Sep 01, 2014

New Low-Cost Medical Insurance at the Touch of a Button

Kenyans will soon have access to more affordable healthcare as Britam, in conjunction with Safaricom and Changamka, launches a new medical insurance product that can be managed using a mobile phone. The three companies have officially unveiled Linda Jamii, a medical insurance package which allows users to access health care as soon as their premiums hit KES 6000.

“Linda Jamii is a timely product at a time when cancer, diabetes and other potentially expensive illnesses are on the rise,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore in a written statement. “It is worrying that more than 35 million Kenyans are still not able to access timely and quality healthcare because most insurance products are designed to suit high income earners,” he added.

In order to target a lower income bracket, the product will have an annual premium of KES 12,000 per family. After the first deposit is paid, families will have up to six months to pay the difference.

“Linda Jamii will have an inpatient cover of KES 200,000,” said Britam Managing Director, Steven Wandera. He noted that it would provide an outpatient cover of KES 50,000 per family, per annum. it will also come with a maternity cover and a hospitalization income replacement benefit of KES 500 per day to take care of lost income while in hospital. Speaking during the product’s launch ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi, he mentioned that health services would be offered through leading public and mission hospitals.

How to Register

The registration process only takes a few minutes. By simply dialing *525#, you can top up your account at any time. The service only requires the ID numbers of the subscriber and their spouse, their date of birth, their place of residence and the name of their nearest health center. Applicants will receive a Linda Jamii card with a unique registration number.

To sweeten the deal, Safaricom allows users to top up other peoples accounts as well. What’s more, the product allows policy holders to cover their spouses and their children. All you need is an M-Pesa account and a national ID Card.

For those who cannot afford to pay for the product in one lump sum, Linda Jamii allows users to save their money through incremental M-Pesa deposits until they can reach a minimum premium of KES 6000. After that, they have six months with which to clear the difference and make it to KES 12,000.

“Linda Jamii has distributors in supermarkets that will ‘force’ healthcare into your shopping basket,” said Changamka CEO, Samuel Agutu. He mentioned that Uchumi Supermarkets had already partnered with the three organisations in a bid to promote the service.

Agutu noted that Changamka had installed an end to end internet based electronic platform hosted on the Safaricom cloud. The system has the capacity to manage more than 100 million insurance policies.

The product comes at a time when the insurance sector is at a concerning penetration rate of 3%. Despite this small margin, the sector appears to be growing.

Earlier this month, the Authority reported that the insurance industry’s premiums, assets, investments and share holder funds all recorded a growth between January and June 2012. Underwritten premiums during this period increased 23.7% to KES 55 billion from KES 44 billion.

According to the Insurance Regulatory Authority’s (IRA) quarterly unaudited returns submitted by the insurance companies, the total value of the industry assets during the period under review hit KES 272.3 billion up from KES 232.3 billion.

This was attributed to the growing understanding and appreciation of the importance of insurance among members of the public. This is also coupled with enhanced consumer education activities being conducted by both the  IRA and other industry players.

On the other hand, Linda Jamii is still in its pilot phase. The three will release it in Nairobi throughout the remaining course of this year before branching out to all the Counties across Kenya. They hope that the expansion process will kick off in January 2013.