Editorials

Insurance complaints an opportunity to improve

IRA

Insurance Regulatory Authority CEO Godfrey Kiptum. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • IRA list of insurance firms attracting the highest number of customer complaints offers an opportunity for industry improvement.
  • The IRA report covering six months to June was a mixed bag for the insurers.
  • The dismal resolution of customer complaints means that the underwriters should go back to the drawing board and seek ways to boost service delivery.

The Insurance Regulatory Authority’s (IRA) list of insurance firms attracting the highest number of customer complaints offers an opportunity for industry improvement.

The IRA report covering six months to June was a mixed bag for the insurers.

The dismal resolution of customer complaints means that the underwriters should go back to the drawing board and seek ways to boost service delivery.

Two weeks ago, the IRA indicated that insurance penetration in Kenya declined in 2019 to its lowest point in 15 years at a paltry 2.34 percent, down from its 3.44 percent peak in 2013.

This should concern insurers, especially in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic disruptions that have hit businesses across all sectors of the economy.

We urge the insurance industry to take the regulator’s scorecard in its stride and support the push for transparency. To improve, insurance companies should embrace proactive strategies to avoid complaints. In cases where they are inevitable, address them timely and in a manner that satisfies the customer.

However, since complaints are prevalent in the insurance industry, mostly due to disputes arising from contracts with customers, the companies are seeking ways to minimise wrangles.

Notably, the insurers are simplifying their contracts for the customers to understand their obligations before buying their various products.

This will not only nurture trust between the insurers and customers but also reduces legal battles or disputes linked to the termination of contracts.

Strong, diligent and efficient customer service will also help insurers to retain existing clients while at the same time bring new ones on board.

Proactive strategies will spur the growth of the industry, which has been sluggish at 2.34 percent of the gross domestic product.

The industry should tap the opportunities created by the Covid-19 pandemic to grow customer base -- both individuals and businesses instead of viewing it as a threat to the bottom line.