. 

So leveraging big data to see the pattern in which an organisation or individual is gaining claims can help you to customise products and services that are relevant to that organisation.

We can leverage data to:

  • Gain competitive advantage;
  • Provide differentiated offerings to customers
  • Engage customers in a more meaningful way that is relevant to them, etc

With all the possibilities, why is there still very slow adoption of insurance?

There are different factors:

  1. Regulatory factor

When we look at regulation from a vicinity point of view, then that limits our ability to drive creativity and innovation.

But when you look at innovation from the point of view of how we ensure that we are taking the right steps, the right resources and the right processes to ensure that the capabilities we have today will be able to leverage them effectively, that is a strategy that organisations need to look at.

How do we continue to innovate even within the guidelines of the regulatory authorities and policies in place?

#IMT2022: Ola Williams Speaks on How Big Data Can Disrupt Insurance Sector in Nigeria
Ola Williams speaking at #IMT2022
  1. Access to technology 

We see access to technology not only in terms of purchasing power, but also, when technology is deployed within the organisation, that is not the end, we have to look at culture, people and processes.

When we have technology without the right people in place, the right culture to adopt the technology and the right processes within the organisation, then that would reduce the ability for the organisation to leverage technology.

For example, an organisation invests a lot of money into technology and they are not seeing results, the issue is not that the technology is not working but probably and most times, the commensurate culture, processes and procedures to make sure that the technology works and ensure the benefits of the business, are not in alignment.

  1. Access to talent 

There’s the need to have the right skillset within the organisation that would help to ensure that technology investment is put to good use.

Talent is not just having brilliant set of people, there’s the need for organisations to be deliberate about skilling and re-skilling because technology also evolves and moves at a high speed.

To see the results of technology, the right talent should be attracted and a proper plan put in place to ensure that talents are skilled regularly to adequately utilise the technology investment within the organisation.

When we talk about regulation, regulators and how much we adopt technology, which do you prefer: a retrofit or disruption?

There’s no magic bullet actually, it’s really different from scenarios and the phase that an organisation is in adopting technology. There are organisations that are just starting, it depends on the trends and the drivers within the industry. 

We see some insurance companies that are investing in insurtech now because they need a place to compete with borne-in-the-cloud competition, and we see insurance companies that are just waiting to see how it goes.

So, for insurance companies that are borne in the cloud, they are just disruptive, that’s a distraction but for organisations that have legacy solutions, legacy customer engagement, policies, procedures and regulations, they need to have a blend of disruptive approach as well as retrofit because you don’t want to destroy what you already have. It’s a journey and we need to take on that journey.

It’s important to partner with organisations like Microsoft because we have what we call industry cloud. Today we are invested heavily in bringing in people with industry expertise into our organisation.

Based on our experience working with multiple organisations within the financial services sector where there’s insurance, banking and others, we have worked with several cloud owners and programs. So it is important to have a partner that will work with you to scale your organization and not bring it down.

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