03 Jul Insuring the Millennials: Insurance in Kenya
Its 10am on a Saturday morning. Eva, an insurance agent receives a call from a frantic young lady. “Hello, Eva, aki ni kubaya! Gari Imeharibika woiye na niko stranded”.
Eva is an insurance agent in one of the leading insurance agencies in Nairobi. “Who am I speaking to please?”
Eva inquires. “Oh sori, ni Koi, yule wa bank. Imagine Im late for a work retreat, I should have been in Athi river by 9.30 and Im still in town.” “Ok Koi, tell me what happened” Eva interjects to find out whats going on.
“Another car grazed ny side mirror and now its facing the wrong way, I cant drive like this. What do I do?” Eva, after a sigh of relief, tells Koi to simply pull the mirror back, and it will snaps back into position. This is just another day in the life of an insurance agent.
Koi is representative of a growing number of young drivers on Kenyan roads. She is a Millennial. She went to an “academy” and later went to do an well-known private university to do a business administration course, that had “international” in its title.
Koi got a job with a local bank and has since bought her first car. She took out an insurance policy for her new car via Eva’s agency.
The challenge most insurance companies (all businesses really), will have to deal with in the coming decade will be to transform their business models to meet the needs of this shifty lot popularly know as the millennials.
Millenials were born and raised after the 82 coup attempt. The oldest ones took Maziwa ya Nyayo and saw KBC move from a 4pm to 10 Oclock station, to a 24 hour TV station.
This is the generation that will tell you the difference between a CD and DVD. Their younger siblings are the ones you see walking around town with larger than life luminous headphones, and rarely alone.
For the affluent ones, you will find them in a KFC somewhere in town laughing about whether the K in KFC means Kentucky or Kakamega. Millennials will almost always operate a smartphone.
The older ones once were Facebook addicts, all of them are now on Whatsapp as standard. They don’t wait for 9 Oclock to watch news, they get their new served hot, via Telegram.
They have apps for everything. You don’t find them queuing in banking halls any more. The can access all the services they need on their smartphones.
Welcome to a bold new Kenya.
Eva, the insurance agent, still relies on her business cards to get clients and referrals. In fact, she keeps a dog eared notebook with a list of all the clients she has met and their contacts. In recent times, she has been wondering whats going on with “these young men and women”.
They will call you when anything nearly as remote as a bee lands on their bonnet, or to ask about where to take their car for service. Except that she’s trained to be courteous, Eva’s patience with “these young people” is getting very thin, very fast.
Few things about millennials
Insurance companies will need to understand a few things about millennials if it hopes to serve them well.
- Millennials are highly connected, to groups, to friends, to strangers and everyone who cares to connect. If you want to serve them, you will need to connect.
- Millennials are very impatient. When I want a policy, I want it now! This means systems must be put in place to serve them as soon as they need service. Think online forms, customer service chat on social media, accessible customer representatives on phone, and the like.
- Millennials are not loyal to businesses, they are loyal to their friends. You have got to become personal, and to know them personally. Otherwise, if a millennial has to introduce himself twice to you even if you last met six months ago, you will be out of business soon
- Millennials crowdsource information. It is not just insurance that they need from you. If they can also get car care advice, mechanic referrals, where to get good deals on spare parts, then you will become valuable to them, and they will refer you to their connections.
- Don’t fret when a millennial asks you for suggestions on where to find great car rims, when all you sold them was a car insurance policy.
Insurance companies in Kenya need to adjust their businesses quickly if they hope to remain in business. The millennials are here!