By Seth Emmanuel
As insurers race to embrace digital technology, intermediaries will still play a valuable role in attracting and retaining customers, a leading medical insurer now says.
Insurance brokers and agents will still be required to facilitate critical processes like on-boarding clients onto digital platforms, managing claims and other processes, and educating consumers on the benefits of digital insurance.
AAR Insurance Kenya MD, Nixon Shigoli says, contrary to the perception that insurance brokers and agents will be rendered redundant in the digital era, as a link between insurers and customers, they will remain relevant in ensuring seamless delivery of services.
Speaking at a recent virtual sales gala event organized to award the firm’s best performing agents, Mr. Shigoli urged agents to keep abreast of emerging trends in the industry so as to remain relevant to their customers.
“The shift to digital insurance creates opportunities for intermediaries to play an even bigger role in delivering an enhanced customer experience, thus creating a win-win situation for all parties in the value chain,” said Shigoli.
He however cautions that agents could be a weak link if they are not quick to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape shaped by technology innovations and an increasingly tech-savvy, sophisticated clientele.
“Today, consumers are more empowered with better access to information thanks to digital innovation. This has increased the need for efficiency, transparency and accountability in the insurance value chain. Intermediaries need to stay ahead of the curve,” explains Shigoli.
Agents generate about 70 percent of AAR Insurance underwriting business hence the company’s focus on strengthening this key intermediary function. In 2016, AAR Insurance launched an agents training academy that has so far trained 1000 agents per year, equipping them with skills to operate in a fast-changing environment.
During the award ceremony, the top 40 agents were recognized for outstanding performance. The Agent of the year, Mr. Kennedy Ochieng Ooko drove away with a brand new Mercedes Benz C200. The first run up Callaghan Insurance Agency won an all-expenses paid international trip and second – runners up Zillion Africa Insurance Agency was rewarded with all-expense paid local trip. Other winners collected prizes including Gift hampers, certificates and trophies.
Data by the Insurance Regulatory Authority shows that in 2020, there were 11,138 licensed insurance agents and 204 insurance brokerage firms in the country.
AAR Insurance is among the leading medical underwriters in East Africa and has over 200,000 customers in Kenya.