I did not come into the business of life insurance and insurance, in general, to save children from the yawning jaws of poverty. In February 1998, I was unable to continue my classes at the university due to lack of tuition fees. I was forced to take a six-month break and it was during that time that I found my way into the offices of a life insurance multinational. At the time, I couldn’t think of anything else to do and it seemed like a good way to earn a living. Like anyone else, I came into this business to earn a living.
But, over the years, I have seen first hand the value of life insurance. I have seen families that have been torn apart when the breadwinner dies young and young kids have to move out of the house because the surviving parent can no longer afford to pay the rent or mortgage. Or move to public schools because private schools are no longer affordable. Essentially, everything the breadwinner dreamt for the family is destroyed in the twinkling of an eye.
I have seen that with adequate life insurance children are able to continue with their lives with minimal disruption. The life insurance payment makes sure that the children can attend the same school, live in same home and go to bed with full bellies.
Parents will take a bullet for their children any day, I certainly would. And, this is why people take out life insurance because at the end of the day, life insurance is a gift of love.
As an insurance agent, I speak on behalf of the children. If you would like to know more about your life insurance options, request a quote or contact me by filling this contact form.
For many small and large scale companies, customer default on goods or services supplied is a real concern. To mitigate the risk of customer default companies will usually operate on a cash-only basis or have stringent credit terms such as requiring buyers to execute letters of credit. Unfortunately, in our economy, many customers/buyers are unable to meet such requirements. The result for the trader is slow sales and restricted access to new markets.
Trade credit insurance solves this problem. With trade credit insurance, you sell goods or services on credit to your customers locally and abroad (export credit insurance) and get compensated in the event that they default on their payments.
Advantages of Trade Credit Insurance
There are clear advantages to insuring your business-to-business trade credit transactions against nonpayment by customers, namely;
Better sales – with trade credit insurance, you can advance credit to customers at more lenient terms thereby attracting more customers to your product offering.
Reduce dependence of a few customers – with trade credit insurance, you can increase the number of customers you rely on and reduce your concentration risk.
Bankruptcy protection – with trade credit insurance, you can rest easy in the knowledge that in the event your customers’ default, you can rest easy in the knowledge that the insurance compensation will ensure you don’t have to shut down your business.
Professional Advise – trade credit insurers in Kenya often provide their customers with technical advise with regard to credit analysis and portfolio monitoring. Some also offer debt collection services in the event you need them.
Greater access to trade finance – banks will typically offer you more favourable credit terms if you have purchased trade credit insurance.
What is Typically Not Covered in a Trade Credit Insurance Policy
Disputed debts until the dispute is resolved in favour of the company that is making a claim on the policy
Losses arising from changes in exchange rates.
If the default is due to any actual or alleged breach of contract by the company making the claim.
Any shipments made against payment under a letter of credit, confirmed before shipment, by a bank in Kenya.
Physical damage to goods. An alternative cover is available for this risk.
Supplies to government bodies, regional and local authorities.
Information Needed for a Trade Credit Insurance Quote
Insurance companies that offer trade credit insurance will typically require the following in order to provide you with a quotation:
A description of goods sold or services rendered
Type of debtor/s sold to (government, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, associated companies, etc.)
Whether you want to cover all debtors or just specific debtors.
Estimated annual turnover.
The average debt collection period.
Normal credit terms.
History of past losses.
Latest debtors aged analysis in a spreadsheet
A copy of your company’s latest financial statements
If you would like to find more about trade credit insurance in Kenya, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Endowment life policies are the most popular type of life insurance policies in Kenya because of their “forced savings” characteristics. They go by many different brand names. One of the most common types of an endowment policy is a school fees policy that essentially combines life insurance protection with savings.
Over my career as an insurance agent, I have seen first hand how such policies have helped people accomplish a financial goal such as cater for secondary school and university education, raise business capital or set aside funds for retirement.
However, I have also encountered numerous people who in the course of considering whether to buy an endowment insurance policy, have whipped out their calculators and proceeded to demonstrate to me just how low the return on an endowment policy is, in total disregard of the protection aspects. I have always appreciated that business of putting money aside religiously to fund a future project is a herculean task.
