How important is Mentorship for your Career?

By Gladys Maina

I am lucky to have a mentor who believes in my capabilities and skills. Someone who is always open, willing and ready to guide and correct. I am even luckier to be in spaces that offer mentorship as one of the key areas for career development.

Mentorship is defines as a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced and knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or knowledgeable person in terms of skills, behaviour and advice.

Based on that definition, it is therefore no doubt how important and crucial mentorship is for all professionals. Here are three key lessons that mentorship has taught me so far;

  1. Believe in yourself

Without mentorship or the constant reminder and encouragement by a mentor, many of us would never have believed in ourselves or in our capabilities. Without mentorship, I’m certain most of us would never have ventured into the unknown or uncomfortable paths required for our careers to blossom and prosper. This is because once you believe you can, you’re almost halfway there.

That is not to say that everything will be smooth sailing. Rather, it is to acknowledge the fact that at some point in our lives, we all need guidance from the people who have gone before us. We all need a little nudge especially during those moments that complacency kicks in.

One of my mentors told me that he has always been terrified every moment of his life but he never lets it keep him from doing a single thing that he wanted to do. There were moments of “Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ but he pushed through and that’s what made him who he is today.

  1. Be brave and take risks

There is a quote that states, “A ship in a harbour is safe, but this is not what a ship is built for.” The same is true for all of us. We need to be brave and take risks in order to achieve our career ambitions. We need to lose sight of the shores in order to discover new oceans.

Taking risks means hurdling into the unknown, and believing that we will make it to the other side, despite not yet knowing what the other side is going to look like.  It is taking bold action in spite of the fact that this action is forcing us out of our familiar territory and our comfort zones. It means taking action even though we cannot foresee the results or consequences of our choice.

At the end of the day, and after all the words of mice and men are said, the saddest are, “It might have been.”

  1. It is not where you are that matters

We all know of classmates who finished college together with us and went straight to work for multinationals. After a short stint, they became managers and currently they are senior directors in their current organizations.

We also know of other classmates who are still holding entry level positions even after many years in the workforce. In this journey, we might be tempted to compare ourselves with those classmates and age mates thinking that we are so left out career wise.

But what my mentor has continually taught me is that, it is not where I am that matters, but it is where I am going that matters most. Do I have a road map? Do I know what is required and what am I doing to ensure that I achieve that?

After all, it is never too late to follow your dreams and be what you might have been. Learn to give your best shot. Work diligently, work hard, focus and perform as if you are at the Olympics. One day, unexpectedly, it will start paying off. It is all about doing what you can, with what you have wherever you are.

 

Why young people should start saving early for retirement

The biggest lie many 20-something year olds keep telling themselves is “it’s too early to save for retirement”. However, the earlier you start the more money you will have when you eventually decide to stop working. Do you want to enjoy the same level of comfort that you were used to, if not better when you eventually stop working?
Here’s why you need to save now for retirement:

1. Compound Interest Is Your Friend
Tiny contributions made at an early age will over the years multiply because of “The power of compound interest”. Therefore, the sooner you start saving and investing, the earlier you take advantage of compound interest; making it easier to achieve that financial goal.
For example with our Jubilee Insurance Personal Pension plan if you are 20 years old and contribute Sh 2,000 for 20 years, you will have Sh 1, 261,973 by the time you are 40 years old. If you decide to contribute the same amount but for 30 years, you will have Sh 3, 087,072 by the time you retire at the age of 50.

2. You will pay less tax
The Government, which most of us feel takes too much from us, actually gives tax breaks to all who contribute to retirement schemes. You can get as high as Sh.20, 000 as a relief before your salary is assessed for tax! For example, an individual earning Sh 50, 000 and making a monthly contribution of Sh.5000 will be taxed on Sh 45,000.

3. You get “free” money from your employer
Many employers contribute to their employees’ retirement accounts. When you choose not to contribute towards your retirement, you are quite literally saying “NO!” to money that the employer is freely giving to you.

4. You have a wider choice of investment options!
A longer time to invest means that you can take greater risks with the investment instruments that you select. This is because you have more time to bounce back for greater gains in case things head south.
Those who start late usually have little wiggle room and tend to stick with the generally safer and more restricted investment vehicles.

