A two-day international conference for Insurance players concluded in Mombasa with calls to identify strategies to revamp the sector dominating the sessions.
The insurance players were drawn from the larger East African region and met under the aegis of the Insurance Brokers Association of Kenya.
Themed Transforming the Insurance Ecosystem: Championing Customer Centric Change, the conference, saw industry players formulate strategies that will task all players across the insurance value chain with responsibilities aimed at increasing the uptake of insurance products thus affecting penetration in Kenya and across the region.
The conference also acted as a platform for distinguished experts and resource persons, as well as major industry players to network, share experiences and resolve the issues that the industry is going through.
Issues discussed ranged from maximizing information fluency in the age of IT, advanced technology, satisfying an increasingly demanding and sophisticated consumer, and fraud.
According to the AIBK National Chairman, Mr. Nelson Omolo, these challenges, coupled with unfavorable legislation and disruptive forces, continue to stifle the growth of the sector as well as progressively diminish the brokerage market.
“In partnership with the regulator, our association has embarked on capacity development with a focus on technological advances. We are aiming at a fundamental transformation of our operations through collaborative initiatives, which will ultimately ensure we remain relevant and continue to positively affect the uptake of insurance,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Robert Kuloba, speaking on behalf of the Commissioner of Insurance, highlighted the importance of brokers as the customers continue to be more informed and demanding.
“We need to build deeper relationship and drive highly differentiated services to the market underpinned by a relationship built on trust. We do appreciate that insurance as a concept remains quite complicated and often misunderstood. I am hopeful that the deliberations that will be arrived at today will be translated into actionable initiatives to propel the growth of the insurance industry and enhance penetration, Kuloba said.
He continued to say, “As a regulator, we will continue to engage with insurance brokers to advance issues of mutual interest with the customer being at the core.”
The participants also noted that there was lack of awareness and limited access to insurance and its products across the region hence the low penetration levels, noting that the benefits of ensuring the customer feels satisfied are yet to penetrate the economy making the conference focus particularly timely.
The conference also saw the players discuss the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2018, that is set to not only have a negative effect on the brokerage market, but also affect the insurance customer.
Insurance in Kenya plays a big role in ensuring that one of the pillars of the President’s Big Four Agenda – Universal Healthcare - is achieved. This has so far seen great strides through NHIF penetration.
“We are appreciative of the efforts the Government is making to ensure Insurance penetration is on the rise with the continued efforts to ensure NHIF penetrates to the counties,” said AIBK Conference Convenor and Board Member, Dennis Nyongesa.
He continued to say, “We are requesting the government to engage with us, as they sit down to further discuss the amendment Bill and its effects on the Brokers and the common mwananchi, as it will have a snowball effect on all the players.”
Omolo condemned the requisition of business by indicating underwriters only, terming it as criminal when the same business ends up with an agent or brokers.
“We have come to an agreement with IRA to help us weed out such malpractices and deal with those found to be complicit,'' Omollo said.
ALSO READ: Life insurers rake in Sh32 billion
“I am also recommending to our partners, the insurers, that the solution to the issues of premiums owed does not require criminalizing handling of premiums. I am proposing we work together to implement cash and carry to the letter, and treat payment of premiums like any other commodity, making it easier for our clients,'' he added.
The conference is held yearly and was attended by insurance brokers from across the East African region.