Insurance companies are known world over as financial institutions that collect premiums and thereafter make claim payments. But is this the perception out there in the market space?
Many are times an insurance company will advertise its products and services to enable them reach set targets: amongst others their strategic goals, wealth maximisation for shareholders and the last but not least what we may term as brand loyalty.
From the visibility angle many are times the insurance firms will advertise the products to the masses to ensure that their sales and activation journeys are met with ease since it is assumed that the client is well aware of an institution and the product that they are selling.
It is important for these institutions to meet the demands of the clients in terms of service offering. The perception, many a number in our country, is that the insurance companies will only take up your premium and never pay claims.
Though the narrative is slowly changing due to advent of new technologies that assist in ensuring claims payment are done in the shortest time possible, the mind-set is yet to change.
Insurance firms would need to ensure that as they portray their brand, they also try to change the perception of the masses by having inclusive in their branding, a promise that what was agreed upon at inception of the insurance will be delivered upon claiming.
Today’s client is very well protected by various instruments. In April 2014 the Insurance Regulatory Authority(IRA) introduced the “Treating the Customer Fairly” campaign which encompasses information on instruments which customers can seek retribution in the event the service offering promised is not met. Some of these instruments include Constitution of Kenya 2010, Consumer Protection act 2012, Competition act 2012 and Insurance act. Most of this will touch on false and misleading representation from the insurance to the public. Currently the penetration of insurance is at about three percent and for the insurance sector to hit double digits in terms of penetration we would need to change the perception of Kenyans at large in that we keep promises. The insurance sector also needs to come up with innovative products that offer solutions to the masses so as the uptake can increase to desirable levels.
Insurance penetration is used as an indicator of the sector development within a country and is calculated as the ratio of total insurance premiums to gross domestic product in a given year.
As per the statistics in 2018, Taiwan recorded the highest penetration levels at 20.88percent followed by Hong-kong at 18.16percent and South Africa at 12 percent respectively. What is witnessed from those nations whose penetration is quite high is the fact that they offer products that fit the needs of the clients. There is also a gradual increase in population thus also increasing the insurable population.
From the Kenyan perspective we need to ensure that the brands out there not only reach out and educate the masses in the rural areas but seek to offer solutions to the different demographics by having products that are the same but differentiated to fit particular markets. This should be followed by a user sensitisation through various means which could include advertisements, promotions, billboards and other marketing tools.
The writer is CEO of Pioneer Assurance Company Limited.