Anyone over the age of 40 will tell you that one of the most difficult things to do is to sustain regular savings. The average Kenyan, more often than not, will be caught with the intrigues of life and find themselves dipping into their savings to deal with an emergency or some other thing that may or may not be important.
The Concept of “Forced Savings”
The idea behind forced savings is that it’s difficult to save money. Endowment insurance plans such as school fees policies are designed to force us to put money aside for a fixed period of time e.g 15 years. Money (premiums) is taken out of your hands today and then years down the road, you get it back at an added return. Essentially, when you put money in an endowment insurance policy:
You can’t touch the funds until three years are over.
It doesn’t make financial sense to get out early, so you are “forced” to continue paying the premiums until such a time that it makes sense to surrender the policy or until the policy matures and you can access your savings.
If you have a future project such as funding secondary or university education and you are determined to get it done without much hassle, you should consider signing up for an endowment insurance policy.
Additional Benefits of Saving Through an Endowment Insurance Policy
In addition to forced savings, you must always remember that this is, first and foremost, a life insurance policy. The savings aspect is secondary to the life insurance protection.
In the event of permanent disability, death and even a critical illness (many leading insurers now have this built into endowment insurance policies), you and/or your beneficiaries receive a monetary compensation even if you have only paid one insurance premium! Nothing beats that.
Historically, funerals in the Kenyan setting are a community affair. The usual procedure once someone is deceased is that the family calls a meeting to plan the funeral. Typically, the extended family and friends contribute money and other resources towards the funeral costs.
However, this social model is slowly being abandoned due to a number of factors, mainly:
Hard economic times have forced people to contribute less towards the funeral costs of deceased members of the family and friends.
There is also a phenomenon that can only be described as “fundraising fatigue”. Most people with an income are simply overwhelmed with too many fundraising requests at any given time.
The breakdown of the family and the reduced empathy of the majority in society towards the problems of their extended family members and friends.
The burden of dealing with funeral costs is increasingly being left to the immediate family members and to members of the wider family that are perceived to be affluent by the rest. To make matters worse, funeral costs continue to rise. Take the following example of the funeral cost from one of the funeral parlours in Nairobi:
Standard coffin – Kshs 50, 000
Embalming – Kshs 15, 000
Hearse (with loudspeaker and ribbons) within Nairobi – Kshs 20, 000
Storage per day – Kshs 3, 000
Post-mortem – Kshs 15, 000
Langata cemetery charges – Kshs 30, 500
In addition to the above, there are daily expenses to feed mourners, transport for family members, clothing and other unseen costs that can push the cost of a funeral for an average middle-class Kenyan to well over Kshs 200,000.
Planning Ahead for a Funeral
Without proper planning, the family of the deceased is usually left with a huge cash burden in addition to having to grapple with the loss of a breadwinner. Death is inevitable and we should all have a plan to deal with the financial implications of death.
The best way to plan ahead is through funeral insurance. Also known as last expense, last respects or memorial plans. These plans provide you with the financial support needed to address the costs incurred when you or a loved one passes away.
How Funeral Insurance Works?
The following is a funeral plan example from a leading insurance company in Kenya.
Who is Covered?
The main member who is also the owner of the policy.
Parents and parents in law.
Brothers, sisters and other members of the extended family.
The policy has three tiers as follows:
Tier one – 200,000 total benefit amount.
Tier two – 500,000 total benefit amount.
Tier three – 800,000 total benefit amount.
Upon the death of someone covered under the policy, the insurance company pays the following amounts to the claimant:
Main member: 100% of the total benefit amount e.g. 200,000, 500, 000 or 800,000 depending on the tier chosen.
Spouse: 100% of the total benefit amount.
Child: 50% of the total benefit amount.
Parents: 50% of the total benefit amount.
Member of the extended family: 50% of the total benefit amount.
In addition to the above benefits, the plan also pays loyalty bonuses every five years i.e so long as the policy remains in force, the insurance company discounts some amount of premiums paid every five years.
How Much Does Funeral Insurance Cost?
The common misconception in Kenya is that insurance to cater for such eventualities in life costs an arm and a leg. Nothing could be further from the truth. A funeral one plan such as the one described above can be accessed at a cost of less than Kshs 300 per month for a total benefit amount of 200,000 to cover one person. Clearly, this is affordable by many working Kenyans. The issue is simply a lack of information.
