Insurers hit by high medical claims as hospital visits rebound

Insurers hit by high medical claims as hospital visits rebound

Local insurers have seen the size of medical claims surge in the opening half of 2021 largely from a rebound in hospital visits by customers.

At the same time, the underwriters have been hit by greater benefits from policyholders as the two factors combine to eat into the insurers’ earnings pie in the period.

An analysis of publicly listed insurance financials through the half year stage by Citizen Digital captures the rising claims and benefits which have grown in multiples of earned premiums.

Jubilee Holdings has for instance seen net insurance benefits and claims rise by 41.9 per cent to Ksh.12.2 billion, beating net insurance premium revenue at Ksh.11.2 billion, which saw a mere 10.9 per cent increase.

On its part, Liberty Kenya Holdings has seen claims and policy holder benefits under insurance contracts increase by 10.8 per cent to Ksh.4.1 billion while net insurance premiums have fallen by 5.9 per cent to Ksh.3.2 billion.

UAP Holdings has seen its net claims payable surge by 46.9 per cent to Ksh.7.2 billion against a lower 16.9 per cent growth in net earned premiums to Ksh.9 billion.

Britam Holdings net insurance claims and policyholder benefits have also risen by 16 per cent to Ksh.9.4 billion as net earned premiums rise by a mere 2.6 per cent to stand at Ksh.12 billion.

Meanwhile, Sanlam has registered the biggest rise in claims at 64 per cent to Ksh.4.1 billion, offsetting a 46.7 per cent growth in net earned premiums to Ksh.4.4 billion.

According to Jubilee Holdings Regional Chief Executive Officer Julius Kipng’etich, the rise in medical claims has been accompanied by increased hospital visits while greater benefits have resulted largely from withdrawn policies.

“People are now having confidence to go to hospital. Last year, there was a lot of postponed hospital visits as many stayed away in fear of contracting COVID-19. We have seen high withdrawals and surrenders as many individuals are in financial distress,” he said in an interview with Citizen Digital on August 27.

At the same time, Kipng’etich said the modification of policies in motor vehicle coverage has served to trim income booked by local insurers.

“About half of the general insurance business is motor. We have seen a number of clients shifting from comprehensive covers to third party insurance,” he noted.

On its part, UAP Holdings has flagged the tightening of reinsurance deals in the overall uptick of claims payable.

“Our net claims payable were up driven partly by increased medical claims related to COVID-19 cases and the hardening of reinsurance terms in 2021 that has led to reduced reinsurance recoveries,” the underwriter said in its half year trading statement on Tuesday.

The financial extracts on claims collaborate data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) shows insurance firms incurred 3.8 million more claims in the opening half of 2021.

General non-liability claims represent the bulk of claims sought by clients at two million.


Insurance in Kenya Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) medical claims

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