Photo: Reuters
INTERNATIONAL - Pan-African reinsurance company, ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) on Thursday called on companies to embrace technology and help expand access to insurance service.

Hope Murera, ZEP-RE managing director said the insurance industry was ripe for innovation and that disruption through adoption of technology designed to achieve savings and efficiency was long overdue.

"The insurance industry the world over has been slower to innovate compared to the rest of the financial sector which has motivated ZEP-RE to champion innovation at the industry level in this regard through forums such as this," Murera told a regional forum in Nairobi.

She said the insurance industry the world over is undergoing disruption and Africa is no exception. "It is against this background that ZEP-RE has organized this forum to brainstorm and share ideas meant to ensure that the insurance industry players are able to seize opportunities arising from this inevitable disruption," Murera said.

She said the insuretech forum is a follow-up to earlier initiatives including CEO forums held previously in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria to create awareness around the opportunities digital disruption presents and how the industry should prepare itself to harness opportunities. 

Murera said harnessing technology is one of the levers ZEP-RE aims to use to deliver its mandate of increasing insurance penetration in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region and the continent at large.

The forum was to bring to the fore the need for insurance companies to collaborate to develop technologies that transform and disrupt the insurance value chain for growth and efficiency.

The forum was followed by Insuretech forum, which brought together aspiring and established Insuretech service providers and insurance industry players. ZEP-RE chairman William Erio said the insurance businesses, both in individual and regional markets had experienced challenges ranging from access to services and products.

Low levels of penetration and appreciation of the importance of insurance services due to low levels of financial literacy, and moral hazards such as fraud were impacting on the proper growth of the industry, Erio said.

He, however, noted that ZEP-RE was willing to support efforts to promote insurance inclusivity and financial deepening in the region. "As a Company we are willing to support initiatives that will ease access to insurance especially by the low- middle income population," Erio said.

Kenya Association of Insurers CEO Tom Guchuhi said the sector should take innovation seriously to stave off the current decline. "The sector needs to think seriously about innovation and do it collaboratively," Gichui said.

XINHUA