By combining expertise, a large client base and tailor-made insurance services, SONARWA General and SONARWA Life have renewed efforts in providing customers with the best insurance covers for their assets and build resilience to unforeseen risks. In a press conference that was held on Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 at SONARWA headquarters, SONARWA administration shared strategic plans for the next year regarding the improvement of services, quicker settling of claims and offering more value to stakeholders.
Iza Irame, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of SONARWA General Insurance says the company underwent restructuring at the beginning of 2018 that focused on improving the company’s performance, introducing tailor-made insurance covers and hiring more skilled personnel.
Given the complexity of insurance, personnel in the insurance sector need to explore different fields of the sector including risk management and understand how premiums are calculated. Those are skills that are vital in settling insurance claims.
Twahirwa Tony, Chief Executive Officer of SONARWA General says the company strives to equip staff with the necessary skills to excel in settling claims. “Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) certifications obtained from abroad are not only expensive but less consonant with the local market needs. We have recently partnered with Kenya College of Insurance which offers a curriculum that incorporates the local culture, socio-economic and legal aspects and makes it easier for our staff to understand how local insurance policies work. We also offer in-house trainings to ensure better services are offered to our customers.”
Twahirwa adds that there needs to be sensitization about the importance of insurance at a country level in order to reach out to low-income earners as well. That is why SONARWA has put more efforts in promoting Livestock Insurance to cater for farmers in rural areas.
Earlier this month, BK General Insurance proposed a deal to acquire SONARWA but today, RSSB, the major shareholder of SONARWA announced that the decision will not materialize. In 2017, RSSB acquired 79.46 per cent of stakes in SONARWA General and 100% stakes in SONARWA life after taking over Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Nigeria Plc shares.
Richard Tushabe, the Director General of Rwanda Social Security Board and Vice Chairman of the Board at SONARWA General says the deal was about merging efforts to accelerate the penetration of insurance at the country level. “We thought the merger would accelerate micro-penetration but the board was not satisfied with the value proposition. For now, with the support of the board and staff at SONARWA General and SONARWA Life, we believe the insurance sector can thrive but, in the future, due to the changing market dynamics, if a similar offer is provided, we might reconsider a merger.”
Customers today are digital natives and want the best rates from every insurer in a few clicks. Eric Kamanzi, Ag. Chief Executive Officer of SONARWA Life therefore explained that SONARWA works with different telecommunication companies to ensure customers are served everywhere in the country. “We continue to lean on online payments and mobile transfers to complement the Government of Rwanda agenda towards a cashless economy.”
In 2017, data from the Central Bank of Rwanda showed that the insurance sector was accountable for a $26.1 million debt. Currently, SONARWA has led the way in paying the entirety of its debt and continues to accelerate the penetration of insurance in Rwanda.
Richard Tushabe, Director General of Rwanda Social Security Board and Vice Chairman of the Board at SONARWA General