The local insurance landscape has continued to evolve over the years shifting the balance from a rich mans’ venture to the low and medium income segments.
This has been as a result of the improvement in technology and customization of the policy offerings to suit the middle and low income earners.
With the adoption of technology and smart solutions insurers have managed to turn the tide against con artists in the sector.
For decades, insurance companies have agonised over fraudulent claims from policyholders. Fraud is now at an all-time high and is threatening to shut down some insurers.
Latest data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) showed that one in every four insurance claims made is fraudulent.
We sat down with Bente Krogmann, the Chief Executive Officer of mTek Services on how the firm is tapping on the local low income earners to grow footprint in the country.
Bente is the innovator of the revolutionary mTek app that allows low-income consumers purchase insurance without any paperwork.
- Give us a brief overview of mTek
Launched in December 2020, mTek is a revolutionary 100 percent paperless insurance that allows clients to compare, purchase and make claims.
We have partnered with over 35 Kenyan underwriters to provide our clients better and transparent experience while purchasing and renewing their insurance policies. Since our inception, we have been able to expand to all forms of protection ranging from medical, motor to travel insurance among others – all at the clients fingertips.
- What is the motivation behind your innovation of the revolutionary mTek app?
While being a high performing industry with regards to welfare planning and wealth creation, insurance is still perceived suspiciously by many. And this is rightfully so as there has been some lack of transparency in the fine print.
It is based on this that mTek saw an opportunity to make an impact however small to the market.
mTek innovation was based on the internet of things and the fact that digitization of services has led to transparency in business operations. It seeks to make insurance accessible to anyone with an internet connected smart device through simplified products, digital distribution and affordable payment plans.
- Give us a brief summary of how the mTek app works and why it is easier compared to other forms of premium and claims payment?
Anyone with an internet connected smart device can download the mTek application from Google Play Store.
Once on the application, we offer very simple steps and options based on the product the client seeks to purchase. All the client needs to do is to enter their specific requirements and they will get options of the said policy from over 35 Kenyan underwriters.
From this point, they can purchase directly on the application and receive their policy document in less than five minutes. We offer flexible payment options and even cater for those willing to make daily installments. In the event of a claim, the client can use the same paperless procedure to ensure their peace of mind.
- We have seen such moves before targeting the low-income earners a good example is the Mbao Pension plan they have largely been somewhat unsuccessful what are you doing differently?
As mTek, we are looking at providing our clients with exemplary personalized customer services with full transparency. What they will see on their phones as products, benefits and payment plans is what they will get. We have no hidden charges.
Secondly, with our affordable paperless products we are eliminating all paperwork that tends to discourage many from purchasing any insurance products.
Lastly, we are continuously incorporating feedback from our existing clients on how to better improve our products and services. To us, each client is a unique opportunity to better mTek.
- There are many women in tech in today’s ever evolving world. What makes you stand out from the rest?
My standing out in the insurtech industry cannot be taken in isolation. I stand out because of the support I have received from my peers in the industry and in particular the great team at mTek.
I love the fact that we have more women working and investing in the technology industry – despite the data showing we are still lagging behind.
A recent study showed that any woman-run business is still underfunded compared to those lead by their male counterpart. It is my hope that the investors will be able to consider women in technology as we continue to break the bias in the business.
Lastly, I believe in women supporting and uplifting fellow women – which makes me stand out.
- Why do you think digitization of the insurance solutions is key to growing penetration in the country?
COVID-19 has shown us that businesses must embrace digital transformation if they are to evolve and remain purposeful. At mTek, it is our vision to help break the 3% barrier of insurance penetration through digital transformation.
And why do we think so? Because the digitization of insurance solutions will enable the industry benefit from the Internet of Things through the opening of new non-tradition distribution channels; creating affordable payment options via installments; transparency as there is no paperwork; and the development of customized products based on data and artificial intelligence.
- Some of the big players are already adopting some of the technological solutions you’re offering don’t you think they will drive you out of business?
With insurance penetration in Kenya estimated to be below 3%, I believe the industry has great potential for existing and new players. I believe that competition is healthy as it offers the end consumer options to select from based on their needs, budget and experiences.
I believe that digital transformation whether for big or small players is crucial for business growth. However, the difference comes in how one uses the digital capabilities to enhance the customers experience and in the insurance industry, provide them a peace of mind that they have all the protection they need.
- In recent times, we have witnessed insurance firms decry increased fraud, how is the digital insurance tackling this ?
However, digitization of the insurance process has greatly improved in fraud detection and prevention. Beside some in-depth Know-Your-Customer (KYC), we are mTek have invested heavily in advanced technology to deter fraud.
At mTek, we use artificial intelligence to map our clients preferences and habits which help us in responding to real-time to user impersonation, when this occurs. In the era of data protection, we have high compliance to protecting our clients privacy when they are interacting with the application. Thirdly, having paperless insurance helps minimize fraudulent claims.
For the industry, I believe digital insurance will help build and maintain consumer trust by proactively keeping their identities and data secure – which has been lacking.
- What are some of the challenges of digitizing a sector that is already profitable?
Being profitable and reaching the masses are two different things. I believe that the industry must widen its reach to offer welfare and protection to as many people as possible. Having said this, the challenge of digitization is that not all classes are profitable even after digitization for example motor insurance. Secondly, the high cost of investing in fraud-proof digital technology restricts others from option. Lastly, as a large industry, digitization would mean relooking at some organizational structure which may mean redundancies resulting to employee pushbacks.
- Having joined mTek in 2019, there are goals and targets you had set as far as mTek is concerned. What are those goals and so far, have you achieved any?
It goes without saying that our 65,000 users in less than 18 months is mTek’s greatest achievement. They have trusted us to be their partner for their insurance – so that they can have some peace of mind. Secondly, being able to partner with over 35 Kenyan underwriters has enabled us to provide our clients with customized insurance products.
- mTek is a digital online insurance platform which means users have to be digitally literate and have technology competence in order to use it yet not everyone possesses these skills. How can such a population maneuver operation in this app when they want to use it?
Using data from our research team, we developed mTek in a very simplified manner where anyone with basic skills to operate a smart phone can use it. In Kenya, we have seen an increase in the use of smart devices to communicate meaning that there is an increase in digital literacy.
At mTek, we have put a lot of effort into flawless User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). In addition, we have a 24-7 toll free number with a team ready to support existing and new clients on usage of the mTek application.
- Any digital app is prone to hacking. How do you and your team ensure that this is prevented at all costs and that users’ information is kept private?
At mTek, we have a team of engineers and software developers who are continuously ensuring the safety of our system. We are guided by the security principles of confidentiality, authentication, integrity, non-repudiation, access control, availability and ethical/legal issues.
- Insurance penetration currently stands at around 3 percent in Kenya what do you have to say about that?
I would say that we must address the challenges that prevent Kenyans from accessing and purchasing insurance – trust, affordability and right products. Everyone deserves some peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a cover that protects you from uncertainty.
- What should users expect from mTek by the end of the year ?(New product offerings or your targets this year)
Through our research and product development team, we are exploring the small and medium enterprise sector, where there is a need for micro-insurance. We are also looking at creating more educative forums for our clients – current and potential – on the importance of insurance.