, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – Barclays Africa Group Limited has formally entered the Kenyan life insurance market with the launch of Barclays Life Assurance Kenya.
Barclays Life Assurance Kenya is majority owned (66.6pc) by Barclays Africa Group Limited and has local Kenyan shareholding which includes businessmen Darshan Chandaria, Director and Group CEO of Chandaria Industries Limited and Ayisi Makatiani of Fanisi Capital Limited.
Kenya is the fifth market in which Barclays Africa has set up a life insurance business. Other markets include South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. Barclays Africa will use Kenya as its launch pad to enter into the greater East African region.
Willie Lategan, Chief Executive of Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance at Barclays Africa says “Barclays Africa wants to extend its footprint of holistic financial products and services across the continent in the most convenient, accessible and affordable way possible to meet the evolving needs of customers. Our entry into the Kenyan Life Insurance market provides us with a strong platform to further expand our offering into East Africa.”
Among the products that Barclays Life Assurance Kenya will offer are Education Products, Credit Life and Personal Accident. The insurer is also offering Funeral Cover for immediate and extended family. The underwriter will initially target the bank’s half a million customers through Barclays Bank Kenya’s 122 branches.
Last year, Kenyan insurance premiums were valued at Sh162 billion, the equivalent of 3.5pc of the country’s GDP. The Kenyan insurance sector is beginning to register accelerated growth and the country was ranked the third fastest growing life insurance market in the world last year. This is predominantly being driven by a growing middle class, increased consumer awareness and the launch of innovative products.
“The life insurance market in Kenya is registering 20pc year on year growth, but our sector still represents a tiny fraction of the country’s rapidly expanding economy. Barclays Life Assurance Kenya will enable more Kenyans to protect themselves against life’s misfortunes as well as to save for long-term aspirations, such as education and retirement,” says William Maara, Managing Director of Barclays Life Assurance Kenya.
“We want society to appreciate the liberation that insurance provides and the added dignity of being self-reliant at all stages of life, whether one is paying school fees or organising a loved one’s send-off”.
Barclays Bank Kenya was awarded a bancassurance license by the Insurance Regulatory Authority earlier this year. This allowed it to set up Barclays Insurance Agency Limited, offering both life and general insurance products. The bank is one of ten in Kenya that offer customers insurance products and the only one currently operating a pure bancassurance model, meaning it will use its branch network to sell insurance products alongside other financial services.
Speaking during the launch, Barclays Bank’s Managing Director Jeremy Awori said, “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the Barclays brand and it represents our first step towards the creation of new and innovative business in Kenya. We will leverage our expansive distribution network, our legacy of offering quality financial advice in the country and our regional and global expertise to provide our customers with cutting edge insurance products and quality service.”
Although owned by Barclays Africa, Barclays Bank of Kenya and Barclays Life Assurance Kenya are autonomous companies reporting to separate boards and management teams.