Although Linda Jamii by Safaricom, Britam and Changamka Micro Finance is being talked of as a product launched last month, I first heard of this product back in November 2012. Back then the product wasn’t promoted much but I remember calling one of my friends who has experience in the Insurance Sector (as a customer) to advise me if the Insurance by Safaricom is a better option. He asked me to shun the product as In-patient cover worth Kshs 60,000 per annum that was offered by then for a premium of Kshs 12,000 was not a good value for money, “they should at least offer Kshs 200,000 annual cover for a premium of Kshs 12,000”, he said.
One year later Safaricom and co seem to have listened to my friend’s advise and re-launched their Insurance Product. With a premium of Kshs 12,000 ($140 – I don’t know whether $140 is the fixed figure or Kshs 12,000), one stands to benefit from the following:
- Out-patient cover for a maximum of Kshs 50,000 per family per annum
- In-patient cover for a maximum of Kshs 200,000 per family per annum
- Hospital cash of Kshs 500 per day for maximum of 60 days in excess of 2 days a year
- Last expense of Kshs 40,000 paid on death of principal or spouse
- Hospital cover includes maternity (maximum of Kshs 30,000 from the In-patient limit) , dental and optical services (maximum of Kshs 5,000 from the Out-patient limit).
These benefits at only Kshs 12,000 annual premium are highly welcome and suitable for low income earners. Kshs 12,000 per year means a family is required to raise Kshs 1,000 per month and I believe most families in Kenya are able to raise this much each month to cater for their medical insurance needs.
There are two main draw backs in Linda Jamii insurance plan. The first one reads,
The annual premium payable is kshs 12,000 per family per annum. This can be paid in full or in 2 equal installments.
Even though the payment targets low income earners,Linda Jamii wants people to raise either Kshs 12,000 or Kshs 6,000 all at once. For the Insurance to be suitable to majority of Kenyans that it targets, the payment of premium ought to be flexible enough to allow even the very low income earners to subscribe. Linda Jamii should allow people to:
- Access the benefits after paying Kshs 6,000 just as currently is the case but
- Pay for premiums in as little installments as M-PESA pay bill can allow as long as a minimum of Kshs 1,000 is paid per month and Kshs 12,000 premium is paid per year.
The second drawback is accessibility of accredited hospitals across the country. For example, the nearest hospital that someone who lives in my rural home can access Linda Jamii at is about 40Kms away, hence Linda Jamii would be a hard sell to folks in that area. This is because the hospitals they frequent are not accredited by Britam especially for out-patient services. The suggestion for Linda Jamii is that they should include as many health facilities found at the village level as possible in order to convince the masses to join in the insurance plan.
Despite the two drawbacks, I think Linda Jamii is one of the best initiatives in the Insurance Sector that close to everyone should join.