Three local startups have each received Ksh 1.25 million in cash awards from an innovation hub steered by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) to promote insurance inclusivity. IRA is working in collaboration with Prudential Life Assurance Kenya Limited and other partners.

The three startups were recognized for their ability to impact increased access to insurance in underserved markets through the use of emerging technologies.

UK-Kenya Tech Hub, Tellistic and the UK Department for International Trade launched the Bima Lab Accelerator Program to help determine commercial viability and provide opportunities to scale up solutions.

Twenty startup firms participated in the first incubation program. Out of these, 8 were shortlisted for an intensive 6-week training and mentorship program. AiCare, Chamasure and Sprout Insure demonstrated innovation, growth and scalability in their offering and overall excellent participation throughout the program. This qualified them to receive financial support from Prudential and the opportunity to participate in the IRA sandbox.

AiCare – offers a tailored solution, combining telematics and AI that enables motor insurers to conduct accurate motor insurance risk assessments improving underwriting efficiency and reducing costs of insurance premiums.

Chamasure – has created a peer-to-peer microinsurance and savings platform that is easy to use for those who save through informal social groups for welfare support in case of death or accidents. Such a platform is effective in mobilizing savings among low-income earners to benefit from insurance products.

Sprout Insure – developed a faster claim processing solution for crop insurance making it easier for farmers to buy policies and receive timely payouts. Expeditious claim payments enhance farmers’ ability to recover from adverse weather-related events like drought thus improving their financial resilience.

Prudential Life Assurance Kenya CEO, Gwen Kinisu, said the company is keen on championing financial inclusion in the insurance sector hence its support for the accelerator program.

“As Prudential, we believe that our purpose is to help people make the most out of their lives. We provided the technical mentorship and guidance to help the participants refine their value propositions and accelerate commercial viability. We believe that such programs also provide us, Prudential, with the opportunity to learn and partner as we ourselves evolve into a digitally enabled insurer.” said Ms. Kinisu.

On his part, IRA Chief Executive Officer, Godfrey Kiptum, said, “The objective of this program is to bring in innovators and also promote inclusivity of insurance, which is key to driving the financial inclusion agenda. Many Kenyans believe they are not insurable but with these innovative products we hope to insure more Kenyans. We also want to encourage and motivate local innovators to come up with more solutions to meet the needs of low-income persons.” said Mr. Kiptum.

Harnessing technology is seen as one of the levers IRA is using to boost insurance penetration in Kenya. Providing affordable insurance is one way of lifting low-income households out of poverty through microinsurance.