Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Kenbright now focuses on building an African company and move it forward to a more comprehensive and competitive business.
2018 marks a significant milestone for Kenbright Holding Limited, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Founded in 1993 by Paul Gondi, Kenbright started out as an insurance brokerage employing only one person. The company was initially offering medical and general insurance but today, it has grown tremendously, diversified into other sectors and brought a team of experts on board to manage and move the business forward.
Kenbright’s Chairman Mr. Gondi says that the idea of starting an insurance brokerage firm was born after leaving employment. “I wanted to venture into business and had two options: getting into the insurance or the banking industry.” He however decided to settle on an insurance brokerage firm since it was not capital intensive. It only required about 5 million to start. Additionally, he had in-depth industry knowledge, having been trained as a Financial analyst specializing in credit evaluation and Insurance Credit Risk Mitigation. “One of my key strengths was that I built lots of networks from my previous job. I was also good in marketing, something that enabled me to propel the business to higher heights,” offers Mr. Gondi.
After being in the industry for some years, Mr. Gondi felt the need to diversify to other areas such as Actuarial, Pension and Financial services. “My first attempt with a South African partner never succeeded. We had a stint for only two years,” he says. In 2016, Ezekiel Macharia joined the company as the Chief Actuary, Partner and CEO. He had industry knowledge and technical expertise, which he used to assist the company to expand and venture progressively in the new emerging markets.
Since then, Kenbright’s journey has been accentuated by numerous transformations. It has been on a growth trajectory backed by a team of professionals with the technical capacity required in the industry.
Today, Kenbright Holdings has four divisions namely Kenbright Insurance Brokers, Kenbright Actuarial and Financial Services, Kenbright Healthcare Administrators, and Kenbright Reinsurance Brokers.
The company has also gone regional and has footprints in Uganda and Tanzania. It has also expanded into Nigeria, Namibia, Swaziland, and South Africa through strategic regional partnerships.
Kenbright has partnered with leading insurance companies in Kenya to offer insurance solutions to its clients. The company offers a range of products including motor, medical, travel and home insurance. Medical insurance is offered under Mint, a health fund that allows the company to pool funds together.
The insurance broker has also partnered with First Assurance Company to offer insurance cover to Uber riders. It is a personal accident cover for accidental medical expense costs while on hospital confinement, ambulance emergency as well as compensation for death or serious injury suffered by a passenger amongst others while on a trip with Uber.
“We have also partnered with insurance and reinsurance companies in the country to ensure that if a product is too complex, we can get capital support both locally and internationally,” says Ezekiel.
Furthermore, Kenbright offers consulting services including risk management, training and compliance on insurance related matters, actuarial and financial services that are tailored to meet client’s needs.
“One of our main strengths is local technical capacity,” says Ezekiel adding that “We have a team of technical experts who help the risk carrier in different areas including actuarial, supervision and reinsurance.
The company targets the youth and discerning consumers who are searching for a partner to help them manage risks. Ezekiel reveals that the consumers have been seeking out assistance from international players.
Kenbright has gone through major transformations in 25 years. “Our key milestone is setting up a whole 360 one-stop shop for the insurance and financial services company.”
The company has moved from just being an insurance broker and focused on other disciplines including actuarial and financial services and reinsurance where we are geared to offer solutions.
Furthermore, Kenbright has brought in key technical people to head the team. One of them is Sammy Makove who joined the company in 2017. He is the Regulatory Affairs and Advisory director at Kenbright Actuarial and Financial Services. Mr. Makove is a former Commissioner of insurance and Chief Executive of the Insurance Regulatory Authority. Another notable person is Chrispin Onyancha who heads Kenbright Reinsurance Brokers as the Chief Executive. Prior to this, Chrispin was the Regional Manager, Eat Africa at Munich Reinsurance Company.
Kenbright Healthcare Administrators is headed by Dr. Kanja Koinange who is also a Director of the Company while the Risk department is headed by Mukami Njeru who joined Kenbright Actuarial and Financial Services as a Risk Director in 2016.
The company has also grown its staff base, from two people in 1993 to the current 35, who are technically equipped.
The chairman notes that the dynamics in the insurance industry have changed. “We have changed our traditional ways of doing things and we are now focusing on offering specialized and value-added products to our clients.”
Despite making major strides in its undertakings, Kenbright has faced a few challenges. To begin with, many Kenyans do not want to accept change. That has led to low acceptance level of new insurance products in the market.
Secondly, is hiring people who are good on paper, yet they can’t execute what is required of them. “In that regard, we have embarked on thorough training of our staff in different areas including work pressure, quality and peer review,” observes Ezekiel.
Thirdly, as the company grows, people’s roles have expanded. “We are therefore working on dynamic restructuring of the processes.” Kenbright has also outsourced some of its functions including human resource, information technology, public relations and compliance.
Mr. Gondi however notes that despite the ups and downs, the 25 years have been a learning experience. “I personally feel I have learnt a lot and I’m determined to remain focused to steer the company ahead and be one of the front leaders in the changing insurance dynamics.”
The road ahead
Ezekiel observes that the world is turning into the digital and artificial intelligence age. In that regard, Kenbright is well positioned to be a digital frontier partner and have a strong intelligence platform. “We are nimble, don’t have legacy issues, and have a young and robust team of actuaries who are the old data scientists.”
It also wants to be viewed as the technical partner of choice when it comes to providing financial solutions in Africa, especially in East and Central Africa.
“In reinsurance broking, we want to be the broker of choice and establish a strong footprint in the continent, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Chrispin. “We also want to be the first reinsurance broker to support the roll out of cyber products in the country,” he adds.
“Our synergies will make Kenbright the dream choice to partner with,” says Mr. Gondi.