AAR Insurance today announced plans to set up two additional training centres in Mombasa and Kisumu for insurance agents. This is part of the underwriter’s ongoing plans to equip at least 1500 insurance agents nationwide with professional sales skills by 2019.
AAR Insurance, which is ranked top in claims settlement according to data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority, begun training agents in 2016 at its Nairobi training centre.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of agents who had undergone the six-month training program at the Nairobi centre, Nixon Shigoli, the General Manager for AAR Insurance Kenya, said that the underwriter would set up similar centres in Mombasa.
“We will set up similar training centres in Mombasa and Kisumu. Ultimately, we want to train agents across the entire country, with a target to train at least 1500 agents by 2019,” said Mr. Shigoli.
AAR’s training centres are designed to equip trainees with relevant skills to improve customer service and productivity. The training covers communication skills, customer service, personal grooming and principles of insurance. Upon completion, trainees will be issued with certificates and some of them absorbed into the company.
“Agents are the main customer touch points. A bad experience often leads to erosion of customer confidence, leading to poor uptake of insurance thus underscoring the need for training,” said Mr. Shigoli.
The training, which takes six months, is a welcome departure from current industry practice, where agents undergo short training courses for two weeks and are then deployed to the market. In Kenya, insurance is largely distributed through the agency model hence agents play a vital role in uptake of insurance products.
Mr. Shigoli noted that insurance agents not only sell policies, but also advise customers on insurance matters. He noted that deepening understanding of the benefits of insurance would help increase insurance penetration in the country, which is currently around three per cent. Insurance penetration is measured as total industry premiums as a percentage of GDP.