ILO Logo

Insights from Britam’s 10-year journey

Emerging Insight #:


Date of Release:

  February 15, 2019


  Business viability, Health



How to set up an independent, profitable business unit focusing on the low-income sector

In 2007, Britam, a diversified financial group based in Kenya, launched its first microinsurance product targeting the low-income population. Over the next 10 years, Britam established a profitable, independent business unit – Britam Microinsurance - becoming the market leader in microinsurance in Kenya, covering more than 700,000 lives.

An independent business unit led to a focus on microinsurance as a separate line of business and brought resources and accountability. It allowed for better partner management, quick decision making, improved tracking of performance and costs, creation of a multi-skilled team and a competitive advantage over other insurers. However, as detailed in the figure, establishing an independent unit for this market segment can be challenging, especially in the beginning when the business case may not be clearly understood and sufficient resources not allocated. Dependence on support services from other functions, such as IT, legal and pricing, requires clear accountability and guidelines on how the services are to be provided.

In order to make the unit a success, Britam implemented the following measures:

  • Allocated dedicated resources: The first step was to allocate dedicated staff resources (even if fewer in number), especially in business development and direct operations. This helped generate better results than could have been achieved by allocating microinsurance responsibilities to staff whose main focus was on traditional business.
  • Developed a business plan: A clear strategic roadmap covering revenue, products and partnerships had be put in place. Functions were divided between the independent unit and shared services from Britam’s traditional business.
  • Created new processes: As the client segment it served had distinct needs, the new unit needed to adopt new ways of doing things. New processes allowed the unit to improve its operational efficiency and customer service.

To learn more about how Britam became the market leader in microinsurance in Kenya, read the new case study, Making a profitable inclusive insurance business: A case study of Britam, Kenya.