AfricaLive: Please tell readers a bit about the DNA of RegencyNem and your motivation for starting the enterprise.
Bode Oseni: We are all about technology at our core. Ours is a company that incorporates technology at every level to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. In this COVID-19 era, we are consuming ICT more than ever.
Technology not only provides convenience and comfort but also creates state of the art insurance ecosystems that help us stay ahead of the curve.
We are always keen to update our technology and onboard new infrastructure while identifying gaps and filling them. The pandemic has confirmed what we have known for some time when it comes to technology. The remote work conditions of our time are a precursor for a technology boom that will be seen and felt well into the future.
AfricaLive: The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area will be going ahead in early 2021, hopefully acting as a catalyst for driving Intra-African trade. What are your ambitions, both in the short term and long term, when it comes to trading internationally?
Bode Oseni: Our strength in specialised oil and gas insurance leads us to markets with pronounced oil and gas industries. We want to be able to participate in West African, East African, as well as Central African oil and gas industries. Africa is an emerging market and there are opportunities all over the continent.
AfricaLive: The oil and gas industry in Ghana is still a nascent industry. How can the insurance industry in the country help this key sector realise its full potential?
Bode Oseni: Ghana’s oil and gas sector will benefit and is benefitting from learning about the experiences of countries that have been in the game for a long time. Nigeria can be a great case study for us and we can draw from their successes and avoid their mistakes. We must develop capacity and prepare for the needs of an even larger population. Ghana’s industry is already attracting major world players like Mobil, and ENI with more expected to come in soon. We have to be ready to support companies that want to do well in the sector, and help them compete with the world’s best.
AfricaLive: Within Ghana and West Africa, what do you consider to be the primary opportunities and threats facing your sector?
Bode Oseni: The industry is growing steadily, but I acknowledge that penetration is still very low at less than 2 per cent. We must think of how we can boost this to about 5 per cent very soon. The National Insurance Commission has been in the frontlines of a campaign that seeks to improve penetration and see to it that more is done. A draft bill to be debated in parliament will bring in changes that will fast track insurance penetration if the bill is passed.
Compulsory insurance packages like professional indemnity for some categories like medical insurance, worker life insurance, and other packages will help our industry see a boom. The sub-region which boasts of hundreds of millions of people is full of promise for our industry. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a scaling opportunity for insurance firms like us. Industries and companies that will do well under an AfCFTA setup are the ones that leverage technology properly to offer superior services.
AfricaLive: What efforts are you making when it comes to improving penetration in your sector?
Bode Oseni: Education is the most important thing for us. Continuous learning is the key because insurance is a wide area and we have diversified competencies within the sector. Education through social media campaigns and strategic collaborations is a key part of our agenda. Partnerships with companies that have strong backing in the grassroots help us make our outreach more powerful. It’s always wise to use brands that locals are already familiar with.
AfricaLive: Ghana has a local content policy that most indigenous entrepreneurs claim is not being enforced strictly enough. In your opinion, how can a balance between a strict local content policy and a suitable environment for investors be struck?
Bode Oseni: As much as we want to build local giants, we must admit that we need some foreign investment. We must incorporate foreign technology and knowhow, to stay updated with the rest of the world. Collaboration in terms of skills transference, technology, and finance will ensure great co-existence between indigenous and foreign companies.
AfricaLive: If you were to bring together Ghana’s leaders from government, higher education, and business to a roundtable meeting held at your HQ – what would be the main item on your agenda?
Bode Oseni: I would be most interested in speaking to the Ghana Investment and Promotion Centre (GIPC). I believe the body and all the other stakeholders must put in a lot of work to ensure Ghana gains immensely from the AfCFTA agreement. As the headquarters of the AfCFTA agreement, Ghana must ensure that all bases are covered to ensure that it competes favourably within the sub-region and beyond.
AfricaLive: What is the main message you would like to communicate regarding your company and regarding Ghana?
Bode Oseni: In the medium term, we have plans to set up robust succession plans that will outlive the current leadership and go into the next generation and future generations after. Our long term plan is to be amongst the top three all-time insurance firms in Ghana. We have to set ourselves from the crowd in terms of market capitalisation, service delivery, and customer experience. We want to be a company that inspires investors to come in.