By Dhahabu Writer
Financial experts are challenging insurers to invest in research, innovation and create healthy consumer relationships in order to overcome low insurance penetration.
Speaking during this year’s Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) Agents of the Year Awards (AAYA), Uchumi Supermarket chief executive, Julius Kipng’etich, asked insurance companies to boost awareness among the untapped insurance market and utilize their insights to explore make counterpart.
“In any business relationship both customers and traders will always consider value for money and brand reputation as the most important factors. Others factors include trust and clear communication channels,” said Dr Kipng’etich.
Out of the total 280 qualifies of this year’s AAYA awards, 55 per cent were ladies, a clear indication that the insurance industry offers fair employment platform with women performing better than their counterparts.
“Insurers have to understand what customers are looking at for satisfaction in a bid to increase the country’s penetration and the general outlook of the economy,” he said.
Dr Kipng’etich said that long-term market success begins with stronger and deeper customer relationships with all products, operations and investments evaluated in terms of their impacts on customers.
“Life insurance helps people accumulate wealth, protect its value over the years, convert it into lifetime income and transfer it to future generations. Insurers should also create platforms where Kenyans will understand Life insurers also plays a key role in meeting the growing needs for retirement savings and guarantee income,” said Dr Kipng’etich.
“Insurers must take stock of which and how consumers have been ‘orphaned’ and whether ‘alumni’ customers can be won back to enjoy new services in the industry that also favor their interests,” he added.
AKI Chairman, Justus Mutiga, challenged members to take more responsibility for all customer relationships by understanding precisely what different customers prefer in all phases of their relationship.
Life Insurance not only provides for financial support to the beneficiaries in the event of the untimely death of the insured, but also acts as a long term investment. It enables a Policyholder meet his/her goals such as children’s education, marriage, building homes or planning for relaxed retirement.
Life insurance also plays a major role of mobilizing Long-term savings thus contributing immensely to the country’s infrastructures and economic development.
“As AKI we will continue to work closely with all players in the sector to boost the growth of the industry sector and ensure better service delivery that results in job creation and secure economic growth,” said Mr Mutiga.
The annual AAYA Awards is divided into four groups; New Business Award, Persistency award, Youngest Agent and Company Award. This is to recognize Life Insurance companies under writing Group Life class of business in line with industry best practice. It brings together insurance industry stakeholders to celebrate the achievements of the Life Insurance in the country.
Insurance industry remains a pillar of the country’s blue print project Vision 2030 with the sector in 2014 contributing gross written premium worth Sh157 billion as compared to Sh131 billion in 2013 representing an increase of 20.3 per cent. Life Insurance premiums increased from Sh44.01 billion in 2013 to Sh56.97 billion in 2014, an increase of 29.4 per cent. Many countries in the world can only dream of achieving such a growth in one year.
The AKI, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) and Ernst and Young (EY) sector reports released this year showed that insurance industry was growing and has great potential making it the envy of many players in other African countries. The industry has attracted many foreign investors in the recent months leading to several mergers of insurance companies and acquisitions in the industry.
The insurance penetration in 2014 was about three per cent above many countries in Africa a clear indication of the growth opportunities ahead in the industry.