Jubilee Holdings has placed a bet on former Uchumi Supermarkets chief executive Julius Kipng'etich to grow its insurance business and outpace competitors in the highly competitive market.
The Jubilee group announced on Wednesday the appointment of Mr Kipng'etich as its new CEO overseeing its business in five regional markets.
Jubilee chairman Nizar Juma said Mr Kipng'etich will be expected to help the business develop innovative products that will reduce cost of insurance and grow its customer base.
Mr Kipng'etich, who resigned from Uchumi Supermarkets early last month, is also expected to reengineer Jubilee's systems to, among other things, curb fraud, as well as improve the internal culture.
"He is not an insurance person and so, unlike us who may look at the business from a technical angle, he will help us steer Jubilee from a purely best business practice point of view," Mr Juma said in a telephone interview.
"We want more people to readily access our products through various channels and at a reduced cost. This shall be achieved through innovation. We are delighted to have Mr Kipng'etich on board to help us with this."
Jubilee closed 2016 at pole position in Kenya's general business segment with a market share of 11.32 per cent and gross premiums of Ksh13.8 billion ($133.8 million), according to the latest Insurance Regulatory Authority's (IRA) annual report.
UAP Insurance's gross premiums of Ksh10.85 billion ($105.2 million) and APA Insurance's Ksh8.99 billion ($87.2 million) saw the two firms close the year with market shares of 8.92 per cent and 7.39 per cent respectively.
Britam came out on top in the long-term insurance segment, with a market share of 23.37 per cent and gross premiums of Ksh17.2 billion ($166.8 million).
Jubilee was in second position (Ksh10.4 billion premiums; 14.09 per cent market share) and ICEA Lion third with a market share of 12.96 per cent from its 9.5 billion premiums from long-term insurance.
Mr Kipng'etich will be expected to surpass and widen the market share gap on competitors.
He is credited with helping to establish a corporate culture at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) where he was in charge before moving to Equity.
The new Jubilee boss holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting option) degree. He exited Equity in August 2015 to join Uchumi.
"It is a great honour for me to be joining Jubilee Holdings. The group has been in existence for 80 years, has a strong regional presence, excellent products, and a very innovative and talented workforce," said Mr Kipng'etich.
"I am excited about my new role, the prospects it brings and I look forward to contributing positively to the changing landscape in the insurance industry across the region."
Jubilee Holdings' net profit for the six months ending June 30, 2017 increased 18.99 per cent, largely helped by improved performance of the Nairobi bourse that helped to dampen a sharp jump in claims payments.
The listed firm's net earnings in the period climbed to Ksh1.88 billion ($18.2 million) from Ksh1.58 billion ($15.3 million) as gains from investments at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, largely comprising government securities, increased four-and-a-half times.
Jubilee booked gross premiums of Ksh18.6 billion ($180.4 million), 8.2 per cent better than previous year, helping to boost net premiums income by 21.89 per cent to Ksh10.19 billion ($98.8 million).