News and knowhow for farmers

Kenyan insurer gives small-scale farmers cover for under Sh1000

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By George Munene

Pula, a Kenyan ag­ri­cul­tural in­sur­ance and tech­no­logy com­pany, is of­fer­ing small­holder farm­ers in­nov­at­ive and af­ford­able crops and live­stock in­sur­ance cover for as little as Sh500 to Sh1000. 

This, coupled with the firm’s di­gital products such as the Pula mo­bile app is help­ing often un­in­sured and over­looked small-scale farm­ers en­dure the risk of yield losses, im­prove their farm­ing prac­tices and con­sequently bol­ster their in­comes.

While over 60 per­cent of Africa’s pop­u­la­tion con­sti­tutes small­holder farm­ers, the value of premi­ums for ag­ri­cul­tural in­sur­ance in Africa rep­res­ents less than 0.7 per­cent. This leaves most of the con­tin­ent’s pop­u­la­tion in a per­il­ous po­s­i­tion given that over 2 bil­lion people in Africa de­pend to vary­ing de­grees on small-scale farm­ing.

Re­lated News: Co­oper­at­ive in­surer launches new pro­ject to cover over 250,000 Kenyan farm­ers with live­stock mi­croin­sur­ance

Re­lated News: Gov­ern­ment launches live­stock in­sur­ance policy to help farm­ers pre­vent losses

This low up­take of in­sur­ance by farm­ers can largely be blamed on ex­tort­ive premi­ums and the un­re­li­ab­il­ity of in­sur­ing agents.

Foun­ded in 2015 by co-CEOs Thomas Njeru and Rose Gos­linga, the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions ex­tend over 13 coun­tries and it has on­boarded over 4.6 mil­lion African farm­ers thus far.

Pula re­gisters farm­ers on­line through a mo­bile phone app. Break­through tech­no­logy such as ma­chine learn­ing al­gorithms is then em­ployed to bunch farm­ers with sim­ilar land pro­files. These di­gital tools are then used in the field to as­sess claims. Such in­nov­at­ive tools have en­abled the com­pany to keep its premi­ums low and with Brazil and India ear­marked as its next fron­ti­ers, also grow its busi­ness. 

“If you use the tra­di­tional model of pro­posal forms and policy doc­u­ments, the num­bers won’t add up,” he said. “To be able to de­liver such a low-cost product at that price you have to use tech­no­logy and most com­pan­ies don’t have that ca­pa­city, ” ex­plained Thomas Njeru to Re­u­ters.

Re­lated News: An af­ford­able in­sur­ance cover for Small­holder farm­ers in Kenya

The com­pany works with gov­ern­ments, NGOs, and private sec­tor play­ers to de-risk their ag­ri­cul­tural in­vest­ments as well as ac­cel­er­ate their im­pact within the ag­ribusi­ness space. In Kitui, the firm has worked with the World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) for the past three years provid­ing crop in­sur­ance to some 10,000 farm­ers and is­sued crop loss com­pens­a­tions amount­ing to. Sh82.5 mil­lion.

Pula app: Pula

Pula Kenya: info@​pula.​io/

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