Pan Africa Life Assurance, MicroEnsure and Airtel Kenya have signed an agreement to make life insurance product ‘Bima Mkononi’ available to customers on their mobile phones in Kenya.

Bima Mkononi enables Airtel subscribers to buy life insurance for a minimum weekly premium of Kshs15 per week, which too can be paid through mobile.

The new policy is expected to enable the partners to cover a huge untapped insurance market in Kenya.

Pan Africa Life CEO Tom Gitogo said that with the penetration of life insurance at a low of 1.05% in Kenya, the untapped market is huge. However, the traditional models of distribution may not be efficient in improving this situation at the pace that is needed.

"Thus the need to venture into other models such as mobile insurance, bancassurance and web based selling. Our strategic partnership with Airtel will offer affordable life insurance right via one’s own mobile phone. The rates provided by Bima Mkononi also provide clients with the flexibility they need in terms of amount of premium and frequency of payment," Gitogo added.

Airtel Kenya managing director Shivan Bhargava said that with the announcement, Airtel became one of the first mobile operators to offer insurance as a strategic differentiator in its portfolio of products.

"As a company, we are committed to entering strategic partnerships that meet the ever-changing needs of our subscribers. We are keen on being part of the everyday life of our esteemed customers. This partnership will allow Airtel customers to easily access meaningful life insurance services through convenient channels," added Bhargava.

Under the partnership agreement, Pan Africa Life will underwrite the product, and micro insurance specialist MicroEnsure will be responsible for customer service and administration.