Equity enters concentrated life insurance business

Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi at Equity Headquarters in Upperhill, Nairobi. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Equity Group has entered the life insurance business that is currently 69.9 per cent controlled by six insurers.

The financial services firm’s Equity Life Assurance Kenya, which it fully owns through Equity Group Insurance Holdings Ltd yesterday received licence from Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), to start operations.

Life Assurance Kenya Managing Director Angela Okinda promised “affordable, innovative and accessible” insurance products in a market where penetration of life insurance is below one per cent.

“Our commitment is to provide consumers with freedom and ease of access to insurance solutions, payment and placement of their insurance coverage, as well as support and advice during the life of the policy,” said Okinda.

Equity joins a concentrated market with IRA data showing that out of the 24 firms offering life insurance, six — Britam, ICEA Lion, Jubilee, Kenindia, Sanlam and CIC commanded 69.9 per cent of the market share by September 2021.

It is the market that Equity, which has for over 10 years been learning the ropes as a bancassurance agent, wants to break into, hoping to replicate what it has done in the banking sector.

Equity has a 16.05 per cent stake in Britam Group. This makes Equity the second largest investor in the insurance firm where its Group Chief Executive James Mwangi also holds a 2.97 per cent stake.

“We realised that the greatest threat to wealth creation is when disaster strikes, and the family and entities have no fallback plan except removing capital from their businesses to meet such expenses,” said Mwangi.