There is absolutely no reason you should put a dent in your pocket to cater for funeral expenses as a result of a death in the family. Take out a funeral plan today and have peace of mind.
If you would like to find out more about the funeral insurance example cited here please send a message using the contact page.
We all like to imagine a perfect future where we are in good health. But, critical illnesses like cancer, kidney failure and heart disease have become too common in Kenya.
Some Statistics on Critical Illness in Kenya
According to the Economic Survey 2018, cancer is the third leading cause of death in Kenya representing 16,953 deaths in 2017 after malaria and pneumonia. And, this number continues to rise every year.
According to the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations, there are 39,000 new cancer cases diagnosed every year. The jury is still out on the cause of the high cancer cases but some of the usual suspects include lifestyle changes and exposure to carcinogens in food and the air we breathe.
Heart disease, whose precursor is hypertension, is also among the top ten leading causes of death in Kenya.
Other critical illnesses that are on the rise include kidney failure. There is there is an increased prevalence of chronic kidney disease, which is also partly explained by high-risk factors such as lifestyle. Lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are a precursor for kidney failure.
The Financial Impact of a Critical Illness
Being diagnosed with a serious illness isn’t the end of the world. In many instances, people are able to extend their lives or even get cured provided they access the right treatment at the right time, and are able to pay for it.
Let’s look at some of the most pressing financial needs once a critical illness diagnosis has been made:
Hospital and doctors fees
Cost of hospital admission
Travelling to and from the medical facility (very costly is you seek treatment abroad)
Living expenses because you are too sick to work
For people with medical insurance, the costs of hospital admission, doctors fees and drugs will usually be covered by the policy. But, even if you have a medical insurance plan, you still have to plug a gaping hole with regard to travelling, special diets and supplements, and living expenses to replace lost income. Also, your medical insurance provider may not cover overseas treatment and experimental treatments which may have a higher chance of success. This is where critical illness comes in.
What is Critical Illness Insurance?
Critical illness insurance is designed to pay you a lump-sum upon diagnosis. Thus, the moment a doctor carries out diagnostic tests and determines you have a critical illness, you can put in a claim and get the payment. Take note that unlike medical insurance, this money is paid to you and not to the hospital. This is a big deal because it opens up your treatment options in two ways:
With money in your pocket, you aren’t restricted to seeking treatment at the health providers dictated to you by your health insurance provider. You can decide to seek the best treatment available overseas.
Secondly, there are many experimental treatments and procedures (e.g. for cancer) that have a high success rate but are still in their early stages and haven’t completed clinical trials. With money in your pocket, you can travel and seek such experimental treatments.
Types of Critical Illness Insurance
There are two main types of critical illness insurance:
Stand-alone critical illness cover – this is a specialized policy designed to cover the risk of a critical illness. This is not very common in Kenya and the premiums are very high.
Bundled critical illness cover – in this type of coverage, the critical illness component is added as a rider to the main policy such as an Education Insurance Policy. This second form is the most common type available in Kenya.
Illnesses Covered by Critical Illness Insurance
Not all critical illnesses are covered. Every insurance company has its own definitions and policy terms that dictate when a claim becomes payable. However, in Kenya, the following are the main illnesses defined as critical illnesses:
Heart Attack of Specified Severity
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
End Stage Lung Disease
End Stage Liver Failure
Major Organ / Bone Marrow Transplantation
Would you like more information on critical illness insurance? Kindly contact us or tap the call icon if you are viewing this page on a mobile device.
What would happen to you if you had an accident and could not work for some time? Would you still be able to pay your bills and make ends meet? Personal Accident insurance is the solution to such a scenario.
Definition of Personal Accident Insurance
Personal Accident Insurance provides compensation in the event of injuries, disability or death as a result of violent, accidental, external and visible events. Take note that the word “accident” IS NOT restricted to road accidents, a common erroneous belief. On the contrary, any the following everyday events is an accident in insurance:
Falling and hurting yourself in the bathroom.
Falling down the stairs
Swallowing a chicken or fish bone and needing medical attention
…the list is endless.
