AN INSURTECH ACCELERATOR FOR INNOVATORS WORKING TO CREATE THE FUTURE OF INSURANCE IN AFRICA
The program offers startups and innovators practical support for venture development, encompassing training, mentorship, coaching, and policy advocacy.
“For the deep dive sessions, we were taught how to run a small start-up, specifically an insurTech. So it was very insightful just from the point of view of knowing your business and how you can manage the business as the founder and the director of that company,”
Kenya’s insurance market struggles with a very low penetration, as traditional providers are criticized for offering inadequate products at high prices. However, insurTech is rapidly addressing this issue by offering solution-oriented and personalized insurance products to meet growing demand. As more innovators enter insurTech, the need for affordable programs to refine ideas and connect with partners is growing. BimaLab, an insurTech accelerator, stands out as a program supporting innovators in shaping the future of insurance in Africa.
The Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa-backed program recently released several beneficiaries of the accelerator to the market, having helped them refine their start-up ideas. FSD Africa carried out the program with several partners, including the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) of Kenya.
Brian Ndege, CEO of KaroPay Credit, own struggles with university fees inspired a credit solution to ease parental school fee pressures. Recognizing cash flow challenges for parents, the company innovatively combined a credit product with an education policy, aiming for a unique approach in the market.
KAROPAY’S SCHOOL FEE SAVINGS AND CREDIT PRODUCTS
The savings product, called M-Soma, allows parents to save as little as Sh10 towards school fees and build a credit score to get an overdraft facility tied to the savings level. Those who save via M-Soma get a free life insurance cover, which means their children can access education even in the unfortunate event of death.
FROM IDEA TO REALITY
“Before, we had focused more on the credit end, but we had ideas in insurance. After the accelerator, the products on insurance came to light.” For Mr Ndege, the accelerator program has given KaroPay the momentum to boost insurance uptake. He says he has seen a huge uptake of the microinsurance policy from the schools where KaroPay is piloting the products. This gives him the confidence of massive uptake when they eventually move to commercial launch.
“The day that we’ll see students not dropping out of schools because of school fees, the day that we see that schools are managed smoothly, the day we see no one will be out of schools because of medical issues, that’s when we’ll say KaroPay’s a success.”
BimaLab has been instrumental in facilitating the effective exchange of information relating to deepening access to financial services and opportunities for entrepreneurs across Africa. Working with a senior manager at NuaPay, a global insurTech, as a mentor also meant that the KaroPay co-founders got first-hand global experience on how to start, run and grow an insurTech. FSD Africa’s BimaLab has provided innovators with an enabling regulatory environment for developing their ideas, including support in starting, training, mentorship and coaching.
BimaLab Accelerator has supported the emergence of the next generation of InsurTech companies and is slowly but surely helping deepen access to financial products and services across Kenya and Africa. The BimaLab accelerator program has played a crucial role in helping Kenya emerge as a regional hub for the innovation of insurance and financial services.