Equity Bank Uganda has joined the list of banks offering bancassurance services in the country.
The bank with a network of about 50 branches across the country, officially received clearance from the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) on Monday at the Insurance Tower, in Kampala.
Its entrance in this space brings the number of banks that have partnered with insurance companies to sell insurance products through their branch networks to 20.
Speaking at the license handover ceremony at the Insurance Tower, the IRA Chief Executive Officer, Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega commended Equity Bank on this great milestone. He also called upon banks that are yet to come on board to do so, not only to boost insurance penetration but to also increase their profitability by providing an additional revenue stream.
Premiums underwritten through the bancassurance channel have been growing steadily. The premiums for instance increased to Shs103.54 billion in 2021 from Shs83.34 billion in 2020.
Alhaj Kaddunabi also advised Equity Bank to make no compromise when it comes to claims settlement and delivery time, saying that these are key principles owing to that fact that insurance as a service is premised on trust.
“As you engage in this business, note that we do not compromise claims settlement and delivery time. Please deliver so that people feel that they are not taken for a ride,” he said, adding that the regulator’s interest is to safeguard policyholders’ interests.
The Equity Bank Uganda Executive Director – Banking Operations Mr. Anthony Kituuka noted that the bank has over the years built the required capacity to participate in this space, noting that it has invested heavily in the digital space to serve all Ugandans.
He added that the bank will harness its widespread branch network and digital platforms to sell insurance products, especially micro insurance, to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the other least served members of the public so as to increase insurance penetration.
“As the bank, we are among the top five in the country, with about 50 branches across Uganda. We have about 6,000 bank agents, we are a leading bank in agency banking and in digital banking; we have over 300,000 active digital users, over 25,000 electronic merchants and close to 1.7 million customers.
“We will leverage our wide spread distribution channels to offer integrated financial services –insurance and banking, to even someone deep in the village. We feel the time is right now; we have prepared adequately,” Mr. Kituuka said.
The Equity Bank Uganda Manager Bancassurance, Mr. James Sserumaga noted that the bank has a plan to help its customers who are cash constrained, to get a loan to pay for insurance policies so as to cushion themselves against a possible eventuality.
“We have four items in our philosophy; borrow, move, save and insure. We enable you access credit, move funds, save and now insure because as a bank, our main aim is to transform lives.” Mr. Sserumaga said.
Microinsurance is the type of insurance that targets low-income earners. The premiums and coverage limits under this type of insurance are typically low compared to those for conventional insurance.
Alhaj Kaddunabbi applauded Equity Bank Uganda management for their commitment to participate actively in the micro insurance segment, saying it will go along way in enabling many Ugandans, especially those who have been locked out by the high insurance premiums, to access insurance so as to protect themselves and their businesses against losses.
Additionally, he commended them on their investment in the digital platform enhancement, saying that the channel allows for greater reach at a lower cost, even in places where physical insurance or bank branches are hard to establish.
The bank’s Executive Director – Public Sector and Social Investments, Ms. Elizabeth Mwerinde Kasedde thanked the IRA for making the process of acquiring the license fast and smooth.
“At Equity, we are doing a lot especially in the areas of transforming lives and we promise that we will be very active in driving the insurance agenda in Uganda,” she said.