Benefits Offered in Typical Personal Accident Insurance Policy
Some of the benefits offered under a typical Personal Accident Insurance Policy in Kenya include:
Weekly benefit payments – weekly income for the period you are not able to work as a result of an accident.
Accidental Medical Expenses – Reimbursement of medical expenses incurred following an accident. These include dental and optical expenses.
Emergency Evacuation Expenses – In the event you need emergency evacuation e.g. Air or Road ambulance.
Artificial Appliance Expenses – Cost to acquire artificial appliances needed as a result of an accident e.g. crutches, hearing aids and prosthetics.
Permanent Disability – Payment of a pre-determined percentage of the total benefit amount (sum insured) should you suffer a permanent disability occasioned by an accident. This could also be computed as a predetermined multiple of your salary depending on the specific policy terms.
Accidental Death – In the event of loss of life as a result of an accident, the insurance company pays the beneficiary full benefit amount (sum insured).
Personal Accident Insurance is one of the best and cheapest ways to ensure your assets are not depleted paying accident medical bills. It guarantees your ability to continue paying your bills and making ends meet even after being immobilized by an accident.
With as little as Kshs 500 a month, you can purchase a decent Personal Accident Insurance Policy.
For more information about Personal Accident Insurance or for a no-obligation quote, kindly contact us.
Distribution of insurance through banks is a fairly new phenomenon in Kenya. Also known as Bancassurance, the distribution of insurance via banks is touted as one of the ways of increasing insurance penetration in Kenya.
For a few years now, banks have been cross-selling credit life insurance products to existing banking customers. Examples include; Mortgage Life Protection in case you die or become permanently disabled before you pay off your loan, Credit Card Insurance and, other forms of insurance linked to bank accounts such as Retrenchment Cover. But, in addition to these traditional credit life products, banks have now invaded the personal insurance space, for example, motor, health, life, accident etc and, are now even distributing commercial insurance.
This has largely been as a result of the highly competitive nature of the Kenyan banking industry which has forced them to grow their revenue base from non-traditional revenue streams. Legislation to cap interest rates has also forced banks to seek alternative non-funded income (NFI) sources such as insurance commissions to grow their revenues.
By leveraging their huge customer databases, banks don’t have to work too hard to acquire insurance leads. Revenue from insurance commissions is considered low hanging fruit.
But, what does this mean for you as an insurance consumer?
While marketing insurance products on behalf of underwriters, Kenyan banks typically make the claim that they have negotiated superior insurance products with underwriters and that these are only accessible to the insuring public via their branches. Some banks even go as far as claiming that insurance companies pay claims faster when they are dealing with the bank.
But, is this really the case? The answer is an emphatic, no.
No Price Advantage When You Buy Insurance From A Bank
While frontline staff in banks will make the claim that their insurance products are superior, the truth is that any insurance agent with a few years of experience can access a much better deal from insurers. There is usually room for negotiation on a case-by-case basis when you go through an agent or broker than when you go through a bank. Typically, most banks have rigid decision-making processes. Once policy terms have been negotiated and agreed upon with the insurance company, deviating becomes an arduous process. You have to buy the “canned” product and there is no wiggle room to add or delete product features. Furthermore, banks often demand much higher commissions than those usually paid out to other insurance intermediaries. These “extra” commissions are paid out as bonuses for achieving premium targets or as marketing allowances. Due to this added cost, Insurance companies are, therefore, not keen to further negotiate the policy terms with banks even on a case-by-case basis. On the same note, due to intense pressure to meet income targets, bancassurance managers will rarely allow their officers the latitude to venture outside the negotiated terms.
Inadequate Product Knowledge
Insurance in banks in sold by the frontline staff, the banking officers and Relationship Managers, you find at your branch. Since they are rarely fully specialized insurance professionals, they tend to be deficient in technical and product knowledge. They will typically have gone through some product training over a one or two day period. This is hardly adequate when dealing with insurance, a complex subject. You might as well be speaking to a layperson when you walk into most banking halls. In fact, in some banks, the situation is so dire that some bank employees give customers the impression that the bank is the underwriter of the insurance products by using terms such as, “we will pay” during conversations, usually with serious consequences whenever there is a claim.
