A model regulator of a secure and developed insurance industry

2021 INSURANCE INDUSTRY INNOVATORS AWARDED

At least six firms in the insurance industry have been awarded for their innovativeness in the just concluded second edition of the Insurance Product Innovation awards.

The 2021 Insurance Product Innovation awards were organsied under the theme; “Innovation amidst turbulence”.

Adroit Consult International, the lead consultant in the awards process hands over results to the regulator.

The firms were awarded in six categories including the most Innovative Insurance Product (Life), most Innovative Insurance Product (Non-Life), most Innovative Insurance Broker Award, most Innovative Insurance Agent, most Innovative Bancassurance agent and the Judges’ Special award.

Prudential Assurance Uganda bagged the most Innovative Insurance Product (Life) for its PRUInvestor Plus innovation, while the most Innovative Insurance Product (Non-Life) was won by ICEA Lion General Insurance for their Gold Cash-Medical Insurance innovation.

Kenbright Insurance Brokers scooped the most Innovative Insurance Broker award for it’s the Vehicle Platform solution, Centenary Bank’s U-Insure Bancassurance won it the most innovative Bancassurance agent of the year award. Tonny Mugisha’s Smart Money Knowledge Series scooped him the most innovative insurance agent award while the Judges’ Special award was scooped by Prudential Assurance Uganda.

ICEA Lion Life Assurance emerged runner-up in the Life category with its Investa Plus solution, while GA Insurance Uganda was runner-up in the non-life category with its GA Graysure innovation.

Minet  Limited’s Minet Employee Assistance Programme secured it the runner-up position in the most innovative insurance Broker award category  while Lydia Musiimire’s Digital Marketing solution secured her the runner-up position under the most innovative insurance agent award.

There was stiff competition under the Bancassurance category, that saw Stanbic Bank’s Ministry of Health Insurance Proposition tie with Housing Finance’s Group Life Insurance on Pearl Banking Account innovation in the runner-up category.

About the awards

The awards were organsied by the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA), in partnership with the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority, Uganda Insurers’ Association, the Insurance Brokers Association of Uganda, the Insurance Training College, the Uganda Bankers’ Association, and the Hedge Digital Marketing Agency.

The award gala held last Friday was the climax of the Insurance Week, the week-long event that ran from March 7th – 10th 2022.

During the week, a series of activities were undertaken including awareness creation through different media platforms and a medical camp where free testing services for HIV, Hepatitis B, Blood sugar levels and Hepatitis B vaccination were offered to the public.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the IRA Board chairperson Dr. Isaac Nkote Nabeta urged the government to consider waiving some taxes to further promote innovation in the insurance industry.

Dr. Isaac Nkote speaking at the event

“We appeal to government to create a round table where insurance players can sit with the government to agree on which taxes to exempt insurers so as to encourage more innovation and ensure that insurance services reach every part of this country,” he said.

He added: “When there is more business you get more taxes than taxing the little business, which also hinders the progress of insurance uptake in the country.”

Address accessibility challenge

The IRA Chief Executive Officer Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega said innovation is critical to the industry as it has the capacity to reconstruct the mechanisms of society by reducing and even removing barriers to accessibility.

IRA CEO Speaking at the event

He noted that these transformations have the capacity to turn around the insurance sector in Uganda.

He applauded all companies that participated in these awards and encouraged all players to also participate going forward, sayingthat the Covid-19 pandemic has proved that it is through innovation that the industry can manage to stay afloat and not only thrive in this dynamic market environment but also improve customers’ lives.

He noted that with innovation, companies can develop sustainable competitive advantage and better respond to external challenges, such as evolving consumer preferences, growing business complexity, shifting market dynamics, and the ever-expanding technological advancements.

According to Alhaj Kaddunabbi, the awards seek to catalyze innovation in the industry by rewarding the best innovative ideas and practices that are transforming the industry for the benefit of insurers and customers alike.

This, according to him, will help unlock the latent creative energy of players as evidenced by the great improvement in submissions 2021 awards.

“As the regulator, we are passionate about promoting innovation as evidenced by the putting in place a regulatory sandbox that allows companies to innovate freely, test ideas and launch products in a simulated environment,” he said.

Passionate about innovation

In a speech delivered on behalf of Finance Minister Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of State for Planning Hon. Amos Lugoloobi applauded industry players for organising such awards, saying that the initiative will trigger imaginative minds and will see the birth of innovative products that speak to customer needs, increase uptake and indeed boost penetration levels.

Hon. Amos Lugoloobi speaking at the awards gala

He noted that in today’s age and given the pace of technological change, all businesses, irrespective of size, need to ready themselves for the challenges ahead. Those businesses that don’t innovate, will definitely disappear from the scene as disruptive technology has the potential to significantly alter markets and their functioning and to alter the way that businesses operate.

“Each company’s capacity to innovate and respond to changes in technology and digitisation will ultimately determine their future.

“To maintain a competitive advantage, insurers, and indeed all businesses in the country, must develop cutting edge products and services that are better performing, more efficiently delivered and more effective for their customers,” he said.

He noted that government is aware of the importance of innovation and its contribution to economic growth and the development of societies and thus have put in place a number of policies aimed at facilitating innovation in the country. These include full ministry dedicated to innovation– the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, which also has grants to support and fund innovation.

Hon. Amos Lugoloobi handing over an award at the event

He thus encouraged all companies to participate in the next edition of awards saying that they will generate value as innovation leads to higher productivity, which brings vast benefits for consumers, and businesses.

Among them, he said, are tax related benefits such as capital allowances and some deductions on your tax liability. He also applauded IRA for enforcing the local marine insurance where all importers are required to procure Marine Insurance locally