Cooperative Insurance Company (CIC), one of the first regulated insurance companies to serve low-income market in Kenya, provides a composite microinsurance product called Bima ya Jamii (BYJ). The BYJ product provides in-patient health, accidental death and disability, and funeral coverage for a single annual premium of 3650 KHS (approximately 50 USD). It covers the entire family with no limits on number of children, no age limit and no exclusions.
The project is a partnership between CIC and the government-sponsored National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). The NHIF underwrites the health cover and provides access to public hospitals. CIC carries the life risk and is responsible for marketing and servicing the product. The product is delivered by Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and cooperative channels such as Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) and other member-based organizations. The Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC) supports all stakeholders by assisting them to streamline processes between them and by building their capacities to scale up the product. SCC is also in charge of building insurance culture in targeted areas through consumer education on risk management and insurance. It delivers the education through ‘study circles’, a learning methodology that is administered by communities themselves with supporting materials provided by SCC. People organize themselves to follow ten sessions spread over a period of 1-2 months.
To complement an extensive learning agenda managed by SCC, researchers from Oxford and Amsterdam universities designed a longitudinal impact study to better understand impact of consumer education on knowledge and product take-up as well as the impact of the product on welfare of member households.
The composite product aims to provide complete coverage at an affordable price for low-income people. The linkage with the National Health Insurance Fund provides an interesting case for using market-based mechanisms within a public-private partnership to enable workers in the informal economy to access healthcare services.