Insurance agents and brokers are mandated by the Insurance Regulatory Authority to hold, as a minimum, a Certificate of Proficiency (COP) in insurance before they can engage in business. There is no such requirement for banking staff. It is assumed that once the bank is licensed, they will provide adequate training to their staff which isn’t the reality.
Some banks have tried to remedy this situation by hiring insurance specialists to assist traditional frontline staff at the branches but there is no guarantee that the person whom you speak to is a qualified insurance professional. The result of this is that customers end up not getting treated fairly in terms of ensuring they fully understand the;
Whilst some banks claim that their customers’ claims are paid faster, the reality is that most bancassurance officers are clueless about the claims process. It gets worse if the claim is complex or challenging. Customers are left to chase claims on their own. On the other hand, an experienced insurance agent or broker knows all the ins and outs of the claims process and will typically be able to chase a claim on behalf of a customer until the matter is resolved, with regular updates to the customer.
When you’re looking for financial advice, your bank naturally seems like a safe bet. After all, you already trust them with your money – unless you’re one of those people who keeps all their money in a tin under the bed. But, unfortunately, as I have demonstrated, it’s never that simple with insurance. Never buy insurance from a bank, identify an experienced agent or broker and you will never go wrong.
If you’d like us to guide you safely through the minefield of Insurance in Kenya, kindly complete our contact form or call us and we will get back to you.
The following are some life insurance common questions posed by prospective customers in Kenya. If you are in the market for a life insurance or education insurance policy, see below for answers that will help you make an informed decision.
How much life insurance do I need?
Determining your life insurance needs requires a close examination of your current and future financial obligations as well as the resources at your family’s disposal. Some of the things you need to consider to come up with an accurate figure include:
Future obligations like school fees
To meet the above obligations, your surviving family will draw on existing resources such as your spouse’s income, existing savings and investments, other income-generating assets, and life insurance you held (this could be personal life insurance or insurance taken out by your employer)
The estimated life insurance coverage that you need will be the difference between current and financial obligations, and what your surviving family can muster. This may sound complicated which is why you need a qualified insurance guru to help you figure out how much life insurance you need. If you are not ready to meet with an insurance agent and just want a preliminary sense of your life insurance needs, please complete our life insurance needs assessment form and we will get back to you with a rough estimate of how much life insurance you need to protect your family.
What if I am unable to pay the premiums after taking the policy?
The main reason that leads to people stop paying for their policy is a change in financial circumstances occasioned by a job loss or adverse business event, a critical illness or permanent disability.
Insurance companies will typically give you a one-month grace period should you miss a premium payment. After the lapse period passes, then the policy lapses. However, you can always pay the arrears and reinstate the policy after it has lapsed and continue enjoying the policy benefits.
Depending on how long you have paid for your policy, you could lose all your money or have the option to convert your policy into a paid-up policy, or surrender the policy and receive the surrender value.
In most cases, a policy can only be converted to a paid-up policy or have a surrender value after 36 monthly premium instalments (or 3 years) have been paid.
In a paid-up policy, the sum assured is reduced to the equivalent of premiums already and further premiums are no longer due. The policy then remains active until its maturity date.
Should I take an Education Insurance Policy if I don’t have a child?
Yes, you can. You need not wait until you have a child. Most insurance companies will allow you to do so.
In the event that you have several children, you can opt to take up different policies or simply fill one form since the payment is usually made to you (the parent) and not to an institution or a third party.
Can a life insurance policy be used as a security for a loan?
Yes, a life insurance policy may be ceded as a security subject to the cash surrender value of the policy at the time.
It is also possible to get a policy loan for the amount of surrender value a policy has accumulated.
What are exclusions in a life insurance policy?
Exclusions are events that are not covered by an insurance company. Typical life insurance exclusions in the Kenyan insurance industry include:
Suicide/attempted suicide in the first 2 years.
Claims arising from criminal activities e.g. death while committing a crime.
Death as a result of the abuse of alcohol and related substances.
Death and permanent disablement arising out of an act of war, military action, terrorism, riots, civil commotion.
Medical conditions not disclosed prior to issuance of policy. Failure to disclose an existing medical condition on the insurance application form amounts to a failure to disclose a material fact.
