Insurance is a contract, represented by a policy, in which an individual or entity receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company. The company pools clients’ risks to make payments more affordable for the insured.
Insurance policies are used to hedge against the risk of financial losses, both big and small, that may result from damage to the insured or her property, or from liability for damage or injury caused to a third party. It may be described as a social device to reduce or eliminate risk of loss to life and property.
With its large population, diverse economy and an insurance penetration rate of less than 3% of GDP in the first quarter of 2018, compared to a global average of more than 6%, Kenya holds significant promise as an insurance arena. Recent years have seen the government and the industry regulator attempt to realise this potential by developing a micro-insurance framework, increased training for insurance agents and the promotion of technology in transacting insurance business. In the shorter-term solid growth forecasts for the Kenyan economy bode well for the prospects of continued premium growth in the sector.
A prerequisite for insurance to achieve a more prominent place in the economy is for insurance companies to develop innovative products. Specifically, significant opportunities for innovation exist in distribution. Companies will eventually need to rely more on technology platforms and new applications, since the cost of reaching out to the customers – regardless of their income – tends to decrease as technology is deployed on a larger scale. The IRA is promoting access to insurance at all levels of society and actively engaging with the industry in order to achieve this.
The following point shows the role and importance of insurance:
Insurance contributes a lot to the general economic growth of the society by provides stability to the functioning of process. The insurance industries develop financial institutions and reduce uncertainties by improving financial resources.
1.Provide safety and security:
Insurance provide financial support and reduce uncertainties in business and human life. It provides safety and security against particular event. There is always a fear of sudden loss. Insurance provides a cover against any sudden loss. For example, in case of life insurance financial assistance is provided to the family of the insured on his death. In case of other insurance security is provided against the loss due to fire, marine, accidents etc.
2.Generates financial resources:
Insurance generate funds by collecting premium. These funds are invested in government securities and stock. These funds are gainfully employed in industrial development of a country for generating more funds and utilised for the economic development of the country. Employment opportunities are increased by big investments leading to capital formation.
3.Life insurance encourages savings:
Insurance does not only protect against risks and uncertainties, but also provides an investment channel too. Life insurance enables systematic savings due to payment of regular premium. Life insurance provides a mode of investment. It develops a habit of saving money by paying premium. The insured get the lump sum amount at the maturity of the contract. Thus, life insurance encourages savings.
4.Promotes economic growth:
Insurance generates significant impact on the economy by mobilizing domestic savings. Insurance turn accumulated capital into productive investments. Insurance enables to mitigate loss, financial stability and promotes trade and commerce activities those results into economic growth and development. Thus, insurance plays a crucial role in sustainable growth of an economy.
5. Medical support:
A medical insurance considered essential in managing risk in health. Anyone can be a victim of critical illness unexpectedly. And rising medical expense is of great concern. Medical Insurance is one of the insurance policies that cater for different type of health risks. The insured gets a medical support in case of medical insurance policy.
6. Spreading of risk:
Insurance facilitates spreading of risk from the insured to the insurer. The basic principle of insurance is to spread risk among a large number of people. A large number of persons get insurance policies and pay premium to the insurer. Whenever a loss occurs, it is compensated out of funds of the insurer.
7. Source of collecting funds:
Large funds are collected by the way of premium. These funds are utilised in the industrial development of a country, which accelerates the economic growth. Employment opportunities are increased by such big investments. Thus, insurance has become an important source of capital formation.