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Insurer startups get mentorship boost from IRA

BUSINESS
By Correspondent | June 24th 2021

IRA Chief Executive Godfrey Kiptum (left) and Prudential CEO Gwen Kinisu. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Three local startups have received Sh1.25 million each in cash awards from an innovation hub steered by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), in collaboration with Prudential Life Assurance Kenya and partners, to promote inclusivity.

The startups were recognised for their ability to ease access to insurance in underserved markets through the use of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and telematics.

IRA’s innovation hub in partnership with Prudential, UK-Kenya Tech Hub, Tellistic and the UK Department for International Trade launched the Bima Lab Accelerator Programme to help innovators refine their value proposition and commercial viability.

It will also assist them to provide opportunities to scale up their solutions through partnerships and participation in the IRA sandbox. Winning participants get financial reward to support the growth of their solution.

IRA Chief Executive Godfrey Kiptum said the accelerator programme would help to promote financial inclusion, given the low uptake of insurance products in Kenya, currently at 2.34 per cent. “Many Kenyans believe they are not insurable, but with these innovative products, we hope to insure more Kenyans,” said Kiptum.

Prudential Life Assurance Kenya Chief Executive Gwen Kinisu said the company was keen on helping early and growth-stage insurance technology startups to help achieve financial inclusion.

Twenty startup firms participated in the first incubation programme. Eight of them were shortlisted for an intensive six-week training and mentorship programme.

AiCare, Chamasure and Sprout Insure demonstrated innovation, growth and scalability in their offering. This qualified them to receive financial support from Prudential and the opportunity to participate in the IRA sandbox. 

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