A study to find the best business model to sell and market IBLI, ensuring its future as a commercially viable and sustainable product that benefits millions of pastoralists in Africa.
Since Index-Based Livestock Insurance was launched in 2010, the sales and distribution of the product have been successfully managed by commercial insurance agencies; specifically, Takaful Insurance of Africa. As a part of their business model, Takaful Insurance of Africa have hired agents to market and sell IBLI in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) region of Northern Kenya. The current agency model to sell and market IBLI is a three-tier system;
Co-ordinators; responsible for managing the Lead Agents
Lead Agents; recruit business establishments through their own networks
Business establishments; sell and market IBLI to their customers
This business model has proven effective to date in selling and marketing IBLI within the ASAL region but is not sustainable long-term due to high transaction costs and its limitations for scaling to other regions.
PROPOSED SOLUTION & RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
We assume that having a standardized recruitment criteria for Lead Agents with measurable indicators will allow the commercial insurance agencies to better assess the capacities of the agents and give them the necessary support to ensure effective sales, whilst maintaining relatively low transaction costs.
Having a firm structure will also enable the commercial insurance agencies to respond to demands for allied services in the drylands. In addition, it will provide examples of models of sustainable agency structures for other financial institutions or insurance companies who are currently operating in the drylands or would wish to enter into these markets.
FINDINGS TO DATE
We have completed two rounds of field work in the counties of Isiolo and Wajir, where we interviewed about 40 respondents. Our respondents consisted of all Co-ordinators from the project sites, lead-agents, sub-agents along with representatives of service providing groups and association
Preliminary results show there is an adhoc system of recruitment of agents based on unstructured guidelines by the Lead Agents. In most cases, it was found that the owner of the business is not necessarily the operator of the business, with the operator standing in for the actual agent thus making the probability of misinformation and misselling high. Moreover, there is seemingly a lack of incentives for the agents, which could be demotivating for the agents to continue to keep selling IBLI.
Kenya Markets Trust & Takaful Insurance of Africa
Kenya Markets Trust
October 2016 - Current