The insurance earth is flat. Digital conferences have helped prove that theory.


Being a last minute addition to two Digital Insurance Innovation Conference Africa 2020 panels has proven the Flat Earthers’ hypothesis- the earth is not a spherical barrier to virtual navigation, and taking the concept one step further, insurance innovation has loosed its bindings from its earthly coil and barriers raised by regulatory frontiers.


Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance consultant, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners in his day job. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.  image source

As a last-minute addition to panels in the Digital Insurance Innovation Conference Africa 2020 proved to me several things:

  1. Zoom doesn’t care where you are- it will place you in a participation matrix, equal among equals, whether in the UK, Amsterdam, India, Namibia, US or Nigeria.
  2. Insurance innovation knows few bounds.
  3. A pitch deck is a pitch deck is a pitch deck.
  4. You no longer need worry if you are the smartest person in the room- there are smart people everywhere. Some wear kufi hats rather than ball caps.
  5. Jean-Stéphane Gourévitch , CEO, Mobile Convergence Ecosystems Limited  is a master facilitator. Obasi Ngwuta , CEO West Africa Business School, is a passionate educator/advocate/consultant.


The African insurance market is fractured but growing, penetration of products is low and insurance as an average % of GDP on the continent is approximately 1%, far below global averages of 9%.  Yes, there are exceptions such as South Africa and Namibia among others, but overall acceptance of insurance as a concept by the more than 1.3 billion who inhabit the continent is low.  Which makes the following statement encouraging:


There are many in the industry who are home grown talent and are motivated to make insurance a more regular part of African life, and digitization is a key pathway the continent can take to bringing that concept to fruition.



  • Omni-channel customer access/marketing being the focus of Adedmola Oloko’s pitch deck. Surely the same message as might be broached by Lucep PTE, but in an African context.
  • AI firm co-founder Lethabo Motsoaledi espousing the benefits of AI concepts her firm VOYC brings, but recognizing that to succeed in introducing the concepts in sufficient volume the traditional agent/customer face to face interactions must be recognized.
  • Dr. Mehedi Ibne Rahim recognizing that data use is of critical need for growth and integration of insurance products, but reminding the conference that there may be fundamental issues for data use within Takaful insurance sectors, and consult with Sharia scholars may be required.
  • Emeka Akwiwu of GenRe whose insurance reach bridges the gap between legacy form insurance and the growing product needs of the African insurance community.
  • Patty Karuhaihe-Martin, Managing Director at NamibRe has the same optimism and challenge as any director of any reinsurer- build capacity and eyes on growth, while being a staunch supporter of in-country carriers.
  • Comparisons of entrée products like micro policies as explained by Aparajit Bhattacharya, co-founder of InsureFirst and veteran of Nigerian and Indian insurance sectors, and advocate for digital health products, blockchain applications, and the need for social inclusion within insurance progress.
  • Kenyan agri-tech startup Lentera that leverages drone and AI methods to advise farmers and sets the stage for growth of potential parametric crop insurance products.
  • Trust of insurance by potential consumers perpetuates the ‘sold, not bought’ aspect of insurance products.


Sounds familiar, every point.  Insurance and innovation know no bounds on a ‘flat’ insurance earth.  And it’s easier to fill in on a conference if the task can be accomplished from one’s home office.

Thank you, panelists and attendees of the Digital Insurance Innovation Conference Africa 2020.  Africa, your insurance time is nigh.


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