A model regulator of a secure and developed insurance industry

FIRMS, INDIVIDUALS SHINE AT THE 2023 INNOVATION AWARDS GALA

It was all joy on Friday, March 15, as the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) once again awarded the most innovative industry solutions at a colorful ceremony held at Kampala Serena Hotel.

The set up for the gala

With nine categories and plaques of gold and silver, the 2023 Insurance innovation awards recognized the “cream of the crop” in Uganda’s insurance industry and celebrated initiatives, teams and individuals embracing emerging technologies.

Organised under the theme: “InsureVate: Igniting Excellence in the Insurance Sector,” the awards sought to recognize industry all players, including insurers, Health Membership Organisations, Brokers, Bancassurance Agents, Individual Agents, loss assessors, and media personalities that introduced solutions in 2023 that seek to respond to challenges faced by the industry.

Winners

AAR Health Services’ Ddwaliro Care emerged as the Most Innovative Non-Life Solution while ICEA Lion General Insurance Company’s ICEA Lion Medical Second Opinion emerged first runner up under this category.

Under the Life Category, CIC Africa Life Assurance Limited’s CIC Kameeza Plan scooped the most innovative Life solution of the year while ICEA Lion Life Assurance Company Limited’s Annuity Plan emerged first runner.

In the Bancassurance category, Stanbic Bank’s SafeBoda Plus Rides-Insured Rides emerged as the most innovative solution while Absa Bank’s Absa Medical Insurance solution came in the second position.

Smart Applications International Uganda Limited scooped the most innovative Insure-tech solution while Spades Insurance Brokers Limited bagged the most innovative Broker solution for 2023. It was closely followed by Minet Uganda Insurance Brokers Limited’s Virtual Assistant Solution in the second position.

Ms. Lydia Musiimire of UAP Old Mutual Life Assurance Uganda once again scooped the Individual Agent award category with her Agent’s Personal Website- Customer Self-Service Platform solution.

New Vision Nelson Mandela Muhoozi again scooped the Insurance Media Personality of the Year award while the Judges special award went to Liberty Life Assurance Uganda Limited as its AFYA Plan was voted the best by judges.

Prudential Assurance Uganda Limited once again scooped the People’s Choice award after gunning the most votes from the public.

Committed

Speaking at the awards gala, the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega emphasized the role of innovation in helping deepen insurance.

“As Insurance Regulatory Authority, we have always believed in pushing the boundaries of what is possible. From leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance customer solutions to serve customer demands, innovation is indeed a very good ingredient for insurance,” Kaddunabbi said.

He reaffirmed the Authority’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible but also challenged sector players to continuously embrace change, as they strive for a future where the industry thrives on innovation and resilience.

He added that the sector has posted impressive performance over the years, with the industry’s annual gross written premiums increasing from Ugx. 300 billion in 2011 to Ugx. 1.6 trillion in 2023 while the number of policyholders improved from 567,000 in 2011 to 2.5 million currently.

Relatedly, the sector contributed approximately Ugx. 200 billion in the government coffers in form of taxes in the 2022/23 financial year, up from Ugx.116 billion in 2016/17 financial year.

Strengthen trust

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Right Honorable Thomas Tayebwa presided over the awards gala as the guest of honour noted that in an era of stiff competition, players ought to continuously innovate to remain in business.

“We need to learn from the best on the continent to understand which risks are people having which demand that they take up insurance. Innovation will drive all this,” Hon. Tayebwa said.

He also challenged industry players to ease the compensation claim processes so as to gain public trust, but also warned them against unscrupulous people who may defraud companies by making false claims.

“We need to improve on trust so that people know when I am insured, it is the right thing I did. I don’t need to lobby or report to the regulator to be paid,” Tayebwa said.

Hon. Tayebwa also urged industry players to focus on the rural communities and the small and medium enterprises.

Alhaj Kaddunabbi, however, said trust and claims payment has greatly improved over the years. He for instance said that the annual gross claims paid have more than tripled from Ugx. 214 billion in 2015 to Ugx. 727.7 billion in 2023.

He, however, said that a lot needs to be done to reach more people, adding that this would call for more innovative products.

The Minister of State for General Duties, Hon. Henry Musasizi commended IRA and sector players for the great performance posted over the years and pledged continued government support to the insurance sector, adding that more effort is needed to build a thriving insurance eco-system.

He added that with the value of claims as a share of total premiums rising from 35% to 45.5%, it points to an improvement in consumer confidence, which is required to grow the industry further.

The awards were organised by IRA in partnership with the Uganda Insurers’ Association (UIA), the Insurance Brokers Association of Uganda (IBAU), the Insurance Training College (ITC), UgandaRe, the Deposit Protection Fund (DPF), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU), the Agro Insurance Consortium, the Innovation Village and Georgina Eye Clinic.