This revelation was made during a three-day conference organized by RIBA, which concluded on September 16, 2023, in Musanze District. The conference successfully convened stakeholders from the insurance sector in Rwanda and the region to deliberate on ways to instill a culture of insurance subscription.
Despite witnessing substantial growth in the Rwandan insurance market over the past 15 years, the sector’s current value has reached Rwf120 billion, up from Rwf50 billion in 2006. Nevertheless, the insurance penetration rate remains at a meager 1.9%, adversely impacting the insurance brokerage profession, which boasts only 15 members from Rwanda out of 400 in East Africa.
RIBA’s Chairman, Mubiligi Jean Pierre, attributes this lackluster growth to a scarcity of industry experts and a lack of understanding among Rwandans regarding the benefits of accessing insurance services through brokers.
According to Mubiligi, the key to boosting broker numbers lies in educating Rwandans about their crucial role, which, in turn, will lead to increased demand for their services.
He stated, "The increase of brokers comes from people who feel they can do the work. There is not much potential, and they are discouraged because Rwandans do not understand their importance."
To address this issue, insurance companies and brokers have embarked on a campaign to educate the public about the importance of insurance services and the role brokers play in facilitating access.
Mukundwa Dianah, the CEO of SONARWA, emphasizes that increasing insurance penetration among Rwandans requires collaboration with various institutions, including educational establishments like the College of Business and Economics at the University of Rwanda. She emphasizes the importance of inspiring students to pursue careers in the insurance sector.
Furthermore, there is a pressing need to bring in new talent to replace experienced professionals who are leaving, leaving behind junior brokers. Mukundwa remains optimistic about the transformative potential of young professionals if they are given the opportunity to shine.
Mukundwa also revealed that the Central Bank has granted licenses for sensitization campaigns aimed at encouraging people to seek insurance services.
Embracing technology for wider access
Alexio Mayonde, Chief Information Officer at ZEPRE Reinsurance Company, points out that the inadequate integration of technology is a significant obstacle to universal access to insurance services. He observes that while insurance companies are leaders among financial institutions globally, this is not the case in Africa and Rwanda.
Mayonde stresses that banks have surged ahead because they have effectively integrated technology into their services, while the insurance sector still relies on traditional methods involving physical document exchanges. He advocates for a technology-driven approach to reach clients in remote areas, a vital strategy for increasing Rwanda’s insurance penetration rate from its current 1.9%.
Moses Mukundi, CEO of Eden Care Insurance Company, highlights their commitment to harnessing technology, with their services now fully integrated with technology. This approach ensures that their services are accessible to a wider audience, facilitated by their partnerships with insurance brokers who establish close relationships with clients, making marketing activities more effective.
Mukundi underscores the importance of insurance companies and brokers adopting technology to efficiently serve a larger client base.
Collaboration for streamlined services
Cleophas Obiero, Managing Director of Smart Applications International Rwanda Ltd, emphasizes the importance of collaboration within the insurance sector to streamline service delivery. Recognizing that unity can lead to more efficient operations and enhanced customer experiences, he urges stakeholders to work together.
Figures from the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) indicate a positive trajectory for the insurance sector, with the value of total assets increasing by 17% to reach Rwf824 billion in December 2022, up from Rwf701 billion in December 2021. Notably, motor and medical insurance constitute the largest share of the insurance sector, comprising 63% of its activities.