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Focused on making impactful strides towards enhancing financial inclusion and driving economic resilience, the Insurance Development Forum’s (IDF) Inclusive Insurance Working Group (IIWG) is spearheading a transformative initiative in Kenya in partnership with international organisations, local regulators, and insurance businesses.
The IDF, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme’s Insurance and Risk Financing Facility, the World Bank Group’s Global Index Insurance Facility and the Microinsurance Network, is committed to partnering with the Kenyan insurance sector and regulator to work towards a future of inclusivity, innovation, and sustainable growth. The first Kenya Country Workshop was held in September 2022 in a hybrid format, with 100 attendants both in-person in Nairobi and virtually, on 28 and 29 September 2022.
The Strategy of the IIWG consists of establishing a Country Task Force in each focus country, bringing together the players working in the inclusive space, in order to assess the gaps and opportunities and design a roadmap of activities, with a list of projects that could be supported by IDF members in order to achieve a determined level of scale.
A Glimpse into Kenya’s Thriving Economy and Market Landscape
Kenya, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, has emerged as a fertile ground for entrepreneurship and technological advancement. With an annual GDP growth averaging 4.8% from 2015 to 2019, the nation is well-poised for socio-economic development and increased financial inclusion. As the country charts a path to achieve its Vision 2030 objectives, including universal healthcare and financial security, the role of insurance becomes paramount.
While Kenya’s burgeoning market offers immense opportunities, its insurance penetration rate has been a cause for concern, dropping from a peak of 2.9% in 2014 to a mere 2.3% currently, with slight increases since 2020, according to data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority and the Association of Kenyan Insurers.
Pioneering a Collaborative Approach: The Kenya Country Workshop
In pursuit of catalysing change and fostering a resilient insurance ecosystem, the IIWG convened the first Kenya Country Workshop. This event brought together over a hundred industry stakeholders, regulators, insurers, distributors, and development organisations. The workshop served as a dynamic platform to gather insights, perspectives, and experiences from local players within the insurance landscape. Through robust discussions and collaborative sessions, participants shed light on challenges, opportunities, and innovative solutions in the realm of inclusive insurance.
Mapping the Path: A Comprehensive Country Roadmap
The collective wisdom and insights gleaned from the Kenya Country Workshop have culminated in a comprehensive Country Roadmap, laying out a strategic framework for inclusive insurance in Kenya.
This landmark achievement underscores the power of collaboration, shared goals, and knowledge exchange in driving meaningful change. The roadmap comprises five distinct work streams that will collectively contribute to breaking down barriers to inclusive insurance, fostering local capacity, and promoting innovative new insurance products and schemes.
Workstreams and Key Objectives
Technical Assistance: Secure funding and technical support to pilot and scale solutions across risk segments. This includes the establishment of a digital microinsurance distribution platform and embracing the potential of Open Finance framework.
Smallholder Farmers: Develop comprehensive coverages for Smallholder Farmers, bundling health, life, and pension products with existing agricultural schemes. Leverage established rural points of contact for distribution, fostering collaboration and innovation.
MSMEs: Expand insurance offerings for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), focusing on climate-related events and new distribution channels. Enhance product development, distribution, and partnerships to cater to diverse business needs.
Regulation: Undertake a review of certain aspects of the regulatory framework, raised by local market players, to unlock the potential of inclusive insurance. Advocate for reforms that align with market needs, promoting flexibility, consumer protection, and innovation.
Insurance Education: Develop an industry-led Insurance Education Programme, in collaboration with relevant bodies, to enhance financial literacy, promote insurance comprehension, and empower consumers.
Workshop attendee, Saurabh Sharma, Director of Emerging Consumers at Britam Holdings Plc, said:
“The IDF Kenya forum presented a remarkable opportunity to catalyse inclusive insurance growth in Kenya by fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among diverse industry stakeholders.
This is particularly pertinent given the ongoing climate emergency in the region, impacting over 5.4 million Kenyans through devastating droughts and localised floods. Despite this vulnerability, the country lacks the local capacity and expertise required to tailor effective climate risk solutions. In this context, the IDF’s role in leveraging expertise and support from international organisations becomes pivotal.
Three key sectors are bearing the brunt of the climate emergency and necessitate insurance-backed adaptive measures. Firstly, the agriculture and allied sector, affecting farmers and pastoralists grappling with adverse weather conditions. Secondly, the country’s rich biodiversity, encompassing wildlife and flora, which also constitutes a significant economic resource. Thirdly, the energy sector, including renewables like hydro energy, is adversely impacted by persistent drought conditions.
International organisations have a crucial role to play in devising climate adaptation solutions for these sectors. The initial phase involves knowledge transfer to bolster local capacity. Subsequently, concurrent with the knowledge transfer, there’s a need for support in risk modelling and technical product design. Finally, implementation support in the form of premium subsidies and awareness campaigns can invigorate the local climate insurance landscape.”
A Vision for a Resilient Future: Looking Ahead
One of the primary objectives of the workshop was to address the protection gap that exists among various segments of the population. By bringing together industry experts and regulators, the workshop sought to identify avenues for bridging this gap, ensuring that a wider cross-section of Kenyan citizens can access essential insurance services.
