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Is AI Disruption on the way for Kenya’s Insurance Space?

The earliest known reason for introducing insurance protection in Kenya, came during the time of the Colonial British — when they insured their farms and crops against loss, damage etc. Today, Kenya has 70% of the East African Insurance market (among Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania & Rwanda). Still, African Insurance is relatively nascent in terms of size. Only 6 major markets dominate the landscape in a serious way — Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria & Kenya. Infact, the number of insurtech startups in the continent altogether is a paltry 50 something. 

The looming political climate coupled with a slowly recovering economy and some fierce competitive tactics used by traditional incumbents places the industry far from ideal in terms of marketplace conditions, including the slowdown in uptake of insurance products by an income-sensitive population.

Yet, Kenya offers a sense of growing appeal for young insurtechs in this region. The market remains largely undisrupted, since insurance penetration is only about 3% (insurance penetration for the African continent is only at 0.3%), attracting large international insurers like Allianz and Swiss Re who have recently entered the market. Kenya, like other countries in the region, has enormous potential similar to South-East Asian economies that also remain largely undisrupted with lower penetration rates.

The positive sentiment surrounding Kenya’s potential for deep tech disruption is not surprising — According to the 2019 Government AI Readiness Index published by the  IDRC and Oxford Insights — Kenya is the most AI ready country in Africa.

Buying Behavior

Insurtech startups are exploring avenues using AI that large, traditional players have less incentive to exploit, such as offering ultra-customized policies, social insurance, and using behavior data from devices to dynamically price premiums.

The Millennial experience is entirely technology driven, while their attitudes and perceptions as consumers will shape the future of how insurance as a service continues to remain relevant.


According to a Kenya Insurance Industry Report, 65% of millennials compare prices across different websites before making a purchase, 68% only buy a product through referrals from friends and social media. Interestingly, 84% of them are opposed to traditional advertising. 

For insurers, loyalty comes at a price — often dictated by the pain point the product/service can eliminate for impatient classes of customers. Analysing buying or browsing behavior can lead to an immense amount of ethically siphoned data. Using ML models and regression algorithms, insurers can create a unified view of their prospect, and realize a multi-targeted approach to create opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.


The report also highlights the importance of making sense of social media behavior — since 41% of millennials use social networking sites to pass on recommendations of products and services to friends and family.

Unlocking market potential requires targeting the uninsured growing middle class in creative ways. In addition to better pricing models, insurtech startups are testing the waters on a host of potential game-changers, such as using deep learning trained artificial intelligence (AI) to handle the tasks of brokers and finding the right mix of policies to complete an individual’s coverage.

Insurtechs are using AI to solve for Kenya’s distribution challenges, by looking at vital consumer needs that have previously been unmet or glossed over. At the same time, there is scope for improving the average consumer’s awareness of artificial intelligence technology, and how they can take advantage of it to solve priority-first issues related to convenience, cost and range of choice.
Nairobi-based Jubilee Insurance, the largest insurer in East Africa is making the most of AI tools like chatbots and automated messaging platforms for streamlining simple customer feedback & support operations. They have also launched forward-thinking products like “Recover in Style” which provides hair and make-up services to Jubilee patients who are hospitalized — services that go beyond the financial needs and into the realm of delivering superior customer experiences.

These efforts highlight a trend pointing towards the growing interest in the use of apps to pull policies into one platform for management and monitoring, creating on-demand insurance for micro-events like borrowing a friend’s car, and the adoption of the peer-to-peer models to create customized coverages. Bluewave, for example, is an insurtech startup offering low-cost insurance products, as low as US$4 a week, aimed at low-resource, low-income users in last-mile environments.

The expanding middle class and growth in mobile phone penetrations will be critical to widening distribution and getting more people to buy micro-insurance sized products for the first time. Badalaa is an on-demand insurtech startup focussed on bringing insurance at the point of transaction where the user needs it. Turaco, a recently funded insurtech, with premiums for as little as US$2 — leverages mobile financial services to provide hospital cashback to customers who have sought treatment at any nationally-accredited hospital in the regions where they operate. These innovations further the consumer’s awareness of AI-enabled insurance coverage and protection in general, in an otherwise underpenetrated marketplace.


Bismart is another example — an insurtech aggregator that allows customers to not only buy the best-in-class insurance products but also make claims directly from their portal as well. 

The biggest learnings for young insurtechs in this space from more mature markets, are about getting the basics right – having a single view of the customer, being able to launch rates and change pricing in real-time, offering customers a multichannel experience without requiring them to fill in the same information over and over again, and settling claims quickly without the need for multiple touchpoints.

Demand-driven models, built on sufficiently large data-sets will be instrumental in driving individual customisation at mass-scale for the sector at large.

We help young insurtechs, build and scale AI-driven products and solutions for last-mile environments. Reach out to us on hello@mantralabsglobal.com, to learn more.

