Players in the insurance sector pose for a picture during the official launch IRA InsureX Program at Innovation Village
The advent of digital technology and innovation across the different sectors of the economy to enhance efficiency, service delivery and facilitate easy access or absorption of products through a controlled environment has triggered the interest of the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) to create a program geared towards doubling insurance penetration by 2025.
In partnership with the Innovation Village, the Authority today launched a program to support existing insurance players, startups and other organizations using technology to build and increase access to insurance solutions dubbed “IRA InsureX” that aims to provide Business Development Services and Technical Assistance to these innovators to help them fast-track identifying opportunities, building solutions, getting solutions into the Authority’s Regulatory Sandbox, and supporting these solutions not only to navigate being in the Sandbox but also prepare to scale on graduating it, altogether working towards doubling insurance penetration by 2025.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of the CEO, Sande Protazio – Director Planning, Research and Market Development at Insurance Regulatory Authority said the program was borne out of the urgent need to grow insurance penetration, unlocking the many benefits it has for households and enterprises, and therefore for the economy at large and these become more resilient, and how technology can accelerate increasing this access.
Protazio said, “Our Innovation Action Plan of 2019 was developed on the need to extensively catalyze the use of innovation within the insurance industry. This involved creating a provision for a flexible application of regulatory tools to encourage new and existing industry players to innovate, test and scale their innovative solutions to better serve their customers through digital channels.”
He added that the InsureX program is a crucial aspect of IRA digitalization agenda that is designed to bring together InsurTech innovators to use a shared digital infrastructure to build solutions faster, build a critical mass of technology-aware insurance professionals, create market access opportunities for insurance solutions, and encourage collaboration around a connected insurance ecosystem towards doubling penetration by 2025.
“The program brings to life our Regulatory Sandbox by ensuring we not only have a steady number of high-quality solutions applying to join but that such solutions where accepted, have the fundamentals in place and opportunity to rapidly scale while in and upon graduating the sandbox. As a regulator, we are committed to supporting innovators to get market validation of their ideas as we collaborate to develop the appropriate regulatory approach to enable them succeed for the benefit of the industry” Protazio said.
The IRA InsureX program is designed to support insurance innovators to test entirely new or refine existing approaches to how insurance is packaged, bought and sold, and what value consumers get out of it by leveraging emerging opportunities in the sector such as microinsurance, telematics, algorithmic risk assessment, self-service and more.
According to Arthur Mukembo, Future Lab Studio Lead at the Innovation Village, the sandbox will provide a safe space for entrepreneurs to innovate, build and test market-driven insurance innovations under a flexible regulatory regime.
Mukembo said, “The IRA InsureX program is an opportunity for existing licensed players and insurance solutions wanting to digitalize, and innovators building technology solutions that want to embed insurance solutions to get support building, testing, refining and scaling these solutions through a structured journey in collaboration with the regulator through their Sandbox mechanism.”
“The Sandbox at its core is a safe space where innovators can test their innovations in the market around an agreed set of principles with the regulator while receiving support from the regulator and Innovation Village to refine the innovations and approach to market access in preparation for scale,” he added.
The IRA InsureX Program is designed to unlock various opportunities for insurance sector innovators by increasing adoption, unlocking new revenue streams, optimizing routes-to-market and costs to acquire and serve customers while shorten time-to-market, among others.
Participants will access developer tools to reduce the time to and cost of testing solutions, get support preparing compliant applications to the Regulatory Sandbox, get expert advice on developing, refining and implementing Product and Go to Market Strategy, and sharpen innovation acumen and capabilities to support building and scaling solutions, among others.
Whereas Uganda’s insurance sector continues to experience strong growth evidenced by the increase in the Gross Written Premium (GWP) over the years from sh240b in 2010 to sh1.2 trillion in 2021, there continues to be a need for sector players to embrace innovation and adopt technology to increase market adoption of insurance solutions, creating opportunities to grow market share.