NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – In its efforts to make insurance and investment services more accessible by tapping into the newly devolved counties of Kenya, Britam has announced plans to expand its branch distribution network in Kenya, targeting to open four branches in 2013.
Speaking at the launch of its Machakos Branch, Britam Insurance Regional Director Stephen Wandera said the new devolved government creates an ideal platform for Britam to reach more consumers, and launch of the Machakos branch marks the start of a renewed countrywide expansion strategy to build capacity at county level, and increase points of contacts with consumers.
“The branches opened in 2012 in Bungoma, Kitengela, Kakamega, Kericho, Naivasha, Nyahururu and Murang’a have already achieved tremendous growth,” he added.
Wandera also said that while there exist many challenges in the insurance and investment services sector, lack of awareness and knowledge on the importance of these services remains the biggest hindrance to growth of the sector.
“As we expand into the counties, we will endeavour to work closely with stakeholders in each county, identify key challenges and develop products which are tailor-made to suit the needs of Kenyans in each region,” said Wandera.
Wandera also added that the company is investing in technology to enhance consumer experience and convenience while interacting with Britam products.
Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) CEO Sammy Makove, who was represented by Wilson Wachira, The Head of Long Term Supervision said that they are encouraged by the enthusiasm of investment companies like Britam, in appreciating the opportunities that the new devolved government provides and this is in line with IRA’s own strategy of actively working with county governments to increase consumer confidence in insurance and investment sector.
“The authority has already embarked on an education programme to increase the capacity of underwriters at the county levels, creating a pool of insurance agents in all 47 counties,” Makove added.
Machakos County Governor Alfred Mutua termed the opening of Britam offices timely. In his speech, read on his behalf by Machakos County Secretary, Mutua said that a large population of Machakos County, just like several of other counties across Kenya consists of low income families and informal sector workers who have little access to formal financial services for the management of risks.
“Insurance and Investment companies like Britam will be instrumental in reversing this trend by providing necessary information and also providing products that are suitable for these consumers.” Mutua said.
Mutua also said that his office will provide the necessary support to Britam and other investment companies expanding to the county.
Britam has grown tremendously in the last 47 years having evolved from a home service life insurance company to a diversified financial services group with composite insurance businesses, asset management business and property development. The company now boosts sixteen branches countrywide.