5. You can have guarantees on the returns on your savings
A number of retirement plans give absolute guarantees on minimum rates of return. So when it comes down to the money, you can never, on retirement, have a total fund that is less than your total contributions.

6. You are still the master of your budget
It is easier to quickly make retirement savings a permanent item on your budget without having to struggle with so many other expenses.
An early budget provision for retirement savings will quite literally get you off the “not enough therefore no savings” mind set.

7. You will be free to do as you please… for the rest of your life
Many of us aspire to spend the years after retirement travelling the world or living in that Villa. No one dreams of a “broke” future.
With an early saving and investment strategy, starting now, Your Dreams are valid!! You can start living it up and “retire” as early when you are ready. How’s that for a reason!

Jebet Cheruiyot is a Pensions manager at Jubilee Insurance.

Why You Are Not Losing Weight

Have you been struggling with your weight? Does it seem that you’re not becoming any smaller despite following a diet? It may be because you’re following a FAD diet. FAD diets promise quick weight loss hence a lot of people turn to them. Dieting is always the first line of defense against weight gain and the biggest reason behind unconventional methods to hasten the weight loss process. Problem with FAD diets is that they are not sustainable. The kind of plans given are usually very restrictive with few foods or an unusual combination of foods for a short period of time. Research has shown that dieting rarely leads to long-term weight loss success. 98 percent of people who lose weight on a diet gain it back within five years, 90 percent of people who lose weight gain back more weight than they originally lost, only 5 to 10 percent of dieters maintain weight loss that’s greater than 10 percent of their initial weight.

Problem with FAD diets is that they are not sustainable. The kind of plans given are usually very restrictive with few foods or an unusual combination of foods for a short period of time.

These diets put you at risk of nutrition deficiencies and compromise your muscle and hair due protein catabolism. They also cause metabolic problems because they push you into a state known as the “starvation mode” a state in which your body responds to prolonged periods of energy intake by burning supply of carbohydrate glycogen, fat and muscle stores, when this happens your body responds by slowing down your metabolism in order to preserve the little you have left and also holds on to the little food you eat making weight loss at this point even more difficult. Eventually individuals may experience nausea, light-headedness, dizziness and hunger which lead to irritability, fatigue, feeling lethargic and moody because the body and mind are being deprived of essential nutrients they need to be sharp and energetic.

If you’re overweight slimming down is critical for your overall health, but it is important to lose weight safely, a weight loss of ½ kg to 1 kg per week is recommended and the best way to do so is exercising regularly and consulting a licensed dietitian to guide you through the process.

Tech Marvels that will set Insurance Tone

The insurance industry has recorded minimal growth as far as penetration and performance go. The growth has been slower in the developing markets where penetration has seen a sluggish appetite.

The most sensible reason for this has been lack of trust between the customers and the insurance companies for starters and lack of adequate disposable income among the populace in many of these markets.

The last decade has, however, seen a surge in insurance trends, thanks to the advancement in technology. Industry experts say that in years to come, growth of the industry will primarily be fuelled more by technology than by any other factor.

While the changes and growth are not expected to be instantaneous, the winds of change are already sweeping through the industry, propelled by technology and innovation.

Companies that respond and adapt to this inevitable change stand to reap big while those that adopt a wait-and-see approach will cheer on the first movers.

There are some technological innovations that are expected to disrupt the industry and how this technology can be leveraged by insurance companies to make meaningful impact.

Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is an umbrella term used to refer to four different classes of Artificial Intelligence namely Cognitive, Data Science, Computing and Machine Learning.

AI is expected to play a fundamental role in helping underwriters to unlock their potential in terms of value addition to their back and front office operations.

Data science and machine learning, for instance, is expected to take centre stage in implementing these processes because they are the most understood and the most used forms of AI.

The advancement in AI and machine learning are already making it possible to leverage unstructured data sets and companies are already making use of this development.

Companies are implementing AI in all their processes ranging from product pricing to consumer trends prediction.

They are expected to make use of information such as credit histories and online usage trends of clients to come up with algorithms that would customize products for customers.

