EHIOROBO, OSA ABRAHAM (Ph.D)
Organisational Resource Capabilities and Value Chain Management for Competitive Advantage in the Nigerian Insurance Industry
My doctoral thesis is titled “Organisational Resource Capabilities and Value Chain Management for Competitive Advantage in the Nigerian Insurance Industry”. The research focused on strategies to improve the performance of the rather docile insurance industry in Nigeria which has failed to perform the strategic role insurance plays in the financial sector of market economies. In Nigeria, the insurance sector is grossly underdeveloped and underperforming. The companies are unable to transform available resources into distinctive capabilities to improve their competitiveness. They mostly rely on government patronage and compulsory insurance to thrive. Poor resource management; failure to develop the market and capture the vast majority of the rural majority and urban poor into the insurance net; dearth of skilled manpower to underwrite lucrative oil and gas, aviation and marine insurance; low level of capitalisation resulting in loss of most lucrative businesses to foreign competitors and claims default and avoidance have all combined to make the industry a poor and unattractive sector. For a country with estimated population of 206 million people with just about 3 million people having insurance policy of some sort, leaves an insurance gap of over 98 percent which is abysmally poor. The industry also lags behind its peers in terms of technology adoption and deployment. For instance, artificial intelligence which is the new game changer in every industry, including insurance, is unknown to Nigerian insurers. My research focused on finding creative solutions to these challenges in order to have a viable insurance industry in Nigeria that is capable of playing its financial intermediation role and risk hedging for entrepreneurs to create businesses and employment for rapid economic transformation.
Challenges: Like every research effort, the uncooperative attitude of some companies and individuals remain a vital challenge that may not be easy to overcome due to attitudinal problems and our value systems as a people. Our attitude towards research and value for mundane and non-value-adding choices are major societal issues. Financing research is crucial for national development but most Nigerian corporate organisations would rather apply their funds to appease the government in power or sponsor irrelevant decadent programmes than fund research in institutions of learning.
Experiences: Research is an interesting undertaking that requires full dedication, hard work, passion and sacrifice. There are a number of obstacles that will attempt to derail your progress but with dogged determination, you will surely achieve your goal. One major experience is that your social life must give way to your academic pursuit if you really want to make an impact as a researcher.
A major lesson I learnt is that with focused determination and unflinching belief in yourself and your ability to deliver, you can achieve anything in life. Nobody knows your research better than you. Some reviewers will attempt to mislead you but stick to your own belief and ideas, listen to your supervisors, filter what others say to separate the wheat from the chaff and you will surely succeed.
Way Forward: Believe in yourself. Don’t play to the gallery by doing what every other person is doing. Let your research focus on solving an identifiable societal problem and be focused in whatever you do.