Life Insurance, also known as Life Assurance, is a type of insurance policy that provides a monetary benefit (the sum assured) to a named beneficiary upon the demise of the life that has been insured. The policy may be for a specified duration or the entire life of the person insured by the policy.
Important Terminologies in Life Insurance
Below is a definition of some important terms that will help you better understand Life Insurance.
Insured: The person whose life is covered by the policy
Sum insured/assured: The amount of life insurance coverage in Kenya Shillings that the insured has purchased from an insurance company.
Policy term: The duration of the policy. It could be a fixed duration e.g. 20 years, up to a certain age, or for the entire life of the insured person.
Premium: The amount of money paid periodically to the insurance company to keep the policy in force. This amount may be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
Life Insurance policy document: The actual physical document that contains all the terms, conditions and details of the contract between the insured and the insurance company.
Partial Maturity: Some types of life insurance policies pay a sum to the insured person before the end of the policy term. This sum is known as a partial maturity.
Beneficiary: The named person in the policy document who receives the benefit payment upon the demise of the insured person.
Bonuses: Some types of life insurance policies accrue bonuses that are paid out upon maturity of the policy. These bonuses may be guaranteed or discretionary based on company performance.
Surrender value: Some types of life insurance policy have a surrender value. This is usually after successful payment of the premium for at least three years. The insured can “surrender” the policy to the insurance company and receive this value if they can no longer afford to pay the premium or no longer want the policy.
Type of Life Insurance Policies
There are three main types of ordinary life insurance policies in Kenya.
These are undoubtedly the most common life insurance policies in Kenya. Endowment policies are for a fixed term e.g. 20 years. Most endowment policies pay out partial maturities at regular intervals and a final maturity upon the expiry of the policy term to the insured. In the event of the demise of the insured before the expiry of the policy term, the named beneficiary gets paid the sum assured. Endowment policies accrue bonuses and have a surrender value after three years of premium payment. The example of an endowment life policy in Kenya is an Education Policy.
Whole life policies in Kenyan are usually up to a certain age e.g Whole Life to age 65. The sum assured plus any accrued bonuses are paid to the beneficiary upon the demise of the insured person or to the insured person if s/he survives to policy maturity. Endowment policies accrue bonuses and have a surrender value after three years of premium payment.
Term life policies are pure life policies with no bonuses, surrender value or maturity payments. They offer a straight death benefit upon the demise of the life assured. The best example of term life policies in Kenya is credit life policies which pay the loan balance in the event a bank or mortgage customer passes away. The premium payment for credit life policies is usually bundled into the loan repayment amount.
Life insurance policies in Kenya are often sold with supplementary coverage. Some of the most common types of supplementary coverage include:
Accidental Death Rider – Additional coverage that pays an additional amount, typically 150 – 200% of the sum assured, upon the demise of the insured person through accidental death (as opposed to natural causes).
Critical Illness Rider – An additional sum, typically a stated percentage of the sum assured, paid to the insured person upon diagnosis of a critical illness specified in the policy.
Permanent and Total Disability Rider – Additional coverage that pays an additional amount, typically 150 – 200% of the sum assured, upon the permanent and total disability of the insured person.
Waiver of Premium Rider – A feature of the policy that waives future premium payments upon the occurrence of a named event e.g permanent and total disability.
Do You Need a Life Insurance Policy?
To answer this question, you need to ask answer a few key questions:
Do you have dependents?
Do you have assets?
Would the future of my dependents be secure in the event of my demise or would they need to cannibalize the assets I leave behind to get by?
Are you interested in a forced savings scheme to fund school fees, a wedding, land purchase, retirement or anything you desire?
If you have answered in the affirmative to at least three out of four questions above, then you should definitely consider purchasing a life insurance policy.
How Much Does it Cost?
The insurance premium you pay will depend on the following factors:
Your general health status. Medical examinations are typically required for sums assured greater than Kshs 5 million.
The sum insured/assured i.e. the total coverage needed.
To purchase the policy all you will need is to complete an application form and the insurance agent will advise you on the premium payable. Once the insurance company accepts the policy, you will be issued with a policy document.
If you are interested in purchasing a life insurance policy kindly request a quote or get in touch with us via our telephone number or contact form.