By Irene Atieno
- Caroline Munene’s role will be to provide leadership and harmonization of the business operations within the various strategic business units in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
- The underwriter is set to open training centres in Mombasa and Kisumu as part of the training initiative
- AAR’s training centres are designed to equip trainees with relevant skills to improve customer service and productivity
- AAR Insurance, which is ranked top in claims settlement according to data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority
- In Kenya, insurance is largely distributed through the agency model hence agents play a vital role in uptake of insurance products
Leading regional medical underwriter AAR Insurance, has announced the appointment of their new Group Chief Executive Officer for East Africa, Ms. Caroline Munene. Ms. Munene will take the lead with the responsibility of driving AAR Insurance’s operations throughout Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania as well as ensuring the growth of the company as a whole.
Her main role as she takes up her new appointment will be to provide leadership and harmonization of the business operations within the various strategic business units in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
“Caroline Munene’s appointment as Group CEO reflects the board’s strong confidence in her abilities. We believe she has the necessary skills, experience and resolve to not only manage AAR Insurance’s regional business interests, but also drive innovation and growth at a group level,” said AAR Insurance Board Chairman Mr. Kiprono Kittony.
Prior to taking up her new position, Ms. Munene served as the Managing Director for AAR Insurance Kenya. She joined the company in 2013, and has been instrumental in driving its growth.
“With over 20 years’ experience in the Insurance industry, Ms. Munene is suited to the task at hand. She continues to be an asset to the management team. Her vast experience in business strategy formulation and implementation as well as developing initiatives to enhance profitability will be invaluable as she steers AAR insurance Group to the next level,” added Mr. Kittony.
She has served in various leadership positions for the last 20 years within the insurance industry. She holds a Masters Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and professional Diploma from Chartered Insurance Institute (London).
Commenting on her appointment, Ms. Munene had this to say: “I am excited to be taking on this new role; it presents a good opportunity for me to continue contributing to the growth of the region’s insurance industry.”
Ms. Munene has had an immense impact on Kenya’s insurance sector, contributing meaningfully to growth and innovation through membership and active participation in key industry bodies such as the Association of Kenya Insurers, where she is a board member.
The Insurance company has also announced plans to set up two additional training centres in Mombasa and Kisumu for insurance agents. This is part of the underwriter’s ongoing plans to equip at least 1500 insurance agents nationwide with professional sales skills by 2019.
AAR Insurance, which is ranked top in claims settlement according to data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority, begun training agents in 2016 at its Nairobi training centre.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of agents who had undergone the six-month training program at the Nairobi centre, Nixon Shigoli, the General Manager for AAR Insurance Kenya, said that the underwriter would set up similar centres in Mombasa.
“We will set up similar training centres in Mombasa and Kisumu. Ultimately, we want to train agents across the entire country, with a target to train at least 1500 agents by 2019,” said Mr. Shigoli.
AAR’s training centres are designed to equip trainees with relevant skills to improve customer service and productivity. The training covers communication skills, customer service, personal grooming and principles of insurance. Upon completion, trainees will be issued with certificates and some of them absorbed into the company.
“Agents are the main customer touch points. A bad experience often leads to erosion of customer confidence, leading to poor uptake of insurance thus underscoring the need for training,” said Mr. Shigoli.
The training, which takes six months, is a welcome departure from current industry practice, where agents undergo short training courses for two weeks and are then deployed to the market. In Kenya, insurance is largely distributed through the agency model hence agents play a vital role in uptake of insurance products.
Mr. Shigoli noted that insurance agents not only sell policies, but also advise customers on insurance matters. He noted that deepening understanding of the benefits of insurance would help increase insurance penetration in the country, which is currently around three per cent. Insurance penetration is measured as total industry premiums as a percentage of GDP.