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Airtel in partnership to offer Kenyas' life insurance

By By WINSLEY MASESE | October 2nd 2013


Kenyans can now take life covers from as little as Sh15 a week, as part of the latest efforts to grow insurance penetration, currently standing at only 3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This follows the launch of Bima Mkononi on Tuesday by Airtel money, Pan Africa Life and MicroEnsure.

The partnership will enable Airtel Money customers to access affordable life insurance via their mobile phones. Pan Africa Life will underwrite the product, while MicroEnsure will perform customer service and administration.

Speaking at the launch Pan Africa Life Chief Executive Tom Gitogo said the latest effort would help improve penetration of life insurance, which stands at 1.05 per cent.

“The traditional models of distribution are not efficient hence the need to use mobile insurance, bancassurance and web-based selling,” he said. He added that the partnership would see subscribers have the flexibility they need based on the amount of premium and frequency of payment.

On his part, Airtel Kenya Managing director Shivan Bhargava said the partnership would offer their subscribers an opportunity to take life insurance covers.

“We are committed to entering strategic partnerships that meet the ever-changing needs of our subscribers,” he said.

During the launch of the product at a Nairobi Hotel, yesterday, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) Chief Executive Sammy Makove challenged life insurance providers to explore means to avail the cover to Kenyans.

“Life insurance is low and that does not augur well for the economy anchored in Vision2030,” he said.

Makove observed that total contribution from life insurance in Kenya is a third of insurance, decrying that this is low for the country to develop satisfactorily.

“In developed countries, life insurance covers about two-thirds of the total insurance industry and the insurance providers have to explore ways to drive the growth in the sector, he disclosed.

Innovative products

Makove said that Kenyans are still looking for insurance products with an element of saving in it, hence the need to innovate products to take that need.

“Kenyans still shy away from buying say funeral policy, thinking that it’s like condemning one to death, which should not be the case,” he said. Makove noted that Kenyans could save a lot of time and direct it to other core activities instead of meeting to raise funds to cover funeral expenses.

He underscored the changing life styles hence the need for Kenyans to align themselves towards that. Under the Bima Mkononi  cover, Airtel money subscribers have four options. In the first case, subscribers can send Sh15 weekly for a Sh50,000. The second category one to send Sh25 weekly towards a Sh100,000 cover. In the third, one can pay Sh35 per week for Sh150,000 cover  and lastly one can pay Sh45 per week for the ultimate cover of Sh200,000.

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