What is the role of insurance during a pandemic such as Covid-19? That was the question that a panel of experts brought together by Absa Kenya on Thursday tried to break down. What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the insurance sector?
Covid-19 has negatively impacted virtually every sector. Businesses have shut. People have lost their jobs. Kids are out of school. And people are constantly worried about their health and that of their loved ones.
There have been complaints from various Kenyans that their insurance service providers abandoned them when they needed them the most. They say many service providers refrained from covering their customers who had contracted Covid0-19.
“The problem is many people do not read their policy documents. One must always read the documents in order to know which areas are covered and which ones are not,” said Mr. Elias Omondi, an Actuary at the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA).
According to Julia Shisia, head of Bancassurance at Absa Kenya, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed how insurance companies operate in Kenya. She says the pandemic has played a role in reducing some risks such as on motor where people cut down on travels.
“Life is about risks. There are some risks that you have to pass on to someone else, and this is where insurance comes in,” she said during a live Webinar hosted by Absa Kenya.
Julia says that it is important for one to have insurance cover but work with experts to know the extent of coverage and the limitations. “The Absa way of doing things is that we deeply study the policies of our customers,” she added.
Elias Omondi from Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) says Covid-19 has had the following implications on the Kenyan insurance sector: workforce transformation, (where people are increasingly working from their homes), technology adaption, (the use of online platforms for meetings and service delivery), operational challenges and insurance risk capital and solvency.
In terms of being overwhelmed with premiums, “It is advisable that you speak with your insurance agent about the various policies. In regards to premiums start small and try to be constant by paying monthly in order to reduce the premium rate,” according to Harrison Mwakisaghu, IT Manager, Fortinet.
About Absa Bancassurance:
Absa Bank Kenya Plc sells insurance through its Bancassurance arm, Absa Insurance Agency Ltd. Absa is an intermediary that distributes insurances from various insurance companies through Absa Bank insurance agency Limited (ABIAL), which is a subsidiary of the bank.
They offer two forms of insurance namely life (long term) and general (short-term) insurance. Life insurance are contracts for more than one year while general insurance contracts are for one year or less.