The writing is on the wall for insurance agents, with the high number of providers turning to mobile platforms to sell cover.
Essentially, this means that those seeking insurance cover input their details using these platforms, pay using the same and have their stickers delivered, thus weeding out a role that would have been played by agents.
They are also betting on the same channels to fight fraud, which has been bleeding insurers dry.
For instance, M-Tiba platform, developed by CarePay Ltd, will be used by Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers to run a corporate employees’ insurance product that helps workers access treatment at partner hospitals, with treatment costs settled through mobile money platforms.
The deal signed last Wednesday also allows the pair to explore the possibility of offering more insurance products on online platforms, thereby enhancing services to members.
On its part, Resolution Insurance and IT firm Insure Afrika have launched Next Taxi Insurance, a PSV insurance product solely sold through online platforms and premiums settled cashless.
Resolution Insurance said this eliminates the need for taxi operators to physically visit an insurance agent’s office to book and pay for renewal of their covers.
“Car owners will be required to log onto the platform and provide profile details of their driver where a quotation will be generated based on the profile details and car specifications provided by the client,” it said.
The firm pledged an after-sales service of delivering the insurance sticker to the vehicle owner, thereby ending the traditional insurance agent-taxi owner/operator relationship.
Both products will be monitored virtually, enabling the firms to access a customer’s location and confirm identity via logging in using a secured personal identification number.
“Resolution Insurance will deepen the uptake of its motor vehicle insurance product, shoring up its margins that have been hit by high operating costs and stiff competition,” said Resolution Insurance managing director Alice Mwai.
M-Tiba platform has been developed in partnership with Safaricom and PharmAccess Foundation to provide a secure and transparent interface for patients, providers and funders.
This ensures staff have access to treatment at participating facilities with all payments paid cashlessly to hospitals once the patient confirms the details on the treatment sheet.
Minet’s managing director Sammy Muthui said more products would be incorporated into the platform, while the savings made would be passed on to consumers.
This would raise the uptake of insurance products while cutting costs on both ends.
“We need a back-end solution that utilises smart tech. In Kenya, the smartest tech with the highest penetration is available on mobile phone internet platforms.
Mobile health innovation, M-Tiba is the future for the management of medical schemes for our corporate clients,” he said.
In January, the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) announced a Sh1.9 billion saving after it adopted use of smartcards, introduced pre-authorisation services and added internal controls.
This curbed cases of impersonation and of hospitals lodging fraudulent claims without a patients’ knowledge and consent.
“For instance, hospitals would bill NHIF for three dialysis sessions yet only one was performed, or charge for caesarean section births where delivery was normal and costs Sh20,000 or less,” said NHIF chief executive Geoffrey Mwangi in the Fund’s 2017 performance report.
Next Taxi Insurance targets individuals and corporates who use chauffeur driven taxis. It will cover the car and the driver.
Insure Afrika founding chief executive Gagan Hayer said Kenyans receive alerts when their insurance lapses, enabling them to purchase the same on the spot.
According to the Insurance Regulatory Authority, claims incurred by general insurers in the third quarter of 2017 rose 3.2 per cent to Sh43.06 billion from Sh41.72 billion the previous year, with medical cover topping the list.
Latest data from the authority shows medical claims hit Sh15.21 billion, up from Sh13.44 billion.
During the same period, motor insurance claims filed by private motor cover stood at Sh11.13 billion), motor commercial (Sh7.03 billion), motor commercial PSV (Sh2.62 billion) and workmen’s compensation (Sh2.34 billion).
M-Tiba was launched two years ago in Kenya. It has partnered with 530 healthcare facilities for its one million users. Insurance firms hope to wipe out fraudulent claims, as well as ease operational and premium costs.
CarePay chief executive Kees van Lede said their online platform collects accurate real time data, enabling them to improve underwriting, premium pricing and payouts.