Regional underwriter CIC Insurance Group, the market leader in providing insurance services to the co-operatives holds firm as the dominant player in the sector with significant control of the business. What keeps the company on track? The company’s Co-operatives Division General Manager Richard Nyekenogo shares with Malachi Motano of Sacco Review.
According to the General Manager, Co-operative sector is the company’s mainstay client hence the need to come up with relevant products and services to their needs and even at individual level.
“Co-operatives are our most valued shareholders, business partners and so we always look for ways and opportunities to strengthen our relationship for mutual benefit while contributing to the growth of the co-operative movement,” said Mr Nyakenogo.
The CIC Insurance Group, therefore targets savings and credit co-operative societies (Saccos) to increase their penetration, widen its market share and empower more people economically through its customer-centric services.
As a result CIC group has developed very competitive products that are indeed suitable for its customers.
“We do understand our customers’ needs through our interactions which have helped us meet their needs. There are Fosa cooperatives, marketing Cooperatives, transport, housing and investment cooperatives and the agricultural based cooperatives. As a company we have looked at their desired needs according to their structured ways of doing business, and have developed very attractive products, that they desire to push their businesses including the membership that they have,” he said.
He says co-operatives sector has mobilised a combined savings of over $2.5 billion and employs over 300,000 people besides providing loans. CIC notes that all these people require a secure and comfortable retirement. Through its Jipange Pension Plan, CIC Insurance Group will safeguard their future,” he noted.
He says one thing the company has done very well is spreading its branch networks. Currently it has about 25 branches spread out strategically to meet all cooperative and Sacco’s leaders as well as members from various spheres.
“The company has branches from Kilifi, Mombasa all the way to Busia, Kakamega and Bungoma on the far end, making sure that all members in those areas are served well. So that is the strategy for CIC business to enable any co-operator looking for insurance service to easily walk to those places and be served,” GM said.
He admits that Co-operatives play active role in development by investing in every sector of the economy to boost wealth creation, food security and employment generation and hence contribute to poverty alleviation.
“Insurance is appropriately designed to meet the needs of co-operatives and can contribute to the development of the sector,” he stated, urging co-operative leaders to sensitise their members on insurance issues.
Nyakenogo encourages the CEOs or leaders of various co-operative societies to work on networking and take part in activities that will make them more visible in the society as this will open up lobbying opportunities for them.
The Saccos are organised into service and producer entities and cut across various sectors, more prominently in agriculture, marketing, banking, credit, diary, fishing and transport.
CIC considers a co-operative model of insurance, which is more successful in giving services to low-income population, adding, “Our unique concern for ordinary Kenyans has given us exceptional appeal to many people.”
The Sacco has developed very competitive rates for their clients in conjunction with Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA).
“Remembers, developing products is one and coming up with the rate is a another so, together with IRA have come up with rates and have shared for approval by IRA. This motivates our interaction and business acquisition with our customer,” he said.
The Sacco has also a desired the need of ensuring that the response towards claim settlement is done in a timely manner.
“Generally all the other products that we have in the company once they are sold, the clients and the clients are in a position of suffering a risk; we come very quickly to mitigate the risk. This is what has kept us going together with the movement because they know we keep our word as we promised when we were getting premiums from those organisations. So this excellent claim settlement is a key item for us,” he says.
To maintain or build customers confidence, the company has also structured visits to clients on set periods, which has helped in learning their expectations and even challenges.
The Company is fully embracing use of digital platforms for personal engagements with a view of unveiling products and services.
“As you know we may have clients who don’t even need to come to the offices, they can access our services through the platforms that we have. We have online services which can be accesses onslaught from wherever they are, and they can pay their premiums as well, to CIC through the other online platforms that we have.
During the on-going Covid 19 pandemic, the group identified essential staff in the various departments at the subsidiaries that we have work in the office but enabled the rest of the staff to work from home, in a manner that ensured that work was not interrupted. This enabled the company to run normally.
He group also offers personalised services to clients through enhanced relationship management. “It is very cardinal because if we don’t understand every customer’s unique value propositions, it will be very difficult for us to serve them fairly since various clients have various ways they are being handled,” GM.
The company has also structured trainings for the cooperative leaders across the country which works very well in making them updated of the new products and services it offers.