UNDERWRITING

Insurers thrive despite Covid hurdles, premiums hit Sh232bn

Claims incurred under the general insurance business slightly dropped to Sh57.3 billion.

In Summary

•The medical class recorded the highest underwriting profit, which stood at Sh1.30 billion.

•Motor private and motor commercial classes of general insurance business incurred losses of Sh3.33 billion and Sh2.11 billion respectively.

Insurance Regulatory Authority(IRA) stand at a past conference in Nairobi/FILE
Insurance Regulatory Authority(IRA) stand at a past conference in Nairobi/FILE

The insurance sector has continued to record good business in the pandemic period, with notable profit being realised in the medical segment.

Gross written premiums grew 1.8 per cent last year to close at Sh232.9 billion, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) data shows, up from Sh228.8 billion the previous year.

This came as the medical class recorded the highest underwriting profit, which stood at Sh1.30 billion.

Motor private and motor commercial classes of general insurance business incurred losses of Sh3.33 billion and Sh2.11 billion respectively, even as claims incurred under the general insurance business slightly dropped to Sh57.3 billion, from Sh57.6 billion the previous year.

General insurance business underwriting results improved from a loss of Sh2.97 billion in 2019 to a loss of Sh1.18 billion in 2020, the insurance industry report for the period January–December, released yesterday, indicates.

“This could be due to decrease in incurred claims and management expenses during the lockdown due Covid,” the regulator, led by chief executive Godfrey Kiptum said.

During the year, general insurance premiums amounted to Sh130.84 billion.

The premium reported by the long-term insurers amounted to Sh102.12 billion, a growth of 4.5 per cent compared to a growth of 11.9 per cent the previous year.

The depressed growth may be due to the effect of Covid-19, IRA notes, even as long-term insurers’ asset base grew by 10.4 per cent to Sh499.13 billion and largely composed of income-generating investments of Sh461.88 billion.

Of the total assets, 10.5 per cent (Sh52.59 billion) was funded through shareholders’ equity.

Government securities dominate the long-term insurance investments segment accounting for 75.5 per cent of the portfolio.

Investment in property accounts for 10 per cent, quoted ordinary shares (5.1 per cent), while others account for the remaining 9.4 per cent.

They include term deposits, loans and mortgages, unquoted ordinary shares, investment in subsidiaries, and other securities.

Kenya has generally experienced low levels of insurance penetration over the recent past at 2.34 per cent compared to other markets in the African continent such as South Africa (14.3 per cent) and Morocco (3.83 per cent).

According to the industry regulator, penetration has been gradually declining in the last five years with a vast population of low income, as well as micro and small businesses, generally not covered.

The global average insurance penetration rate is 7.23 per cent, industry data show.

In the country, seven out of twenty-four insurers control a market share of at least five per cent each, of the total GPI under long-term insurance business segment by the end of quarter four 2020.

The remaining seventeen companies controlled 25.8 per cent of the market.