More small-and-medium firms (SMEs) could access affordable insurance services following the entry of regional financial services company Britam into the Rwandan market.
Speaking during the launch of the company’s operations in Kigali on Friday, Britam’s regional director Stephen Wandera said they will mainly focus on products tailored to serve the SME sector needs to ensure that a big number of them are insured.
Wandera noted that most of the SME businesses operate without insurance cover, transferring risks to their balance sheets.
“Whenever there is a fire outbreak or a worker is hospitalised, it is the company that foots the bill because they don’t have insurance cover to take care of such risks,” he said.
He said the firm would engage sector stakeholders and educate the masses about the importance of insurance, as well as roll-out efficient product distribution mechanisms and new products.
“This is important because there is low insurance uptake in Rwanda due to lack of relevant and affordable products, as well as poor distribution channels,” he explained.
According to the central bank statistics, 1.6 per cent of the population had insurance cover by the end last year.
Wandera said Britam would also capitalise on the fact that over 64 per cent of Rwandans own mobile phones to deliver their services.
“Mobile telephony has provided a big solution to infrastructure that we cannot ignore. It is one of the components that we will leverage in the delivery of our services.”
Wandera added that the company would also transfer its know-how into the local market by training Rwandan commissioned agents, insurance under-writers and accountants.
“This will increase the insurance industry skills pool, provide jobs and enhance service delivery.”
While presiding over the function, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, said Britam’s entry into the local market would increase competition in the sector, an ingredient that will push insurers to provide better services.