By RICHARD MUNGA
A large number of Kenyan insurance agents and marketers are
unqualified holding back growth opportunities for the local insurance industry, according to EY’s study on insurance opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The report states the agents and marketers lack specialisation and sophistication in insurance products, leaving insurers to compete for the few well trained people in the industry.
The same problem exists in Nigeria, where most of the people, who are currently hired as country managers for various insurance firms, schooled abroad.
“As the insurance industry expands across the region, lack of talent has become a critical issue. Indeed, 30 per cent of total respondents in our survey admit that it is difficult to find qualified agents, particularly in Nigeria and Kenya,” the report states.
EY surveyed 125 companies and regulators in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The report shows there is a bright future for the Kenyan insurance industry, attributed to rapid growth in the gross domestic product, population and consumer demand.
But insurers need to be prepared to refine distribution channels and product lines to outperform the projected six per cent compounded annual growth rate in insurance premium in Kenya.
“Kenya’s steady economic growth and expanding middle class with high disposable income is proving it to be a high potential market for insurance companies. Currently, Kenya’s overall insurance penetration as a percentage of the GDP is at three per cent, almost triple that of Tanzania and Uganda,” EY global insurance leader Shaun Crawford said yesterday during the launch of the report in Nairobi.
According to the report, the need to adopt the latest technologies is also a challenge for insurers due to lack of real technical expertise.
“Not only must companies recruit agents who can sell products to customers, but also technologists who can build mobile and web applications geared to insurance, since mobile platforms can open channels