NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – Madison Insurance Company has launched two new products specifically designed to cover cancer patients following research that showed that cancer as one of the most prevalent of diseases.
Madison Insurance limited on Monday unveiled two unique insurance covers that are specifically designed and tailored to suit both men and women – ‘Bima Dada’ and ‘Bima Chali’.
Announcing the launch of the product Managing Director, Frank Muchiri said: “We realise that men and women are today more vulnerable to cancer, and hence sort this by offering a prostate and cervical cancer cover that is equivalent to 25 percent of the sum assured.”
‘Bima Dada’ and ‘Bima Chali’ covers will offer free medical tests for prostate and cervical cancer, life covers for both genders of Sh500,000 without medical examination and regular cash payouts during the term.
Mr Muchiri added: “The covers are as result of realizing that investment and insurance are most valued by majority of Kenyans who are committed to securing their future and want to live comfortably.”
Madison Insurance is a composite company writing both general and life business. It records a total premium income of Sh1.5 billion in year 2008. It has developed the products for young professionals and self employed males and females.
The covers have come at a time when the government has continuously demonstrated its commitment in strengthening the financial services sector by proposing various amendments touching on the insurance sector in the 2008/9 budget.
“We also plan to roll off mobile brand clinics nationally to recruit more policy holders and increase sensitisation on the importance of insurance.”
The holiday tax that insurance companies have been vying for as early as 2007, has not come to pass.
“The business of government is collecting taxes, if they can they will. It basically involves the changing of registration which does not come easy and the government’s agenda has been busy with all the political alignments,” he said.
Insurance companies have always been heavily taxed through – corporate tax, re-insurance tax, policy holder’s tax which stops many investors from entering the market.
“Capital has gone up from Sh150-Sh450 million by 2010 for us. That’s a huge increase for an industry that is basically trying to grow, to increase the penetration of life insurance particularly the life side of it at 0.7 GDP,” stated Mr Muchiri.
The high tax has not allowed insurance companies to plough back some of their money to grow business or get quality investors. The existing Act needs to be revised so as to allow companies more flexibility.
“The way the Act was set up, it puts encumbrances in terms of flexibility. Insurance companies are over-regulated and that obviously ties their hands on what they can and cannot do particularly in areas of investment by putting money in instruments that give us the best returns without adverse risk exposure.”
Section 50 of the Insurance Act grounds insurance money in government Treasury Bonds and Bills. Madison insurance believes that this should be reviewed by the government such as, investment policies, management expenses and sovereignty issues.
“Like now, we have 25 percent in government Treasury Bills maybe earning at maximum 4-5 percent, now that is a very low return. The government should create flexibility while also taking care of risk exposure,” he stated.
The insurance industry has put their recommendations for the review of investment in the existing Investment Act such as sections 50, 70 and others so as to bring it to current business practices and to make insurance companies competitive.