Blockchain and Chatbots: Blockchain technology is closely related to AI and machine learning. Insurance distribution channels, especially those directly related to micro-insurance products are expected to be modified and re-engineered to adapt to the changing and emerging trends in technology.

More and more companies have already adopted the USSD approach which is considered a low-touch approach in terms of consumer connectivity.

While it has worked very well for most firms, the jury is still out on the viability of this channel as an ideal distribution channel especially in a market where trust in the industry is still an issue to be discussed.

Peer-To-Peer: P2P insurance describes products such as rotating savings and credit associations that normally group people into pools and then offer insurance.

While this is not necessarily a new concept, we expect to see companies leveraging on technologies such as social media and taking advantage of smartphone penetration to create new group structures.

On-Demand Insurance (ODI): The current crop of consumers has varying consumer needs that insurers will have to adapt to.

For instance, the new generation of consumers would prefer to buy items several times in small quantities as opposed to bulk buying. This trend is mostly informed by the irregular income streams that intertwine with competing needs.

 

The solution? “Sachet marketing”. Insurers will be compelled to come up with short-term products that require periodic or regular payment either weekly, daily or monthly.

This means that insures will sell their products on-demand and will either turn a policy on or off depending on the consumer needs.

As the smartphone penetration index continues to rise, we expect that more and more firms will get innovative and introduce diverse micro insurance products for low-income consumers.

The future of insurance growth and penetration will be anchored in technology and its usefulness will depend on how well the players leverage this tool to suit their needs.

The first movers in each and every step of the way will be the bakers of the cake while the rest will only benefit from their generosity.

Elias Kokonya is Business Analyst, Jubilee Insurance.

Great Customer Experience Is One Way To Attract Millennials to Insurance

If you’re like me, you go to the website and social media pages of potential companies that you want to get services from to have a feel of how they interact with their clients; if they answer online queries in good time and to find out what their clients are saying about them. I scrutinize the page to see if they’re more complaints than compliments and that tells me something about your customer service. What I find can either persuade or dissuade me from seeking out the company’s services.

A sure way to increase the uptake of insurance among millennials is by giving a great customer service experience. Customer behaviors and trends have changed. Millennials don’t want to fill forms or be put on hold. They want quick, easy and personalized services when placing inquiries, be it via a call center, social media or one on one interactions with the sales agents. When the customers approach a company for inquiries, they expect prompt feedback – and when done online, the waiting period is even shorter.

Social media is an integral part of our lives today. If insurance companies want to attract millennials to take up more insurance policies, beyond motor insurance, which is a requirement by law, then they need to employ strategic customer service experiences to capture this group.

For this group, instant feedback is a necessity. Jubilee Insurance last month integrated Artificial Intelligence into the online user experience through the launch of their chat bot Julie – the Jubilee Insurance Live Intelligent Expert. Julie assists clients who interact with the company’s Facebook Page and website, to receive real-time services that include end-to-end purchase of insurance products without any human intervention. She’s the first point of contact when you inbox the company page and she gives you accurate and prompt responses.

When an inquiry is more specific, she’s intelligent enough to transfer you to a customer care representative who will take over and help you sort out your query. Her launch was all the buzz through the hashtag #MeetJulie. Julie has a persona, is intelligent, witty, funny and caring. She understands that people are emotional beings and they expect customer service to be authentic and humane and she has developed unique approaches when dealing with different emotions across customer segments.

Millennials use social media to conduct business, make online purchases which go hand in hand with texting or chatting with the customer representative online until the service is rendered or product is delivered. So if they are not satisfied with the level of customer care rendered, they will all together avoid you or become disgruntled.

A disgruntled customer could cost you reputational damage before they exit the relationship – they call your help lines, flood you with messages, and potentially cause negative publicity on your social media pages. On the other hand, if a customer is happy with the level of service received or products purchased, they become your promoters and these are the types of customers insurance companies should nurture. People who tell people about how much they love your company and how great your insurance company’s customer care team is. Promoters happily recommend you to family, friends, and colleagues and even complete strangers through their personal networks.

Insurance companies just like banks are in the business of trust and should commit themselves to offer excellent customer experience and earn the trust of the customer. That is how they can capture the millennials to take up insurance products that resonate with their needs.

