The name Jihan Abass doesn’t strike a chord when mentioned immediately. But the 26-year-old has already cemented her name in the history of Kenya.
Abass is the founder of Griffin Insurance, Kenya’s first digital car insurance company.
Speaking to Reuters, Abass said often when she enters into meetings, participants look gobsmacked, shocked by the fact that she is the boss.
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“They would be surprised to see that it was actually me,” Abass said from her bright office in Nairobi, where almost every wall is covered in dry-erase marker scrawls.
Griffin Insurance was formed in 2016 and seeks to revolutionize the way car insurance and the processing of claims is done in Kenya – done through a mobile app that allows one to buy insurance policy in less than two minutes.
“For the first time, Kenyan drivers will be able to buy their car insurance policy, with just a few simple clicks. They will read a clear, transparent policy and purchase extremely flexible insurance covers with adjustable periods and coverage amounts,” she said.
Abass conceived the idea of venturing into digital insurance when she realized her waiter lacked health insurance years earlier. Abass would then come up with Griffin Insurance with the hope to make the process of acquiring car insurance, simpler and more accessible to a majority of Kenyans.
Griffin Insurance, recently released its flagship mobile application, Kenya’s first digital-only car insurance company, which lets customers pay in installments and pause coverage if they travel abroad, reports Reuters. Griffin will process claims in a week rather than the industry standard of 30 days.
“It allows you to buy your insurance policy in less than two minutes,” stated Abass.
In addition to the app, Abass’ team has another company, Lami. Founded in 2017, the Company is committed to embracing innovation and leveraging technology and big data to address markets in Kenya and the wider region.
However, Lami is not just about technology or risk, but rather a customer-centric company with a culture of innovation and creativity, a culture of data and measurables, and a culture of collaboration and solidarity.
Lami’s purpose is to increase insurance penetration and its distribution beyond the traditional channels, mainly through digital pathways.
Abass and her 14-member team’s mission is to reinvent insurance products and the relationship between insurers and customers. Lami aims to change the value chain and create better margins and experiences.
“The current insurance process is like using a basic handset in the age of smartphones. This app is efficient, convenient, and allows us to tailor-make our insurance needs. It is what Kenyans would love. They will receive a fair quotation, based on their individual profile,” Abass explained.
According to Reuters, Lami raised half a million dollars in seed funding and aims to close further funding by March.
Always wanting to be an entrepreneur, after graduating from university in London in 2015, Abass became a sugar trader and was one of a handful of women in the business.
“A lot of the CEOs here are not only men but also foreigners,” Abass mentioned.
“You don’t really see faces like mine.”