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IRA signs partners to drive innovation in insurance sector

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20- FSD Africa, the Insurance Regulatory Authority, and Tellistic Technology Services have launched BimaLab, a Sh5.3 million accelerator program designed to support Kenyan innovators to develop innovative solutions for the insurance sector.

According to the partners, the BimaLab accelerator program will emulate global best practices to build Kenya’s most competitive and attractive start-up accelerator program.

Through the program, 12 innovators will benefit from a ten-week program that provides them with expertise, resources, and support to develop and scale market-ready solutions.

The investment follows a successful pilot ran in collaboration by IRA Kenya, the UK-Kenya Tech Hub, the UK Department of Trade, Prudential Life Assurance, and implemented by Tellistic Technology Services in January 2021.

The pilot identified eight early and mid-stage start-ups with solutions for a cross-section of industry sectors including general insurance, health, and agriculture.

The pilot program culminated in 3 of the start-ups receiving a grant award of Sh1.25 million each, for a total of Sh3.75 million sponsored by Prudential Life Assurance Kenya.

While technology has solved inherent challenges around financial inclusion, access to healthcare, and the delivery of government services, its potential within the insurance sector remains untapped. Technology can help expand insurance coverage by delivering products that are tailored for low-income consumers, particularly women, smallholder farmers and gig economy workers.

Innovations developed through BimaLab could also benefit consumers outside of Kenya. As part of the programme, IRA will collaborate with regulators from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania to build an enabling environment that supports the uptake of insurance innovations across Africa.

FSD Africa Director, Risk and Resilience Kevin Massingham said, “At FSD Africa, we are committed to the growth of the insurance sector and are excited to be involved in grooming the next generation of insurance innovators. By supporting start-up innovators through the BimaLab II accelerator program, we will not only enhance insurance coverage but also deliver insurance solutions that are both convenient and efficient.”

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IRA Chief Executive Officer Godfrey Kiptum added,  “The Authority was keen on enhancing insurtech initiatives as it seeks to promote the development of the insurance market and thereby increase financial access and inclusion. We have identified market development as a key pillar towards financial access and inclusion and to realize this, we have put in place deliberate measures to enhance insurtech and the Bimalab is one such initiative.”

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