When we get this right, they are less likely to defect (even when there have been serious issues) and are more willing to provide constructive feedback that could help you to improve your business and directly contribute to increased revenues or decreased costs.

Cynthia Kimola, is a Corporate Communications Officer at Jubilee Insurance.

How to Effectively Combat Healthcare Fraud in Our Country

Insurance fraud has been known to affect the entire insurance value chain and is now one of the top growing concerns amongst insurers in Kenya.

Although fraud affects all business lines in the insurance sector, it has been increasingly prevalent in the medical class of business and it has been perpetrated in various ways.

Collusion between the policy holders and health service providers, inflated bills from hospitals and clinics, hospitals making patients take unnecessary tests, impersonation or dual membership by policy holders and pharmacy related fraud cases are some of the ways the perpetrators are executing fraudulent activities in the industry.

Some health service providers have been known to apply two tier pricing for their services. This usually happens when a patient who presents their medical card is charged more than a patient who pays in cash for the same service.

The effect of this has been the exhaustion of medical cover benefits before the duration, leaving the insured customer exposed for the remaining period of cover.

In some cases, patients are subjected to unnecessary tests that have nothing to do with the treatment of what they are ailing from so that the health provider can bill the insurer.

The unsuspecting patient undergoes a number of tests and since the patient trusts the doctor, and they don’t have to pay out of pocket, they comply without questioning.

Patients who pay for cash are usually more alert and often ask why the tests need to be done. And in such cases, you find some doctors will order only the specific test.

We also have fraud committed by the insured who allows another individual to access medical services using their credentials.

They collude with the doctor and permit someone else other than the insured to use their medical card in the health facility and for billing at a pharmacy for someone else’s prescription.

Identity theft is also becoming common where the health facility uses the identity of an insured patient and bills for services that were not rendered to them using that patient’s information.

What then is the way forward? At Jubilee Insurance we continue to strengthen and tighten our operations by automating our processes and systems that link a specific patient to the claim they have made.

Technology will enable us to monitor and track where services were rendered, how long it took, what was the cost amongst other details and this will make it harder for fraudsters to falsify claims.

We will also monitor the quality of service our customers receive where we have a 360 degree view of the entire process, from when you arrive at the health facility and run your medical card, and the subsequent processes.

This will enable us to give feedback to our providers on their processes to ensure our customers enjoy efficient and seamless services whenever they visit these facilities.

Whether you are covered under a corporate insurance scheme or an individual insurance policy, fraud eventually translates into higher costs, either in premiums at renewal and/or you end up paying for your bills when you exhaust your cover before time.

Our goal is to increase insurance penetration in Kenya from the current 2.7 per cent by making insurance services more affordable and accessible to Kenyans.

Patrick Tumbo, is the CEO, Jubilee Insurance, Kenya.

Why innovation is key to growth of insurance industry

Innovation is a powerful tool of staying relevant and moving ahead of the rest in the ever evolving consumer market. It can do the same in insurance even as new and well-funded technology-based start-ups pose a real threat to industry giants.

While innovation alone will not guarantee the sustainability of insurers, it holds the largest share of responsibility towards this end. Already we have begun seeing change in that direction with some of the insurance companies in Kenya and South Africa adopting digital changes to serve their clients better.

Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and other software development tools in Africa, we are seeing the emergence of innovative digital platforms that offer users and potential clients better information and transparency.

Insurance companies that leverage on some of the technological advances will continue to thrive as the rest play catch up. Technology has unearthed opportunities that are not only exciting to consumers but also convenient as far as adoption and servicing go.

A number of insurers in Kenya have apps for clients. In February, Jubilee Insurance launched JubiCare and JubiAgent, the apps that allow self-service using smartphones. Jubilee Insurance  also integrated Artificial Intelligence into their Facebook Page through the use of a chatbot called Julie, its Live Intelligent Expert who answers queries. This means faster and efficient service delivery.

Data also informs decision-making across industries. Data technology has in the recent past transformed risk which is the primary element of the insurance business model.

Technology has changed the way data is created, captured, analysed and stored. Insurance firms have many sources from where they can collect data and help create important and personalised products, helping in the management of risk.

