NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27- Local insurance players are angling to get a share of an estimated Sh 2 billion marine insurance segment in 2017.
The new segment has been created after the government’s directive demanding importers to sign up with local underwriters.
The law (Section 20 of the Insurance Act)- which was long ignored before it was recently activated by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich – is intended to reverse the scenario in which an estimated 90 percent of importers use policies offered by foreign firms.
CIC Managing Director of General Insurance Elijah Wachira has said local importers stand to reap bigger benefits from taking marine insurance policies from local companies.
For starters, enforcing settlements of claims will be better done locally.
“In the event that an insurer does not settle an obligation, there’s nothing much a person can do if the company is foreign. However in the local scene, the client can take the company to the Insurance Regulatory Authority where the Authority will enforce the claim that is payable,” Wachira said.
At the same time, taking the policy from a local company will also benefit the exchequer that is set to earn revenue.
The road to implementing the Act is however not without hurdles. Wachira says a majority of importers – like the general Kenyan population – still do not understand the importance of taking insurance with most only doing so for compliance reasons.
The industry watchdog is, however, doing its part to ensure the process of signing up for the cover is smooth. At CIC for instance, the process of signing up for the cover is digitalized to ensure potential clients can access it with ease.
“The benefit of digitalizing the process is that one can access the insurance certificate from anywhere in the world. What’s more premium payments can be done via mobile money transfer.”
Marine insurance is a policy that provides cover for goods while in transit either by sea, air, rail or road up to the warehouse. It is one of the oldest insurance covers in the world.
Elijah Wachira breaks down Marine insurance in the video below: