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Kenyan traders get low insurance premiums

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – People in the low income segment and their families will now be insured against risks such as death, disability and diseases for a minimum premium of Sh200.

This follows the launch of a credit life product between MicroEnsure and Apollo Life Assurance which Chief Executive Officer Piyush Shah said is designed to cushion such traders and ensure that their lives and businesses are not impacted by such risks.

“This (cover) ensures that the borrower’s businesses continue undisrupted without the lending institutions calling back for their monies lent in case the borrower suffers from any of the mentioned events,” he explained.

In such a case, the insurance firm would settle the loan directly to the Microfinance Institution and the business would “automatically reverts to the borrowers’ family with no outstanding loans to services thereon,” he added.

After the events of the 2007 general election, many insurance firms have come up with products to try and shield small businesses from these kinds of losses. 

While signing the agreement, Mr Shah said local microfinance institutions have already shown their willingness to take up the product with firms such as Pamoja Women Development Program and Jitegemea Credit Scheme which have over 55,000 members already signing up for the product.

The move, he added, would enable them to reach their target of one million lives by the end of this year.

Moses Banda the Country Manager of MicroEnsure Kenya whose parent company has launched similar covers in emerging markets such as Tanzania, Ghana and Bangladesh added that they would continue to add value to their insurance products and come up with innovative ones that can make a difference in the lives of the poor.

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“There is a huge market if only we can develop products to protect the poor. In the past, conventional insurance companies have been protecting the elite but we want to look at the low end of the market because there’s demand here,” he pointed out.

Mr Banda said they were conducting training programs for their clients to help demystify micro insurance.

He further disclosed that they would later in the year launch new products such as covers against crop failure, animal insurance and health related products for the poor.

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