Three insurtech startups located in Kenya, East Africa have received KSH1.25mn (US$1.15mn) in cash awards from an innovation hub led by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) after being recognised for their ability to impact “increased access to insurance in underserved markets”. According to the IRA, this was achieved through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Telematics.
The IRA’s innovation hub, in collaboration with Prudential, UK-Kenya Tech Hub, Tellistic, and the UK Department for International Trade launched the Bima Lab Accelerator Program to help innovators refine their value proposition, determine commercial viability, and provide opportunities to scale their solutions through partnerships and participation in the IRA sandbox. The financial reward would support the growth of the winning participants’ solution, the IRA said.
The Bima Lab Accelerator Programme
Around twenty startup organisations took part in the first programme, out of which eight were shortlisted for an intensive six-week training and mentorship programme. According to the IRA, AiCare, Chamasure, and Sprout Insurance demonstrated innovation, growth, and scalability in their offering and overall excellent participation throughout the programme, enabling them to receive financial support from Prudential and the opportunity to participate in the IRA sandbox.
The prize money plans to be used to further refine the companies’ proposition and scale of solutions to enhance financial inclusion, the IRA said. Prudential Life Assurance Kenya CEO, Gwen Kinisu, said the company is looking to increase financial inclusion in the insurance sector.
“We believe that our purpose is to help people make the most out of their lives. We provided the technical mentorship and guidance to help the participants refine their value propositions and accelerate commercial viability. We believe that such programs also provide us, Prudential, with the opportunity to learn and partner as we ourselves evolve into a digitally enabled insurer”, she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the IRA, Godfrey Kiptum, said: “The objective of this program is to bring in innovators and also promote inclusivity of insurance, which is key to driving the financial inclusion agenda. Many Kenyans believe they are not insurable but with these innovative products, we hope to insure more Kenyans. We also want to encourage and motivate local innovators to come up with more solutions to meet the needs of low-income persons”.