By Menya Mwambeu
At least 180,000 smallholder tea farmers under the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) have voluntarily taken up health insurance with Britam through the Emerging Business Unit segment.
KTDA is a private company owned by about 600,000 smallholder tea farmers spread across 16 tea-growing counties in Kenya. The farmers are shareholders of 54 tea companies that own KTDA (H) and its 8 subsidiary companies.
“Many service providers rarely think about smallholder farmers. But we do because these are the real drivers of the economy. We introduced our idea to them and now we have about 180,000 of them on board,” said Mr. Saurabh Sharma, the Britam Director, of the Emerging Consumers Business Unit.
Since launching the Emerging Consumers Business Unit, Britam has received more than 1 million Kenyans who are seeking affordable and accessible insurance products such as health and funeral covers.
The product has been designed to target and accommodate the underinsured who are the majority in Kenya. Britam believes that through this service, more Kenyans will be able to be accommodated within insurance products hence raising the rate of insurance penetration in Kenya which has been declining for more than 10 years.
“Trust is everything in this sector. People might think insurance firms are selling products, but we are selling trust. If we can find many as many Kenyans to trust us, the insurance environment in Kenya will grow and reach the levels of South Africa and India,” added Mr. Saurabh.
By targeting those who for years have been neglected in the insurance circles, Britam seems to be demystifying the insurance sector. The giant service provider has also been targeting boda-boda operators, people from the informal settlements and MSMEs commonly referred to as “Mama Mbogas”.
“We are positive that all the KTDA members will see it fit to join us and together we shall change the insurance landscape in Kenya,” he added.
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By Menya Mwambeu