Jihan Abbas
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Jihan Abbas, the Kenyan Woman Driving Transformation in Africa’s Insurance Tech

Jihan Abbas is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lami Technologies, a digital insurance platform that enables the distribution and servicing of financial products.

As a graduate of Bayes Business School and the University of Oxford, Jihan stepped into the corporate world as a commodity futures trader, trading in the New York and London sugar markets in London.

Despite a satisfactory earning, Jihan Abbas was not fulfilled. According to her, she is not only motivated by money but impact.

“I worked in a job where making money was the dominant motivation. For me, that didn’t seem like enough. It was also not what I wanted to stand for as a human being,” she said.

Jihan, therefore, started looking for a way out of the puzzle. Luckily, the opportunity to solve a major problem presented itself while she was on vacation in Kenya.

Stepping into the insurance industry

During her conversation with a waitress, she discovered that most people do not have an insurance policy to protect them and their single source of income from unforeseen risk.

She said, “Across Africa, many people rely on a single source of income, but they aren’t protecting it using financial services like insurance. This was one of the key things for me, thinking how can we provide a safety net for people.”

Her research further revealed that formal insurance coverage penetration in Africa was as low as 3%. The more facts she discovered about the problem besieging the insurance industry in her country and the continent at large, the more she yearned to solve the problem.

But as a young African woman and a fresh graduate yet to get the hang of the corporate world, she was scared. At the same time, she wanted to live a life of impact, one that her new discovery may have presented. 

With this mindset, she quit her job in London and pursued her hunch regardless of the fears.

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The creation of Griffin and Lami insurance

In 2016, Jihan Abbas founded Griffin, Kenya’s first digital-only car insurance platform. It enables people to buy and access insurance within minutes. 

By 2018, she launched Lami, an insurance-as-a-service platform and Application Programming Interface (API). This allows insurers, banks and others to provide consumers with affordable and flexible digital insurance. Many businesses leverage the platform to create and process insurance products. 

“We are democratising access to insurance by creating the infrastructure to facilitate others to be able to create and distribute products,” she added. 

With the API, the gap between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customers (B2C) is bridged. For instance, in some banks, 94% of their transactions are conducted online except for insurance. For such, people will have to go into the bank.

Beyond the shores of Kenya

The Griffin car insurance App has been used to complete more than 10,000 policies and more than a million dollars in premiums underwritten. The company has effectively executed its B2C and B2B products with 12+ partners.

This includes Sendy, a tech-logistics company that provides end-to-end logistics for businesses by connecting them to hundreds of transporters online.

To ensure the fulfilment of its mission, Jihan Abbas acquired Bluewave Insurance Agency, an insurtech startup. Through this, she aims to bridge the insurance gap in the underserved population in Africa.

Through Bluewave’s already established presence on the continent, thousands of people from Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Gambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will have access to insurance through Lami.

“We are making this investment so that we can continue to reach out to more partners across the continent, allowing us to provide more people with the policies they require,”

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