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Liberty Life on the age of technology

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This is the age of technology. Digital communication has permeated the entire fabric of social life. Business has not been spared either. Enterprises that will remain a going concern have no choice but to adapt. Liberty Life Botswana’s 2020 Strategy is conscious of this reality.

The insurance company strives to be a market leader in technology by continuing to launch more innovative, market leading insurance products, and increasing the quality and quantity of its omni-channel touch-points. In 2016 Liberty Online – a core insurance retail front end system through which sales agents can onboard customer information effectively and efficiently – was launched.

It can also be used similarly by the back end staff at various stages of the process. Recently, Business in a Box was launched- a ‘plug and play’ complete suite of a service especially useful in peri-urban areas, comprising of a laptop and other data capturing tools, for use by its agents remotely. These are amongst the few. Along with the rest of the world, Liberty is under no illusions about the technological future of insurance.

Last week it brought together key industry players for the 6th installment of the annual Insurance Business breakfast seminar. Greg Becker, Business Development Actuary for MunichRE and Parusha Partab, Senior Digital Strategist for Joe Public United both served as honorary guest speakers to share insurance industry insights under the theme: “Digital Disruption and the Impact of Technology on Insurance Underwriting.

”Opening the business breakfast seminar Lulu Rasebotsa, Managing Director for Liberty Life Botswana, testified of the increasing envelopment of technology in the finance industry. She acknowledged the increasing use of buzzwords such as ‘fintech’ in the industry.“InsurTech is a relatively recent buzzword in every discussion relating to digital insurance and underwriting across the world.

It is a term applied to the many segments of new technology that are disrupting the insurance space: these include technologies such as smartphone apps, consumer activity wearables, claim acceleration tools, individual consumer risk development systems, online policy handling, automated compliance processing, and more”, she expounded. She described how Liberty Life Botswana was adapting to the changing insurance landscape and the ways in which they have started adopting innovative technology, such as Business-In-Box tool, to launch market leading insurance products and increase the quality and quantity of their omni-channel touch-points.

Giving his presentation on the impact on a Healthy Lifestyle on insurance underwriting, Greg Becker outlined the various approaches that insurance companies will be likely to use in future to determine long term and short term insurance premiums. His presentation, “Fast Food and Fast Runners fitness or, just fitness trackers” explained innovative leads such as fitness tracker apps, genetics, and social media as ways in which insurance companies are now getting more information to place their clients in the right risk categories.

“People are on a spectrum- they have different underlying probabilities of claiming. Fitness tracker apps are therefore going to be revolutionary in insurance underwriting. Insurance companies are keener to cover fit/healthier people because we know they live longer. “The healthier you are the lower the risk and the lower the chance of claiming; the unhealthier you are the higher the risk and the higher the chance of claiming,” said Becker. In her presentation Parush Partab described the current technological landscape and how it is affecting the way in which humans are interacting with each other.

“The rapid progression of technology has changed our behaviour. The device in our pockets is an extension of our brains. Mobile access has fundamentally changed the way we think and it has given us voices and that is a very empowering thing”, explained Partab. She indicated that the current age of technology is disrupting a number of conventional financial models to the point that people have started participating in different ways and that through this empowerment, a powerful sense of democracy is prevailing that has never existed before.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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