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Christo Davel | Embrace digital and maintain good governance

Christo Davel | Embrace digital and maintain good governance
03-07-24 / Chris Smit

Johannesburg - The digital revolution has transformed countless industries, and the insurance sector is no exception. As client expectations evolve and technology advances, insurers must embrace digital transformation to be competitive and deliver the services that modern consumers demand. This transformation is not just about adopting new technologies. It's also about fundamentally reshaping the way insurers operate and interact with their clients, ultimately leading to enhanced client experiences and streamlined operations.

‘We have been on a digital journey that has seen us launch 18 digital solutions across 6 channels in the past 4 years. This commitment to being digital-1st and 1st in digital has been a catalyst for transforming our operations and improving our client experience,’ says Christo Davel, Head of Client Enablement at Nedbank Insurance.

‘One of our key milestones was the launch of our insurance widget and our always-on static offers on the Nedbank Money app, which have made it easier for our clients to access our products and services with just a few clicks on their mobile devices,’ Davel explains. The response from clients and the industry has been overwhelmingly positive, with a substantial increase in client engagement and sales across our solutions. For example, since 2020 we have seen an exponential growth in sales of digital policies – having increased from just over 27 000 to more than 320 000 sold last year. 

According to Davel the success achieved is a good example of how the rise of digital – and particularly digital self-service tools – stands to be a game-changer in the insurance industry, enabling clients to access their policies, submit claims, and receive support anytime, anywhere. These tools offer the convenience of 24/7 access from any location, allowing clients to interact with their insurance providers through various communication methods, such as SMSs, digital platforms, mobile applications, emails and push notifications. By integrating digital experiences across client journey touchpoints, insurers have an opportunity to eliminate the need for their clients to repeatedly submit the same time-consuming information, thereby removing a pain point that has historically been a major source of frustration for their clients.

Data analytics is stacking up to be another game changer in the insurance industry, revolutionising the way insurers assess risk and make decisions. Explaining how data is a catalyst, Davel says, ‘as an insurer within a bank, we at Nedbank Insurance are already harnessing this advantage by leveraging vast amounts of data from various sources to gain deep insights into our clients, their behaviours, their needs and, of course, their risk potential. Our vision is to keep building on our understanding of these data-based metrics to massively optimise our claims and management processes. Data will also enable sophisticated fraud detection methods and move insurers past the 1-size-fits-all approach to pricing that still pervades the industry and create dynamic pricing models designed for individual client needs instead.’

While Nedbank Insurance recognises the immense potential that digitisation offers the industry, it remains acutely aware of the imperative to balance evolution with stability. ‘So, as we continue to expand our digital capabilities, we deliberately focus on ensuring that our growth is sustainable, never interferes with our commitment to put our clients first, and always aligns with our strong governance framework. We believe that this is an approach that needs to be central to all insurers as they develop their digital capabilities,’ Davel adds. A robust control environment and stable, stress-tested governance frameworks not only keep us honest, but they are also very effective enablers of change, supporting the achievement of strategic objectives while managing risks and protecting clients.

‘By embedding governance in our commercial goals, maintaining a positive risk culture, and facilitating positive regulatory engagement, we believe that we can achieve our digital objectives in a responsible and compliant manner,’ Davel says.

To thrive in this digital age, insurers must adapt their operating models as well as their products and core processes to the new reality. They will have to let go of entrenched ways of work and embrace new innovative ways to design and distribute fundamentally different products from the traditional commoditised insurance offerings. The insurers that will win in the coming years are those that can harness the power of technology effectively while maintaining a client-centred approach underpinned by tried and tested governance frameworks. Nedbank Insurance is determined to be among those winners.

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