- Many people have become impoverished due to the high cost of medical care and health management
- The insurance market appears to be heading in the right direction
- Non-life insurers, in particular, face a significant medium-term risk from rising inflation
The insurance market appears to be heading in the right direction.
Globally, the past two years have been tough for many sectors but there is hope that things will settle with the new normal.
Before the pandemic, 2019 was a spectacular year in terms of returns for underwriters with insurance premiums, shooting up to US$5.14 trillion and for the first time in history, surpassing the US$4.95 trillion mark as indicated by Swiss Re Sigma report.
What is more, the report showed the insurance industry worldwide contributed over 6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) globally, emphasizing the crucial role of insurers in sustaining economic development across the world.
Sigma’s 2021-22 outlook is optimistic with non-life insurers, in particular, facing a significant medium-term risk from rising inflation.
The epidemic has solidified long-term paradigm adjustments. Second, the desire for online transactions is on the rise, which is a powerful demand driver for both consumers and businesses. As new, non-traditional insurance providers enter the market, insurers must offer digital engagement at all touchpoints.
Insurance businesses in Africa have reason to be optimistic, though, given the region’s strong economic growth. Unfortunately, the recovery has not yet been reflected in their general trajectory due to a variety of reasons.
The entry of more insurance companies into the market and the resulting decrease in premium rates are at the top of the list of those considerations. In addition to the drop in investment returns, insurers have seen a decline in their financial standing.
Furthermore, traditional insurers have been slow to adopt new technologies in the current era of digitization, which has been to their detriment. With the use of digital technology, insurers can reach out to new customers, keep their existing ones happy by communicating with them, and obtain customer feedback so they can make adjustments.
The number of tech-savvy contemporary insurance companies that have entered the market and taken it by storm has increased dramatically.
Modern insurers have mastered the art of customizing insurance policies for their consumers, who have a plethora of options at their fingertips. When it comes to their own needs and the solutions available, customers are no longer afraid to ask questions.
So it should come as no surprise that insurance businesses must be forward-thinking in order to remain competitive in today’s market and increase their operational efficiency at the same time.
Insurers around the world are aware of the current market trends and are adapting accordingly. This has resulted in them putting in place methods to tailor their products and services to their clients’ needs.
Treatment options for cancer in East Africa
Nowadays, the pressures and duties of modern life are so great that it is difficult to find time for sufficient rest or adequate sleep. As a result, it is no surprise that lifestyle-related diseases are on the rise.
As a result, many people have become impoverished due to the high cost of medical care and health management. Fortunately, insurers have recognized this need and have responded with a variety of medical care packages to guarantee that customers have access to the best medical care they can afford.
In Kenya, for example, medical insurance coverage includes both inpatient and outpatient services, and it is tailored to meet the specific health requirements of persons who are insured.
In order to remain relevant, the insurance industry must adapt to changing health care requirements and trends by developing new products and services that meet those needs.
The ICEA Lions’ Cancer Programme
Recent years have shown an increase in cancer cases in Kenya.
Medical expenses such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, operations, and pricey pharmaceuticals have made things worse, as has the burden of caring for the sick.
With monthly rates ranging from US$0.012 to US$0.012, the Insurance Company of East Africa (ICEA) Lion Group on October 8, 2019 launched a new cancer insurance policy in order to help more cancer sufferers get insurance coverage and alleviate the financial burden on their families.
As ICEA’s Business Development and Technical Services Manager George Nyakundi explains in an interview, the cancer package is a first of its type in Kenya and will cover all of a patient’s medical costs, including diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and palliative care.
An average of US$0.24 million is spent on cancer management and treatment.
“We have devised a solution that is affordable in order to rescue families from the misery of selling property or obtaining funds in order to meet treatment,” said Nyakundi as quoted by Business Daily.
A remission incentive and a 10 per cent bonus for brain tumours are included in this insurance. An age restriction of one year before signing up for the policy means that applicants must be Kenyan citizens aged 18 to 59.
Oncology coverage is provided through the NHIF, the National Health Insurance Programme.
There have also been substantial attempts by the NHIF to provide insurance packages that cover cancer patients as well as facilitate the full treatment process, rather than earlier policies that just covered some portions of therapy.
Patients will greatly benefit from these new upgrades, which are awaiting approval from the Ministry of Health, as NHIF can now accommodate additional chemotherapy and radiotherapy cycles.
The NHIF presently covers up to 20 radiation sessions per week for US$35.12 or US$175.56 per week for those who qualify. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the 36 sessions of radiotherapy prescribed for some cancer patients, which leaves patients with the choice of either paying for the additional sessions or forgoing the treatment completely, which could put their lives at risk.
Chemotherapy sessions might cost up to KSh150,000 depending on the severity of the disease, according to Judith Otele, claims and benefits manager at the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Prostate cancer sufferers in Kenya will soon be able to access lower-priced medications.
In 2017/18 financial year, the amount spent by NHIF in terms of cancer coverage grew by 11 per cent, reaching KSh1.3 billion (US$129 million) compared to the previous year.
Figures demonstrate that at least 68 per cent of cancer patients and their families are financially strained, 53 per cent of cancer patients can’t afford treatment, and 6 per cent of families whose loved ones have cancer must sell their possessions to pay medical expenditures.
For every four uninsured patients, one person delays cancer diagnosis and treatment, according to the report.