Cenfri & Equisoft Research: Low Consumer Trust Holding Back Insurance Distribution in Africa


In a new report commissioned by Equisoft, global research firm Cenfri presents the findings of an executive study aiming to identify the key challenges and opportunities regarding digitalisation of distribution through banks and brokers, across the African insurance industry.

Conducted with 55 industry stakeholders representing life and health insurance underwriters, brokers and banks in 13 countries, the research reveals critical challenges in sales, origination, client engagement and underwriting functions.

Channel stakeholders don’t agree on critical challenges – making solutions hard to achieve

The study found that the different stakeholders in the channel had different perceptions of what the problems were and why they arose. For example:

  • 64% and 67% of insurers and brokers cited low trust, understanding and awareness among consumers as the biggest challenge they face
  • But 100% of banks felt the number one issue was low digital capabilities of insurers and/or customers
  • Over 80% of distributors mentioned difficulties developing new products/making product changes to address customer needs as a key perceived challenge they thought insurers faced. Yet this was not mentioned as a significant challenge for insurers, with only 27% stating that they have a poor understanding of customers’ needs

While disagreements amongst channel stakeholders remain, it will be difficult for the industry to significantly increase the very low penetration of insurance in the region. Especially when all parties agree that poor digitalisation of insurer systems is a major contributor to the problem.

Legacy technology modernization is needed to address systemic distribution issues

“From their different vantage points, both underwriters and distributors have clear opportunities to grow insurance penetration in our market through modernization of core systems and their integration with digital sales and service solutions. Improved data sharing between stakeholders will further contribute to partner efficiency and effectiveness throughout delivery channels, to reduce consumer frustration with legacy processes and build trust,” commented Mia Thom, Director of Insights, Cenfri.

“Less than 10% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have private insurance. This research identifies the most critical contributors to that problem and provides the blueprint for overcoming consumer hesitancy and driving client engagement,” said Shingie Maramba, Director, Wealth & Insurance Solutions EMEA, Equisoft. ‘Modernizing legacy technology and increased automation not only accelerate innovation, but drives improved customer experience which is necessary to bridging the distribution gap and building consumer trust in our industry.”

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