Rwanda’s insurance sector has huge potential - new insurer

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BK General Insurance Board Chairperson Sandra Rwamushaija (L) and Bank of Kigali CEO Dr Diane Karusisi unveiling the logo of the new insurance company yesterday. Faustin Niyigena

The local insurance sector has gotten a boost following the official launch of BK General Insurance yesterday, a development that could help increase penetration levels.

Speaking at the event, Alex Bahizi, the BK General Insurance chief executive officer, said Rwanda’s insurance industry still has huge untapped potential that the firm will exploit to drive up penetration levels.

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BK General Insurance CEO Alex N. Bahizi flanked by Rwamushaija and Karusisi as he adressed the media after the launch. Faustin Niyigena.

Rwanda’s insurance penetration rate stands at about 2 per cent, below Africa’s and the East African region’s average of 3.5 and 3 per cent, respectively.

The new insurer is subsidiary of Rwanda’s biggest lender in terms of assets, Bank of Kigali.

“We look to offer a whole new service experience to customers - an efficient, timely and seamless service. We promise a short, clear and customer-friendly claim process,” he said.

Bahizi said the firm will focus on deepening uptake levels through innovative products that will bring more Rwandans on board.

“We will not be joining any price wars. We shall apply standard and adequate rates and leverage service experience as our competitive edge. Secondly, we will underwrite businesses with relatively reasonable risk,” he said during the launch in Kigali.

The insurer was licensed by the National Bank of Rwanda as the sector’s eleventh player in March last year and started operations in September.

Speaking at the event, Dr Diane Karusisi, the Bank of Kigali chief executive officer, said the insurance firm allows the lender to operate as a one-stop centre for financial services.

“We believe this is a convenient way of serving customers better. For instance, a customer will be able to get, say a mortgage loan from Bank of Kigali, and have the asset insured by BK General Insurance. These are two core services that will be obtained under one roof in a safe, convenient and fast manner,” said Karusisi.

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Top officials from the bank and the new insurer in a group photo. Faustin Niyigena.

Karusisi added that as Bank of Kigali celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, venturing into the insurance services should assure clients that the bank is taking its operations to next level.

“We are not about to slow down, but rather expanding and in the process create jobs, support domestic investment and power national development. We seek to transform and safeguard customers’ wealth with these services,” she said.

The insurer offers a range of general insurance products, including motor private and commercial comprehensive cover, and third party policies, as well as property cover against fire.

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Some of the staff of the insurance company pose for a photo yesterday at Kigali Marriott Hotel. Faustin Niyigena.