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A website’s page load time plays an important role in customer acquisition. Google states that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, over half of the visitors will leave it. Eventually, it leads to conversion and profits. Although there are online tools available to check your website loading time and performance (Lighthouse, for instance), it’s important to understand what affects your website’s page load time. You can then optimize your web page accordingly.

8 Factors that affect the page load time

#1 Web hosting

Today, no one would like to wait for a website to spin and load at its speed. Websites that load quickly perform more in user engagement, conversion rates, and user experience. Hence, it is very important to have a high-availability web hosting plans.

#2 Size of files

The page speed always depends on the size of the assets loaded on the browser. It is, therefore, good to have an optimum number of assets with the least possible file size. This will require lesser bandwidth.

#3 Number of HTTP requests

Greater the number of HTTP requests from a browser to server/server to server, the higher will be the bandwidth consumption. Therefore, keep the number of HTTP requests to the minimum possible.

#4 Absence of CDN

Using CDN will boost the performance of the web site. The absence of it will affect the load time. CDN is a content delivery/distribution network. It is a network of proxy servers and their data centres distributed across the globe to increase the performance and availability of services to the end-users.

#5 Mediocre coding

Bad coding will always affect the page performance and SEO ranking of the website. It is good to follow best practices starting from the initial stage of development.

#6 The number of redirections

The number of redirections impacts the DNS lookup time.

#7 Lack of Keep-Alive

If you’re using HTTP/1.0 protocol and have not configured Keep-Alive, then there’s a higher possibility that the browser to server connection will break. It will not load the page properly. 

#8 Hotlinking

Sourcing page content from other sites might affect the load time and performance of your website.

You might also like to read about 11 proven techniques to optimize website performance.

Strategies and checklist for website optimization

You can implement either bottom-up or top-down strategy for website optimization (discussed later). However, website optimization is an iterative process and you can repeat the following loop after completing a cycle.

How to optimize the website - Infographic
  1. Ideas: Prepare a checklist of all the possible strategies for the target website to optimize.
  2. Prioritize: Prioritize the prepared checklist strategies and act on them.
  3. Test: Test the applied strategies for enhanced performance.
  4. Analyze: Analyze the impact and performance of the website and check if any further strategies are required.
  5. Optimize: For further enhancement, perform the cycle again until you achieve the best.

#1 Bottom-up strategy

This strategy starts from planning to production (Proactive). It defines a set of rules and actions before/while starting the actual development.

Bottom up strategy for website optimization

The above infographic represents the lifecycle of Bottom-Up strategy in web page optimization.

#2 Top-down strategy 

It is a reactive method, which analyses the existing process to find the issue/lag, then reworks on behavioural grounds to accomplish the target. It is a reverse engineering process to identify the performance-issue gap and methods to fix them.

You can identify the resources which are affecting in maximum page load by considering the following-

  • Resource size
  • Asset positioning
  • Render blockers
  • Uncompressed contents
  • Bad requests

Once you’ve identified the sources, lay down the process of optimizing the content and keep iterating to achieve the desired results. 

Basic checklist for both bottom-up and top-down strategies 

  1. Layout performance principles
    1. Page load time
    2. Responsiveness
    3. Minimizing the number of requests
    4. Use Cache headers
    5. Minify CSS and JS contents
    6. Use CSS sprites
    7. Encourage Lazy loading on contents wherever possible
    8. Avoid iframes and redirects
  2. Executive performance principles
    1. During application design
    2. During application development

Consider the following aspects during the design and development phase.

#1 Application design optimizations

  1. Simple & lightweight: Include only key functionalities on load to keep it lightweight.
  2. Client side components: Adopt client side validation to catch errors.
  3. On demand data loading: Use on-demand data instead of pre-loaded data. (E.g. use paginations, pop-up contents on click instead of on load)
  4. Asynchronous calls: Adopt implementation of AJAX calls from the presentation tier and the business tier.

#2 Application development optimizations

  1. Include JS files at the bottom of the page (to avoid render blocking of page).
  2. Combine multiple CSS files and optimize unwanted rules as per page requirements.
  3. Avoid using external scripts at the beginning of the page.
  4. Combine smaller images/icons to sprite & have optimi.
  5. Use CSS rules/files in the head section of the document.
  6. Reduce the number of requests to server.
  7. Implement server/browser caching on possible sections.
  8. Implement Mobile-specific sections to avoid overloading on small screen devices.

Below are few improvisation observations which are affected by optimizing the Webpage and it’s assets.

UI performance optimization and the performance gains - Infographic

We’re technology tinkerers, experimentalists, and experts in customer experience consulting. Get in touch with us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com to know more about our ventures in website design and experience consulting. 