International Data Corporation estimates that the digital universe will double in size every two years. This will create a large pool of data attributes from which insurance companies can acquire meaningful data that will influence decisions in product designs, risk management, fraud reduction and tailored premiums.

A myriad of breakthrough technologies in this industry are set to spur significant growth and transformation and players must change with the tide or prepare to close shop.
These include Internet of Things, Telematics, Digital platforms, Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing.

Apart from product development, the technologies provide and and modify business models.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the perfect example of how new, better and current data will help define the insurance industry’s transformation.

This data will inform the underwriting policies and risk management procedures that will help reduce the cost of offering insurance both in the short and long term. IoT devices may include phones, home security sensors, and wearable monitors.

Motor insurance continues to be a major driving factor and an important contributor to the Gross Written Premium (GWP) for insurance companies across Africa. In Kenya, for instance, it is against the law to drive a vehicle without motor insurance.

While this does not apply in all countries in Africa, this is an area that is set to be transformed by innovation especially using connected devices.

Telematics can help transmit important and valuable data that can be leveraged to get a complete user profile of an insured. Through this data, insurance companies can then assess the risk profile of a potential client in addition to all other details and help customise a plan for the client.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enabled computer software to exhibit human-like behaviours that include planning, learning and solving problems.

AI has also enabled these computers to solve problems and make decisions after analysing information. This technology offers more advanced characteristics such as image recognition, voice recognition and so much more.

It is expected that AI will replace many human functions in the coming decade. Insurance companies stand to benefit a great deal by tapping into this technology.

Companies such as Jubilee Insurance in Kenya have already taken advantage of AI capabilities. Through their Digital Virtual Assistant named Julie, clients can receive real-time services that include end-to-end purchase of insurance products without any human intervention.

By 2020, it is estimated that there will be more than 20 billion devices connected to the Internet. Insurance companies that will strategically position themselves for this transformation will reap big in the home, health and car insurance sectors.

Elias Kokonya is Senior Business Analyst, Jubilee Insurance.

Shifting data landscape – the game changer in the insurance industry in Kenya

The insurance industry in Kenya is in a transition phase and will remain so for the next few years as Insurance Companies grapple with the understanding and implementation of IFRS 17 – Insurance Contracts. The standard was released May 2017 and takes effect 1 January 2021, bringing with it significant changes in the industry.

Insurance companies will now have to re-look at their valuation models, capability of current systems and assess the changes to be made to ensure compliance with the new standard. Salient among these changes is that Insurance Companies will require more data at a granular level to meet the new reporting requirements.

This represents a big opportunity for the Industry to grow its data analytics capability. Data analytics refers to the analysis of data with the aim of discovering existing trends in business data and drawing conclusions that inform future decision making. The risk – price relationship in insurance places data analytics at the very core of the insurance set up.

With requirements for increased data capacity and systems to match within the framework of the incoming IFRS 17, insurance companies will have at their disposal a treasure trove of information that remains very relevant in the running and growth of the business.

Through data analytics, insurance companies can assess products based on factual historical data and can even narrow down to a geographical location. This is an opportunity to move away from the one-size fits all approach and instead tailor make insurance contracts to the insured’s needs. Different locations and demographics in the Kenyan market face varying perils and have unique insurance needs. The analysis of data allows for a strategic and informed re-think of product packaging to more relevant, affordable and need centric insurance covers.

Could it be that the low insurance penetration in the Kenyan market is driven by amongst other things, the generic nature of available products? The marketing function could well make use of such data and roll out ‘targeted marketing’ to reach the populace with a personalized message and relevant products.

Insurance companies that will strategically invest in the data analytics space will differentiate themselves from their competitors. With increased comparability and results transparency being at the fore of IFRS 17, the competition for market share in the insurance sector will increase.

Through the analysis of existing data, insurance companies are already looking to re-evaluate and disintegrate risks attached to various products. This will ultimately lead to a superior pricing mechanism that is bound to give them competitive edge. The separation of underwriting results from investment income in the new framework will distinctly bring to the fore the true source of earnings for insurance companies. Stiff competition in the past has resulted to some players in the industry resulting to price undercutting – offering lower prices to lock down business instead of pricing based on the risk insured.

