By Nicholas Francis, Chief Marketing Officer at Bryte
The COVID-19 life cycle is one that is very difficult to predict. With no manual at our disposal, 2020 was a year where instinct prevailed and decisive action was the order of the day. Difficult decisions continue to be made to balance saving lives with sustaining livelihoods.
As we move forward, here’s some elements to consider, so our successes far outweigh the limitations in 2021.
1. Unseen, but a dominant threat
Despite the overwhelming challenge that surrounds us all, it is commendable how many have swiftly and successfully taken to remote working. Technology has truly been our saving grace – in more ways than we can count. It’s:
- Empowered businesses to service customer needs, uninterrupted
- Made it possible for so many to continue earning an income
- Enabled us to remain connected to people, stay informed of developments across the globe and remain entertained – and sane
But, naturally, there are pros and cons to everything.
More people continuing to work remotely – accessing sensitive data over vulnerable VPNs – or using their own devices is inevitably leaving businesses more exposed. The growth of the Cybercrime industry has been even more rapid. We can expect to see many more instances of minor to large- scale cyber breaches occurring into the future; according to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime could be $6 trillion by 2021. To put this into perspective, this is more than the GDP of the third-largest economy in the world, Japan.
Our industry must partner with business to ensure enhanced vigilance and good cyber hygiene. Businesses must prioritise the implementation and enforcement of robust cybersecurity protocols, guidelines, company policies, practices, etc. Doing so will also be an enabling factor in realising the potential of the digital economy, which according to the e-Conomy Africa 2020 report, could add up to 5.2% to Africa’s GDP by 2025.
2. Seeking connections
By nature, we are social creatures. The restrictions, stemming from efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic, will continue to take a toll on most. So, reconnecting with customers – not just face to face – will be even more important but equally complex. For our industry, it is vital to ensure greater brand visibility, more customer touchpoints, enhancing product and service relevance and going beyond your value proposition to support customers along their risk journey. Keeping this focus will be instrumental in building trust, loyalty and mutual, business success.
With unemployment rates at record high levels, we are likely to see a surge in home-grown businesses. Just as the short-term insurance industry has done with tech businesses like Airbnb and Uber, we will need to continue evolving risk management approaches to address the needs of changing as well as new business models. The industry has an enabling role to play in effectively understanding the unique risks these emerging businesses may face, devising solutions tailored to sustainably respond to their needs and acting as a catalyst in their progressive growth.
4. Prevent rather than cure
Since the onset of the pandemic, so many businesses have experienced elevated levels of financial distress and any further losses could have devastating effects. Greater prudence and risk prevention will come into sharper focus to maintain resilience and reduce exposure. The emphasis on pre-empting needs of businesses within this context and fast-tracking/making accessible innovation to avoid incidents, must be an ongoing one.
The value of technologies with real-time monitoring or early warning systems in helping prevent building fires, geyser bursts and pipe leaks and of telematics in detecting issues with motor vehicles is tremendous. With the right risk identification tools in place, businesses are able to safeguard themselves from significant financial losses or worse, an incident resulting in the loss of precious lives. A firm emphasis on addressing exposures before these pose a threat is imperative.
The insurance industry has a critical role to play in economic resilience through continued innovation, strategic partnerships, robust risk mitigation insights and solutions that focus on holistic exposure management. This must be done in a considered and sustainable manner one that keeps the customer’s business at the forefront.