By CONRAD ONYANGO
APA insurance has unveiled plans to open up three branches in Uganda and another in south Sudan to increase its regional footprint in East Africa this year.
The Insurance firm also said it is seeking overall control of its Insurance partner in Tanzania, Insurance Alliance by having its larger stake in the near future.
The company’s new Chief Executive officer , Simon Clayton said the expansion strategy will increase the penetration rate of insurance in the region, which currently stands at a mere three percent in the country. He termed the target areas as potential markets for the company.
“We aim at opening at least three branches in Uganda within the year while in Tanzania we are working with a partner, and our long term strategy is to having a controlling stake in the company,” said Clayton.
He added, “With the anticipated flurry of economic activities in the newly created South Sudan, we see it as a potential market.”
Locally, APA is planning to roll a branch in each county, a move that will see the company doubling its market share from 8.7 percent in the next four years.
“The devolved system of government, with the creation of 47 counties, gives APA numerous opportunities to widen its reach and deepen the penetration of insurance in the country,” said Clayton.
But Clayton attributed lack of awareness and the general negative perception towards insurance industry, to the major setback to the low penetration rates in the region. He called on industry players to consider using social media and other better distribution channels to educate the public.
“These avenues remain largely unexplored, players should adopt these measures to bridge the disconnect between players and public. The disconnect has been beset by complaints of “fine print” delays in claims settlements amongst other ills,” said Clayton.
He at the same time rooted for the use of mobile banking platform across the region to enhance insurance penetration.
APA will also be targeting Agriculture as another huge investment in its insurance products. This has been perpetrated by increased demand for crop specific insurance products, according to the company.
In his tenure in office, Clayton also said he will embark on an aggressive drive for micro insurance products.