Awards in any field of endeavour signify recognition for exemplary work done in that particular field; it is no different in the insurance sector. That is why insurance awards are highly sought after, with some companies even going to the extent of doing illegal means to get them.
We have just held the annual insurance awards solely driven by the insurance agents of Kenya. The awards are one of the most competitive and are judged rigorously and fairly by the insurance agents who make up the judging committee. It is fitting that insurance agents get to select and award insurance companies who also form the bulk of stakeholders. They are the people who know these companies inside out. For this reason few insurance companies are willing to participate because of the many issues that most of these companies have with insurance agents.
Companies are judged under various parameters which capture the wholesomeness of the organisations. New categories are added every year so as to capture a wide range of issues. With Covid-19 having wreaked havoc on the economy, it is important that we capture those companies that have adapted well to the challenge of not being able to meet their clients face-to-face as this industry is heavily skewed in favour of. That is why we have a category that has the best innovation. We expect the awards in the coming year will attest to this and we will want to see which companies thrived in the Covid-19 era.
Notwithstanding that, we experienced a very successful event with the participating companies expressing a high level of satisfaction at the outcome of the judging process. With a number of unprecedented opportunities and challenges sweeping the insurance sector, innovation is the order of the day. If they are open to change, companies within the industry will thrive in this environment.
The global insurance sector is undergoing an exciting transformation. This largely traditional industry, which can trace its roots back to the merchant traders of ancient Babylon, has firmly entered the digital age. Over the past two decades, technology has redefined the insurance landscape, opening companies up to new opportunities and challenges.
Digitally savvy consumers have grown to expect on-demand, personalised services from their insurance providers, with smartphones radically transforming the customer service experience. In addition to managing these evolving expectations, traditional insurance companies must now compete with the emergence of highly digitalised ‘insurtech’ firms. Another by-product of the technological revolution, these nimble start-ups put cutting-edge innovation, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), at the heart of their operations, generating significant investor interest and expanding into spaces previously held only by established insurance behemoths.
To deal with shifting customer expectations and an increasingly competitive market, many insurance providers are branching out of risk-based products and have begun to focus on developing a wide range of non-insurance services to supplement their current offerings. While the insurance industry has historically provided protective products to help clients when things go wrong, the sector’s future may well lie in preventative services that enable customers to identify and avoid risks before they happen.
As these new challenges and changes sweep through the industry, insurance providers must adapt accordingly. The winners of this year’s Agents Choice Awards have shown that they are innovative, resilient and forward-thinking enough to successfully navigate the testing times ahead.
The insurance industry is all about service and the category of Customer Champion attests to that company that has the best service in the industry and a company that the public needs to watch out for.
The category of Best Product seeks to encourage insurance companies to come up with relevant personalised products that customers can identify with. Indeed, personalised products are something of a win-win solution for customers and insurers. In the motor insurance products, we have companies coming up with personalised products where customers can enjoy reduced premiums as a result of the data they share, with black box telematics devices being a prime example of this trend. These smart devices can measure a number of factors when driving, such as braking, speed and acceleration, creating a driving profile for whoever is sitting behind the wheel. Sensible drivers could, therefore, be rewarded with lower premiums, which might prove particularly appealing to younger motorists who often face high insurance bills. Meanwhile, the
insurance companies behind these data-driven policies can enjoy improved customer satisfaction, while also benefitting from more accurate risk assessment.
Also Read: What ails Kenya’s marine insurance industry?
It is also not unusual that companies participating in the insurance awards are actually the top performers in the industry both in terms of business procured and having a positive growth trajectory. However, the biggest question is why most of these companies still want awards but do not want to follow the rules? They want awards but do not want to work honestly for them. There have been instances where these companies will attempt to compromise the judging panel and have been actually caught out. Some of these organisations have even been discredited by one of the insurance bodies to the extent of not wanting to be associated with them.
The insurance agents of this country will continue to award insurance companies and reward excellence and hope that all will participate so that the insurance sector can grow and with it the economy.
Washington Ndegea CHAIRMAN BIMA INTERMEDIARIES ASSOCIATION OF KENYA (BIAK)