Equity ventures into insurance business

Equity ventures into insurance business

IRA chief executive Godfrey Kiptum with Equity Group CEO James Mwangi during the issuance of a licence allowing the Group to run an insurance business /HANDOUT Equity has ventured into the insurance business in what could shake up the market and help grow penetration to above the current 2.2 per cent.

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) yesterday issued a license to Equity Group, which comes into the industry as Equity Life Assurance (Kenya ) Limited, a fully fledged business with separate structures and commercial arrangements.

It becomes the newest entrant into the insurance market, taking the total number of licensed insurance companies to 57, with five re-insurance firms operating in the country.

Equity which grew by targeting low, middle-income earners and SMEs is expected to impact the long-term business in the insurance sector currently with a gross direct premiums value of above Sh233.1 billion.

Six of the initial 56 underwriters controlled up to 70 per cent of the long-term Gross Premium Income, IRA data for the second quarter of 2021 indicates.

They are Britam with a 21.3 per cent market share, ICEA Lion Life Assurance (16.2%), Jubilee (11.5%), Kenindia Assurance Company(8.1%), Sanlam Life(6.9%) and CIC Life (5.6%). The rest of the companies accounted for the remaining 30 per cent.

Insurance group Britam has been offloading its shares in Equity, an indicator it was preparing for the incoming competition.

Last month, Britam sold 253.1 million shares of Equity Group Holdings to the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

This came after it offloaded 20.1 million shares with a market value of Sh852 million in June.

The move by Equity comes about two years after the lender’s board endorsed the plan to set up a conglomerate that will oversee all insurance business for Equity Group Holdings, in March 2020.

The lender for the past 14 years acted as a bancassurance intermediary, having been incorporated (Equity Bancassurance Intermediary Limited) in December 2006, and later licensed in May 2007.Most banks operate bancassurance interBritam, which in 2019 held 275.7 million shares of the lender equivalent to a 7.3 per cent stake, has been reducing the concentration of its investment in the institution which often represents more than 10 per cent of its total assets.mediaries but do not have fully fledged standalone insurance businesses."We felt the need to make our contribution to the insurance industry and we believe we can make insurance to be understood better by the ordinary person", Group MD and CEO James Mwangi said […]

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