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Kenya's tech-shy insurance sector stands to be disrupted

Kenya's tech-shy insurance sector stands to be disrupted

The insurance industry is behind others, including banking, when it comes to innovation and this makes it vulnerable to 'insuretech' disruptors.

This is according to Julius Kipnge'tich, regional CEO of Jubilee Holdings, the parent company for Jubilee Insurance, who said players in the insurance space risk becoming irrelevant if they fail to innovate and implement technology as part of their core operations.

"We are now catering to a young market. They are internet savvy. In the next two years, eighty percent of phones will be smartphones," said Kipnge'tich. "Technology is quickly changing the way industries are doing business, and insurance is not exempted."

He believes slow adoption can be the result of unwillingness to change internally and employees are sometimes unwilling to embrace new measures of doing business.

"The person who has the numbers could disrupt the industry," he said.

Kipnge'tich singled out Safaricom who he believes captured the market and inspired digital finance to the extent that banks could simply no longer ignore the telco.

Blockchain, IOT and machine learning could change the insurance sector if applied appropriately, he added.

Most insurance companies in Kenya still have the old ways of operating and attending to clients. However, the realisation is that incorporating these technologies will assist operators to better engage with their customers.

As an example, in February this year, Jubilee Insurance introduced Julie (Jubilee Insurance Live Intelligent Expert) an AI-powered chat assistant.

"Customers do not care about product. They care about solutions," Kipnge'tich said.

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