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AN EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF STATE REGULATION OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN KENYA

The insurance industry in Kenya has been neglected by successive governments in terms
of reform and development. This stems from the colonial period when the colonial
government established a solid banking foundation in Kenya to serve the settlers while it
sourced all the insurance they needed from overseas. Over the years the industry has been
on the news for reasons such as ethics, company collapse, insolvency, liquidation, court
battles, fraud and mystery in its nature and operations. The regulatory regime seems to be
invisible and yet there is an Insurance Act, offices and organizations set up by the Act to
oversee the industry.
Regulating this industry is of immense importance and crucial for its survival. It is
through regulation that the industry may deal with ethical issues, economic downturns,
winding up, insolvency, liquidation, political interference and increased rivalry between
players. An effective and sound regulatory and supervisory system is necessary to protect
policy holders, to maintain an efficient, safe, fair and stable insurance market that
promotes growth and competition in the sector. There has been a general perception that
the state isn’t doing enough about the state of the industry at the expense of innocent
policy holders. This research therefore, sought to analyze the extent to which the state has
succeeded in regulating the insurance industry in Kenya and to establish the factors that
affect effective regulation of the insurance industry in Kenya.
This study was modeled on an exploratory survey. The sample size was 64 consisting of
senior personnel that handle administrative and legal matters chosen on the basis of
industry experience and actual or presumed knowledge on the subject. The study
concentrated on the players located in within the city of Nairobi. Out of the 64
questionnaires 58 were filled and returned.
The findings revealed that the state had succeeded to address Autonomy to a great extent
and supervisory intervention to a significant extent. It had succeeded to address
Disciplinary Action, Market surveillance, Investor Confidence, Public Trust,
Anticompetitive Behavior and Compliance Costs up to a moderate extent. It has
succeeded to address Business Ethics, Flexibility/Innovation and Conflict of interest and
to a small extent. Therefore overall, it was concluded that the state has succeeded to
regulate the insurance industry up to a moderate extent.
To facilitate comparison, the study found out that the industry had succeeded to address
Investor confidence to a great extent. It had succeeded to address Flexibility/ Innovation,
Business Ethics and Disciplinary Action to a significant extent. It has succeeded to
address Market Surveillance and Public Trust to a moderate extent. While it had
succeeded to address Conflict of interest, Compliance Cost and Anticompetitive Behavior
to a small extent, it had not addressed Autonomy at all. Therefore overall, the industry
had also succeeded to regulate itself up to a moderate extent.
It was also concluded that the market, the government in power, scope and coverage,
suitability and acceptance, autonomy, foreseability, costs and mutuality of benefit were
the factors which affect the effectiveness of the insurance regulatory regime in Kenya.
The study recommended that the state should pay more attention to the insurance industry
and partner with the industry so as to address the state of the market and its penetration
rate as the industry can also become a great contributor to GDP. It needs to put right the
basic conditions for effective functioning of the supervisory authority, the insurance
sector and insurance supervision. In addition it needs to set, continually review and
enforce requirements on finance, governance and market conduct. It needs to give
autonomy and empower the regulators so as to ensure that supervisory assessment and
intervention is effective.

 

 

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Dr. Mose Aranga

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