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In a country that ranks second in the world for video consumption, cheap data is often attributed as the primary driver behind it. Although data is cheapest in India (Rs. 18.5/GB in 2018, Rs. 3.4/GB in 2019), regional content curated and consumed by natives contributed a great deal to the adoption of digital in rural India. Digital content consumption is expected to double, with over a billion of the population having a smartphone by the next decade. Let’s see what will change in the coming decade? But before, a quick insight into the existing Indian digital landscape.

India’s Digital Demography

Users: 94% of the urban population in India has an internet subscription; which falls to a considerable low among the rural populace (only 24%), according to TRAI.

There are four categories of internet users – Digital sophisticates (3%): these are tech-savvy, wealthy, and urban and prefer global and original content; Digital enthusiasts (36%): these are mainly smartphone & TV streaming users with preference for Hindi and regional content; Digital mainstream (59%): these are predominantly smartphone users and seek free content available online or bundled TV packages; Fringe users (2%): these are irregular users belonging to remote areas where internet connectivity is poor. (India’s Digital Future, KPMG, 2019)

Temp-infographic

Preferences: Nearly 30% of google search in India is voice-driven (Business Standard, 2019), indicating voice assistance will further progress linguistic democratization.

In India, YouTube accounts for nearly 265 million unique, active users. 95% of these users watch videos in their regional languages (Economic Times, 2018).

Google and Facebook account for nearly 80% of the digital advertisement in India (KPMG India analysis). In 2018, Google reported INR 93 billion in revenues from its operations in India, with 67% accruing from its digital ads platform. Also, video ads contribute to most of ad-spent (53%).

In 2018, there were 340 million smartphone users in India, which is projected to reach 829 million by 2022, according to the CISCO VNI report.

New Trends in Digital Content Consumption

Today, video streaming services have more subscribers (613 million) than traditional cable connection (556 million), according to VentureBeat news.

The media consumption in India has grown at a CAGR 9% during 2012-18 (IBEF, 2019), which is almost nine times that of the US. Print media and television remains the largest platform for advertisement, however the future might witness a shift.

The Indian FMCG sector spends the most on digital advertising. However, considering its overall budget, it’s only 16%. Interestingly, the BFSI sector spends nearly 38% of its marketing budget on digital advertising. (Dentsu Aegis Digital Report, 2019) This indicates that industries have started to realize and invest in digital platforms.

Regional content: According to KPMG in India analysis, consumers spend 35-43% of their time on regional videos on digital platforms. Digital content and media platforms like Zee5, Hotstar, Voot, and Amazon Prime Video are keen on producing original and region-based content. According to Financial Express, the cost to develop regional content is 30-40% lower than that of Hindi and has a larger viewership. 

Original content: The increased digital content consumption also demands originality. Today, content generation is not limited to the media and entertainment industry. For instance, in September 2019, Zomato launched a video streaming service on its app. The primary goal remains the same- customer engagement. Addressing the fact that food is not the only thing people consume these days, businesses are penetrating the minds of youth through quality and original content. 

Hotstar reports 80% of its viewership from dramas and movies and plans to invest INR 120 crores in creating original content.

The Future of Content in India and APAC

The next significant disruption in content consumption will come from 5G technology. Because digital content needs internet and India’s still dangling between 2G and lower cap of the 4G network. Setting up a 5G network will require a $500 billion investment in the next 5-7 years. The government is expecting the initial deployment of the 5G network by 2020 and roll-out by 2022.

5G technology will be able to handle more traffic at a higher speed, satisfying the demand for high data and the growing number of mobile users. HD content will become a thing of the past and consumers will be interacting with augmented reality in their everyday life. It will not only enhance augmented reality and virtual reality experiences but will also support IoT, autonomous vehicles, and automation to name a few. However, India isn’t quite ready for 5G technology yet. The following graph illustrates the countries which are about to enter the 5G era.

5G-Adoption-across-the-world

An overview of digital behavior in Japan, Korea, and Singapore which are among the top 10 countries to deploy 5G.

 JapanRepublic of KoreaSingapore
Internet penetration93%99.5%84.0%
Mobile penetration89.9%95.8%147.3%
Preferred device to go onlineSmartphone (59.7%)Smartphone (94.3%)
Online activityEmail (80.2%), weather report (65.8%), transport (63.4%)Communication (95.2%), information search (94.0%)

Source: SourceSource: India’s Digital Future, KPMG

5G will also make technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, cloud-based gaming, IoT and OTT services commercially available.

Apart from this, AI (Artificial Intelligence) will continue to retain customer engagement through predictive analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing capabilities.

For example, Hotstar uses machine learning algorithms for personalized movie recommendations. It predicts user preferences by calculating total watch time per user per month. The company is leveraging AI technology for translations, audio to text conversions, video compression, object detection, and scene classification.

Also read – Your Shopping Cart just got a whole lot Smarter, this festive season.

We’re an AI-first products and solutions firm with extensive experience in insurance and consumer internet domains. Feel free to reach us out at hello@mantralabsglobal.com for an intelligent digital solution to your business requirements.

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