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Life Insurance business records steady growth in Kenya        By News point Correspondent
Life Insurance business in Kenya has tremendously surged with the industry making over sh.16 billion in a record of six years from 2011, Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) has announced.
Making the revelations during this year’s AKI Agents of the year Awards (AAYA), AKI Chairman Mr. Mark Obuya said they have enjoyed steady growth over the years rising from a paltry Ksh. 14.54 billion in 2007 to Ksh. 30.93 billion in 2011.
He noted that the total premium income and contributions from all the classes on life insurance business in the year 2011 was Ksh.30.93 billion.
AAYA which celebrates its 10th year is held to recognize the exemplary performance of the top life agents in the industry and to motivate them to achieve greater productivity through increased volume and quality of business sold.
The event has contributed greatly to the growth of life insurance business.
The occasion hosted at Safari park Hotel in Kenyan capital city of Nairobi was presided over by African multi investor Chris Kirubi, who challenged the body to change the name of the event from ‘Agents of the Year Awards’ to ‘Partners of the Year Awards.
Kirubi whose name prominently featured in the Forbes Magazine amongst the richest individuals in Africa, noted the name agent was demining and lacked inspiration.
AKI chairman, Mr. Obuya urged Kenyan insurance industry to cast its net wider and aggressively use social media and technology to enhance overall growth of the sector.
Themed ‘’Setting the pace: transforming life insurance,’’ this year’s awards saw 417 agents quality, five less than 2011.
This year’s call is to aggressively increase life insurance penetration.
Kenya has untapped potential target market for Micro-insurance of up to 11 million people, this according to study dubbed Kenya micro insurance landscape and conducted by the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cefri).
The Association takes cognizance of the fact that the uptake of Life insurance in the country is below what it ought to be.
‘’Time has come for the industry to aggressively campaign and educate the populace on the importance of taking up life insurance,’’ said Mr. Obuya.
AKI Executive Director Mr.Tom Gichuhi advised the agents to tap into the youth as they form a greater market potential for the industry.
He observed that the ground is fertile for trade and that Kenya is relatively ICT conversant and therefore, ripe for the communication of available products and services.
‘’Kenya has been very successful in the diffusion of mobile technologies but we still have room for more innovation,’’ he added.
The AAYA awards are aimed at incentivizing agents to explore the non-traditional selling techniques to boost insurance intake.
Kenya has 47 licensed insurance companies, and 4,576 registered agents
Mr. Gichuhi said the insurance industry could ride on innovation and technology ratchet up its profit.
He added that there is need to increase insurance penetration from the present 3 percent by embracing information technology, research and product innovation to reach the untapped insurance market and celebrate growth.
Several players in the insurance industry have already blazed the trail by embracing non-conventional insurance channels such as Saccos, microfinance institutions, banc assurance, e-commerce, community based organizations and premium remittance through mobile money transfer platforms.
A recent research on potential insurance distribution channels by AKI recommended regulatory amendments to allow the use of alternative methods of selling insurance such as National Hospital Insurance Fund, (NHIF), churches and self help groups to enhance uptake and lower operating costs.
Product pricing and high administrative costs of offering micro insurance have smothered the development of micro-insurance and overall insurance penetration.

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