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IRA LAUNCHES FOURTH INSURANCE INNOVATION AWARDS

The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA), in partnership with the industry umbrella bodies, has launched the fourth round of the Innovation awards.

Speaking at the launch ceremony at the Insurance Tower in Kampala on November 23, the IRA Chief Executive Officer, Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega said the innovation awards have become change agents by creating a platform that supports innovation across the industry’s value chain.

The awards which are being organised in partnership with the Uganda Insurers Association (UIA), the Insurance Training College (ITC) and the Insurance Brokers Association of Uganda (IBAU) are open to all players licensed by the Authority, including insurers, Health Membership Organisations, Brokers, Bancassurance Agents, Individual Agents and loss assessors.

To recognize the role of media and Insurtech in the value chain, the awards are also open to the media fraternity and technologists who have a bearing towards insurance.

Alhaj Kaddunabbi said the awards seek to recognise and promote excellent innovations in 2023 that seek to respond to challenges that are faced by the industry.

He hinted that the awards have gained traction over the last three years from 2020 when the inaugural edition was held to last year’s, saying that the number of applicants and the quality of solutions submitted have been improving over the years.

Alhaj Kaddunabbi said the 2023 award ceremony will be held on March 15, 2024, under the theme: “InsureVate: Igniting Excellence in the Insurance Sector”.

The categories of this year’s innovation awards have been broadened to 10, up from nine. These are the Most Innovative Insurance Solution (Life), Most Innovative Insurance Solution (Non-life), Most Innovative Insurance Solution – Broker and the Most Innovative Insurance Solution – Bancassurance Agent.

The other categories are the Most Innovative Insurance Solution – individual Agent, Most Innovative Insurance Solution – Loss Assessors, Judges Special Award, Insuretech Solution of the year, Insurance Media Personality of the year and People’s Choice Award.

Alhaj Kaddunabbi reechoed the Authority’s commitment to continue creating a conducive environment and the needed support to further facilitate innovation across the insurance industry.

Insurance a necessity

The Director Planning, Research and Market Development at IRA, Mr. Protazio Sande said the awards seek to stimulate thinking amongst insurance players to change the way they do things so as to boost insurance growth.

He added that IRA’s dream is to ensure that all Ugandans buy insurance.

“This sounds very big but it can be realized if we turn around the processes, systems, and solutions that speak to the people. That is the essence of the innovation awards,” he said.

The IBAU chairman, Mr. Paul Muhame said innovation is inevitable given the changing times that require everyone to think outside the box to create solutions that can help the public access insurance services conveniently.

He applauded IRA for creating a conducive regulatory environment which he said that enabled the industry to grow in strength and capacity over the years.

He committed to continue partnering with IRA to support innovation across the industry’s value chain.

the UIA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jonan Kisakye, also commended IRA for consistently holding the awards, saying that since insurance is a critical component of the economy, players need to innovate continuously to reflect relevance and boost penetration.

“There is no single sector that can survive without insurance but this throws a very big challenge to us as players to innovate and continuously reflect relevance,” Mr. Kisakye said.

He added: “At 0.85% penetration, the sector pays over Shs500 billion in taxes. What will happen if we reach 2%? I know innovation will be a key driver in reaching the rest of the population.”

The ITC Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Saul Sseremba also alluded to the need for innovation, saying that we cannot continue doing things the same way and expect different results.

He urged all eligible industry players to participate in these awards.

Criteria

Ms. Deborah Amia Poni, a consultant with Adroit Consult International said applications are open from November 23, 2023 to January 2, 2024.

To participate in the competition, players must be licensed by the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda, with the exception of the categories of Media Personality of the year and Insurtechs.

Additionally, the innovations must have been created in the last 18 months and must have created a change in the company, the people it serves and the insurance sector as a whole. The solution must also have piloted and rolled out in Uganda.

During evaluation of the competing solutions, focus will be put at customer centricity, originality of the idea, utilization of technology and the design and distribution models of the innovation. It will also look at the potential to increase scale and adaptability by other insurance players and compliance with Environment, Social and Governance principles.