By Jackson Okoth
The firm’s gross underwritten premium increased by 23 per cent from Sh2.74 billion to Sh3.36 billion while investment income grew by 40 per cent to Sh979 million on the back of strong earnings from its property segment. “Penetration in the industry remains low at three per cent indicating a lot of untapped potential,” said Nelius Kariuki, Kenya Re board chairman at an investor briefing to announce the corporation’s half year results yesterday.
“We have seen the listing of CIC insurance, growth of micro-insurance and products for the agricultural sector and payments through the mobile phone as well as Takaful – a Muslim product, all signs of growth in the local insurance industry.”
The sale of a sports complex at Nairobi’s South C area, a non-strategic asset, saw the corporation increase its rental income with its investment portfolio increasing by 21 per cent to 16.7 billion. It earned the corporation Sh310 million. In keeping with changing pace of local insurance business, Kenya Re is planning to introduce a sharia window, to reinsure Muslim products already in the market.
The corporation has also cast its eyes on the oil and natural gas market. This follows recent discoveries of oil deposits in northern Kenya.
“While the oil and gas market is intricate and complex, still dominated by reinsurance companies from Europe or North America, we are already equipping local underwriters on how to manage risk and claims in this sector,” said Jadiah Mwarania, the managing director.
Exposures in the oil and gas business are estimated to be huge with all the drilling and installations, currently taking place, insured and reinsured by companies abroad.
“We need to create a vehicle that will enable us get involved in this business and keep what we can,” said Mwarania. Kenya Re has also cast its eye across markets in Africa, Middle East and Asia in a plan to widen its income streams.