Kenyans feel conned as Britam pulls the plug on low-end insurance cover

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Britam has terminated Linda Jamii, for individuals a health cover targeting the underserved low-end in the society. The insurance cover’s chief target is groups such as chamaas and Small and medium size enterprises.

Linda Jamii  cover which is also a collaboration with Telecommunications Company, Safaricom has been pulled out for retail clients since the two parties did not hit the expected target in numbers for individuals one year later.

The product was initially meant to revolutionize insurance provision in the country by allowing families and groups at the bottom of the pyramid to access healthcare by paying premiums through mobile money platform M-Pesa. This way Britam hoped to cut cost of signing up new users and collecting premiums riding on Safaricom’s 21 million plus subscribers.

Ten months into service, Britam changed tack to market the health cover to corporate clients after low-income household failed to register the intended capacity by the time. By changing focus to a more intergrated, enterprise-led initiative rather than retail clients, the telco reduced customer base target down to 200,000 from one million medium term target.

The premium will strictly target employees of firms and members of investment or social groups only leaving out  individuals who were warming up to the cover. According to Britam, targeting customers who belong to the same work or social group would reduce the administrative burden associated with selling the popular low-end cover.

However, individuals who subscribed to the Linda Jamii covers will still get the services until expiry but no policies will be sold henceforth. The move will reduce costs to the insurance company at the same time a better way to manage risks.

Self-employed Kenyans feel conned

As the move seems to benefit the insurance firm, Kenyans feel left out on it even worse conned of their money. The insurance company offered in-patient and out-patient cover for Ksh 12,000 per year to low income earners. Families consisting of two parents and unlimited number of children were offered an in-patient cover of 200,000 per year an out-patient cover of 50,000 per year with a daily hospitalization pay out of up to ksh500 to a maximum of 60 days.

With a tagline ‘Mwisho wa Mawazo’, Kenyans now feel like this is now ‘Mwanzo wa Mawazo’ in terms of their health insurance cover. With the new NHIF rates, individuals feel left out of the health cover  after the un-plugging of their only hope Linda Jamii.

According to a subscriber of the insurance cover, one of the tough conditions as put by him was that a subscriber had to wait for one year to lapse in order to benefit for services such as elective surgery. “Britam upon noting that a sizeable number of its subscribers could soon choose to exercise that right of benefit have actually cut the hands that fed them for a year, they are in the market on another scouting mission.”

The subscriber goes ahead to say Britam is deliberately skiving its obligations. He says he has never used the service not because he has been well all the time but because outpatients outlets that accept the cards for basic services are limited. With the plan to undergo a minor surgery later this year, the subscriber will not be in a position to because of the terms in place which means the money for the premium goes to waste.

Even though the company has put it clear that individuals will still enjoy their cover till expiry,one can only benefit from services like elective surgery in the second year which now cannot happen simply because policies cannot be renewed henceforth.

 

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Winfred Kuria
Winfred Kuria is a self-constituted web content writer in charge of Tech News and Events Publicity at Kachwanya.com. She will communicate in the simplest way possible with an aim of changing the world one mind at a time.
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