Established as a medical insurance provider, company now sets its goal to becoming an integrated financial service hub
By George Gichuki
Establishing a business from scratch and guiding it to achieve growth within a relatively short period of time is no mean achievement. It calls for a lot of patience, prudent management of resources and above all, resilience. Registered in 2002 as a medical insurer by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), Resolution Insurance has grown steadily over the last fifteen years. It is now one of the key players in the local insurance industry.
In 2013, the company made a strategic decision to diversify into general insurance as a result of the regulatory changes made by IRA. In that vein, Resolution Health East Africa acquired a license from IRA and became Resolution Insurance Limited. “This move positioned us as a one-stop – shop for all our clients’ needs and it has contributed a lot to our growth,” says Mr. James Wanjohi the General Manager, Medical Sales.
The fast growing underwriter has made significant contributions to the growth and development of the insurance industry locally and regionally since it was established fifteen years ago. It has done so by developing and offering innovative and protective insurance solutions. These solutions include: medical plans, travel plans, liability plans, property covers, motor covers and all other classes of general insurance.
Remarkably, the company’s short history has been marked by key milestones. To start with in 2005, Status Medical Administration of South Africa acquired a twenty per cent stake in Resolution Health East Africa. Secondly, in 2009, Resolution Health East Africa achieved a turnover of Kshs. 1 billion and a membership of 35,000. In 2010, the company was the winner of the customer satisfaction award (medical insurance category), during the seventh edition of the annual Think Business Insurance Awards. Come the following year (2011), it scooped a Chartered Institute of Marketing Excellence award for attaining 30% diversity in its board. In 2014, Leapfrog Investments acquired majority shareholding in Resolution Insurance. Moreover in 2017, the underwriter scooped the most innovative insurance company award during the Think Business Insurance Awards.
“We stand out in the highly competitive insurance industry because of offering innovative products as well as exemplary customer service and therefore, we have instilled confidence in our target market,” observes Mr. Wanjohi. The insurer was for instance the first insurance company in the market to offer maternity and HIV/AIDS covers.
In that regard, Resolution Insurance has established an emerging consumer department and developed products to meet the needs of its fast growing clientele through research and development. A good example of such a product is the ‘Ziara’ accident emergency cover targeted to the emerging consumer. The product caters for emergency treatment that may be occasioned by an accident while travelling by a motor vehicle. This includes ambulance transfer services as well as last respect expenses. Ziara is competitively priced and it is therefore affordable by many travellers in the low income bracket.
Insurance is a critical tool in mitigating risks by pooling of resources. Nevertheless, the penetration rate of insurance in Kenya is low compared to countries in the developed world and South Africa. One of the major causes of this unfortunate trend is that most of the people in the country do not have adequate knowledge regarding the value of insurance in safeguarding the loss of their property and even lives. “More often than not, many people buy insurance after a misfortune has struck them because they are not properly informed,” laments Mr. Wanjohi. It is against this background that the Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) has been organizing campaigns so as to create awareness regarding the importance of insurance and how customers can access products that they are offered by its members.
Secondly, most Kenyans are in the low income bracket and therefore, much as they may be willing, it is hard for them to afford insurance products. To address this challenge, a number of underwriters in the country have developed products targeting the mass market. Such products are priced in a way that they can be afforded by this market segment.
Furthermore, matters have been made worse for the insurance industry by those players who mishandle the payment of genuine claims, at times even failing to honour them altogether. Needless to say, this has tarnished the name of the industry with potential customers shunning its products, irrespective of their immense benefits.
“We have stamped our authority within the last fifteen years as a reliable and strong underwriter and the future can only be better,” affirms Mr. Wanjohi. Going by its good track record, the solid company with a selection of ten branches across Kenya namely: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Meru, Nyeri, Kisii, Nakuru, Kitengela and Thika as well as a regional branch in Tanzania, is planning to continue reinventing itself. It shall become an integrated financial hub offering banking, fund management and insurance. In that regard, it has already established Resolution Credit – a financing arm of the business. Clearly then, Resolution Insurance has already taken the right path towards the achievement of that audacious goal.