Insurance companies that will assess risk supported by insights from data analytics will therefore be ahead of the curve in complying with future potential guidelines from the regulator to clamp on price undercutting based on the shift in reporting requirements.

Fraud in the insurance sector remains a reality. The numerous players in a typical insurance contract does little to alleviate the risk of collusion. Through data analytics, Insurance companies can establish trends based on historical transactions and in particular loss making contracts to assess for indicators of fraud. Trends and analytics will allow for comparability among intermediaries enabling insurance companies to interrogate the quality and cost of business from specific intermediaries.

Fraud remains a perennial challenge due to the lack of data sharing across insurance companies. Be it the non-existence of data, lack of uniform data or the high set up and maintenance cost of a centralised set up to house and stream data to and from the various insurers, none of these challenges measures up to the ever increasing cost of fraud year on year.

Consider an insurance market where the details of a new potential motor insurance customer can be queried in a centralized database to reveal a detailed claim history from past insurers, or a database that shows the cost of various drugs as captured by different insurers from their medical providers to be used as a basis for the market price? The benefit of such data would far outweigh the set up cost.

Every large business struggles to preserve business value and arrest any revenue leakage. Those charged with governance, in preserving shareholder value, must ask of their management, “For every business written in premiums, how much of it translates into claims and how much of that goes to claimant?”  Data analysis will enable insurance companies to review the value of written business against associated costs and implement relevant controls around key risk areas of revenue leakage.

The ability of an insurance company to anticipate claims has far reaching implications in ensuring proper pricing, accurate reporting on loss making contracts and increased efficiency in claims processing. By leveraging on data and analytics, insurers can assess the nature, probability and likely quantum of claims arising from written business.  This represents a potential quick win in curbing loss making contracts and better insights into the profitability of insurance companies.

The potential gains of data and analytics in the insurance sector will require commitment and investment by players in the industry. Insurance companies face a significant challenge in the collection of relevant data in a usable format. Use of data and analytics will introduce the need for more advanced business intelligence tools. Insurers will have to invest in the training of resources capable of correctly analysing, interpreting and applying the data.

This shifting landscape of data in insurance heralds the dawn of a new age of opportunity, innovation and differentiation whose impact will undoubtedly translate into gains for the insurer and insured.

Frank Mumo – Regional Financial Analyst, Jubilee Insurance

Innovation overhaul in General Insurance Companies long overdue.

The insurance industry both locally and across the globe is fast shifting with the disruption being primarily driven by innovation, technology and the use of predictive analytics. This changes have necessitated those in the insurance business to change tact and move towards personalizing customer interactions to match the emerging trends and meet their customer’s sophisticated requirements.

The General Insurance industry, particularly motor insurance in Kenya is witnessing tremendous changes. Statistics from the Insurance Regulatory Authority indicate that in the first quarter of 2017, premiums rose by 14.4% to Sh67.2 billion. Of the Sh67.2 billion collected in premiums in the first quarter of 2017, general business contributed 65.7% while long term business initiatives contributed 34.3%.
In an industry with many players and new entrants in the market, how then does one stay ahead? Forward thinking.. tech, rethinking the business models, new products, one size fits all approach will not work.. it needs to be tailored to the customer

Research has shown that 6 out of 10 people who look for insurance related material online, search for motor insurance, with 3 out of the 6 people purchasing a motor insurance cover online with an insurance company located in Kenya.
An agile and responsive organization will therefore seek to understand what their customers want and innovate continuously to ensure that they meet these needs. It’s all about convenience and by employing the right technology, they can take service delivery a step closer to the customers.

innovative and transformative in relation to how positioning themselves to be market leaders in future or at least cement there leadership positions.
For example, Jubilee Insurance launched a motor insurance app in 2016.
The app is designed to be used by agents to make quotes for customers and renew existing policies.
This takes service delivery one step closer to the customer in sense that customers don’t need to physically be present at our offices to get a quote or to renew insurance covers for their vehicles.
Data collected from the app by the company is used to streamline services and smoothen operations. This gives actuaries in the company a chance to deploy predictive analytics so as to know what the customers want, what they are most interested in and what they actually don’t need.