Bodabodas (motorcycle taxis) are the most popular form of transport in Kenya with over 3M motorcycles and 15M Kenyans using them daily. The huge growth has been accompanied by avoidable injuries and deaths. It has been estimated that 90% of these are used for commercial purposes with the major use being the transport of passengers known as pillion passengers. The Department of Non-Communicable Diseases through the Division of Violence and Injury Prevention is mandated to provide mechanisms to halt and reverse the burden of injuries with road traffic crashes in particular. Further data from NTSA indicates that 30% of road traffic accidents involve boda-bodas and the accident severity ranks as follows:
- Fatalities – 30%
- Severe injuries – 45%
- Mild injuries- 25%
This indicates that all the boda boda accidents tend to involve injury.
KHIS Comparative data from 2017 – 2021 show that the number of road traffic accidents is increasing.
The situation is so severe that trauma wards now named “bodaboda wards” have been set up in most major hospitals across the country with 40% of trauma cases in hospitals in Kenya arising from bodaboda related accidents. This causes the injured to rely on already overburdened families and friends to help foot the hospital bills through contributions/harambees. WHO attributed bodaboda-related deaths to poor driving/riding behaviour, riding without a helmet, post-crash care and flaunting traffic laws.
Though bodabodas have been around since the mid-70s, they only grew in popularity following the government’s directive to zero-rate motorcycles below 2500cc in 2008. Focus has primarily been on bodaboda financing solutions, neglecting safety and insurance. The current personal accident policies available have a lengthy paper-based claims process with claims taking 30 days or more. Insurance penetration in Kenya is less than 2% and 2 out of every 3 bodaboda riders are either underinsured or uninsured. The majority of pillion passengers are uninsured.
These challenges are compounded by insurance companies who see bodaboda riders as high-risk and shy away from insuring them. Bodaboda riders, on the other hand, only purchase insurance to remain compliant but see no value. The bodaboda riders, when insured, have complained about the lengthy process to get their claims addressed, leading to further mistrust of insurance. In a country where bodabodas are the fastest-growing mobility segment, and also a large contributor to increased employment, it is shocking to see how maligned the segment is by insurers.
If we make the insurance pricing flexible and bite-size, then offer it digitally through on mobile, both riders and pillion passengers will be able to afford insurance. Insurance penetration should increase as experienced in the financial sector in Kenya through the introduction of mobile money, M-Pesa. In the next 5 years, we see ourselves as the provider and distributor of the most needed risk offsetting products for the bodaboda segment and their families. Just like fintech companies have formed loan products for different aspects of their lives, we intend to push similar insurance products that protect and cover all aspects of their lives.
In light of this, AiCare invented BodaSecure to provide digital, bite-sized, affordable insurance for increased insurance penetration in low-income segments as well as give the insurer sufficient data to accurately price the risk of individual riders to manage claims ratio for profitability. In case of an accident, riders and their pillion passengers will have access to post-accident care through automated ambulance dispatch and prompt claims settlement right from their mobile phones helping to increase insurance penetration in these low-income segments.