A significant metric of success will be the expansion of the number of people covered by insurance. The workshop aimed to devise strategies that would result in more Kenyans benefiting from insurance coverage, thereby enhancing their financial security and resilience. Microinsurance plays a vital role in providing affordable coverage to individuals with limited resources. The workshop also explored ways to increase access to microlevel insurance products, making them more readily available and comprehensible to the masses. By streamlining processes and exploring innovative technologies, the workshop aimed to uncover efficiencies and distribution strategies that reduce the operational costs of providing coverage, ultimately leading to more affordable insurance options.
At the same time, swift and seamless claims payouts are recognised as essential to ensure that policyholders can promptly recover from unforeseen events. The workshop aimed to devise mechanisms to expedite claims processing and payouts, minimising the financial burden on policyholders during challenging times.
Attendees at the workshop also discussed measures to bolster the competitiveness of private insurance markets, fostering healthy competition that drives innovation, improved services, and delivers benefits to consumers by offering a wider array of choices.
While the inaugural Kenyan Inclusive Insurance Workshop yielded promising outcomes, the journey towards a more inclusive and efficient insurance landscape is ongoing. The envisioned next steps include:
Regulation and Insurance Education: The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Kenya (IRA) is poised to play a pivotal role in driving the implementation of the workshop’s outcomes. Discussions are underway to partner with the IRA as the lead in the efforts related to regulation and insurance education, ensuring a conducive environment for the growth of inclusive insurance practices.
Collaborative Initiatives: Stakeholders from both the public and private sectors will collaborate to implement the identified strategies. By fostering partnerships and leveraging collective expertise, these initiatives will gain momentum and have a more significant impact.
Technological Integration: Embracing technology will be key to realising the outlined objectives. The integration of digital platforms, data analytics, and mobile solutions will enhance the accessibility and efficiency of insurance services, particularly for remote and underserved populations.
Research and Innovation: Continuous research and innovation will drive the evolution of insurance practices in Kenya. By staying attuned to emerging trends and harnessing innovative approaches, the industry can adapt and cater to the changing needs of the population.
A significant milestone
Pedro Pinheiro, the coordinator of the IDF Inclusive Insurance Working Group, said:
“The first Kenyan Inclusive Insurance Workshop marked a significant milestone in the journey towards a more inclusive, accessible, and effective insurance landscape. The workshop’s target outcomes, including reducing protection gaps, expanding coverage, and enhancing cost-effectiveness, set the stage for transformative changes. As the insurance industry, regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders work in harmony, the future holds the promise of a more resilient and financially secure Kenya, where insurance services are readily available to all.
This initiative goes beyond revolutionising the insurance landscape; it’s about embracing an ecosystem approach, fostering sustainable local capacity, and unlocking the power of shared knowledge and alignment between public, private and development sectors. Kenya’s inclusive insurance sector is at the precipice of remarkable change, and our collective efforts are propelling us towards a future marked by inclusivity, innovation, and resilience. Thank you to everyone who took part in the first Kenya Country Workshop, and continue to develop the country roadmap.”
Workshop attendee Ashok Shah, CEO of APA Insurance and Apollo Investment, provided the below key takeaways on growing the acceptance of Inclusive Insurance in Kenya:
Inclusive Insurance – growing its acceptance
Kenya faces challenges in building an inclusive insurance roadmap due to low insurance penetration, particularly among the rural and low-income populations. Little or no awareness, affordability issues, and lack of suitable insurance solutions hinder uptake. The informal economy and a lack of financial literacy make it difficult to engage these groups effectively. Regulatory barriers and complex compliance requirements deter insurers from offering accessible solutions. Opportunities are there, climate-related risks, such as droughts and floods which pose a significant threat, have succeeded with tailored insurance solutions e.g Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII) and Kenya Livestock Insurance Program (KLIP).
Potential Opportunities for Inclusive Insurance success:
Kenya’s mobile money infrastructure, suitably utilised, presents a golden opportunity for inclusive insurance. Fintech innovation, including pay-as-you-go and peer-to-peer insurance models, caters to diverse needs. Collaborations between insurers, Government, NGOs, and microfinance institutions can expand reach and promote insurance literacy. Regulatory support, including simplified compliance and encouragement of innovation, will bolster the sector. Climate-resilient insurance solutions have already safeguarded livelihoods and economic stability. All we need to do is to focus on the successes.
Call to Action:
- Boost nationwide financial education campaigns to demystify insurance and highlight its benefits,
- Foster Innovation by encouraging insurers & insurtechs to create tailored, accessible solutions,
- implementation of the simplified regulations and underwriting requirements for microinsurance,
- Leverage mobile platforms for distribution, premium payments and claims, ensuring easy accessibility.
- Address Climate Risks: Popularise already existing climate related insurance solutions, securing funding from willing partners to grow the awareness.
Note: This Implementation Update is based on the insights, discussions, and outcomes of the Kenya Country Workshop held on 28 and 29 September 2022. It reflects the collaborative efforts of diverse stakeholders and underscores the commitment of the Insurance Development Forum and its partners to advance the cause of inclusive insurance in Kenya and beyond.
25th September, 2023