By Ashok Shah, Group CEO
Insurance is all about sustainability and resilience. APA is one such insurer that promotes the ability of its clients to remain sustainable despite calamities, catastrophes, illnesses, accidents or any other fortuitous events. APA ensures happiness: this is an ambitious motto and an infinite ambition. At APA, we take a eudaimonic approach to defining happiness. We look at wellbeing from the perspective of mental, physical, economic, and social factors.APA, through the Apollo Foundation, has been a supporter of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since its inception in 2015.
APA signed the Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance, which was launched by United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI). We put sustainability at the heart of risk management in pursuit of building a resilient, inclusive and sustainable society. This strategic approach is a concept consistent with the ‘Triple Bottom Line,’ succinctly described as People, Planet and Profit. APA is a responsible corporate citizen. We have embedded environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in our core processes, products and services, which are material in enhancing long-term corporate value. The operations of our services touch on all members of the community with the potential to positively impact their quality of life. We also operate from a significant number of branches throughout the country, and have a responsibility to the local community.
APA is a significant employer, having directly created jobs for over 400 staff members and another 1,000 indirectly, as financial advisors. Our relationship with the local communities we serve is an essential part of the sustainability and growth of our business. In developing our products and services, we take into account the improvement of services both to our clients and the community as a whole.
In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Foundation aims to help end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people have a chance to enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The company and its Foundation implement the following key SDG’s both directly and indirectly:
- Zero Hunger- SDG #2 and Good Health & Well Being- SDG #3
Due to the unknown nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had several ripple effects, including the sudden closure of businesses and loss of employment. This resulted in a shortage of food. As a company, and indeed through our Foundation, we took a bold decision to pay for all COVID-19 claims under our health cover. This decision was taken having followed the precedent of covering HIV-related claims since the year 2000, when no other insurer was willing to do so. The sustainability of our insureds (both corporate and individuals) depended on their ability to meet the very high hospital bills arising from prolonged treatments and ICU stays.Then, there was the large section of our clients who lost their income: they needed food to survive. In response to this, we partnered with Care Package and the ‘Stand With Kenya’ campaign to provide over 18,000 families with food, face masks and sanitisation items during these most difficult times.
The APA purpose directs our efforts in delivering health insurance that provides shared value. Through our products and services, we incentivize healthy behaviours that support a healthier society, improved productivity and a reduced healthcare burden. Through the Foundation, we established the APA Foundation Dental Wing at The Jalaram Medical Centre in Parklands. It is built to assist those who require dental care at an affordable rate. The Foundation donated Ksh 15 million towards this.
Additionally, the Foundation promotes sporting activities by supporting the Runda Youth Sports Association (RYSA) football team. The sponsorship includes the fees for RYSA to participate in various leagues and provides football kits, logistics and team allowances. The RYSA football team participates in the Nairobi County league which is under the Football Kenya Federation (FKF). APA also organises tournaments for the team in order to boost and continue to nurture the soccer talents and positively engage the youth in Mji wa Huruma and Githogoro villages.
- Quality Education SDG #4
APA has a comprehensive learning and development programme in place to drive life-long learning across its workforce, including graduate programmes and targeted leadership training.Since 2006, APA has adopted Cheleta Primary School in Runda to help improve the school and its facilities, to motivate the students and hence improve their performance. From a low score of below 200, the best students now obtain over 350 out of a possible 500 marks. Cheleta’s students are from the 2 slums neighbouring Runda.
APA sponsors two of the best performing students, a boy and a girl, for their secondary education. Many of these students are then able to join university, of which the company facilitates. During school holidays, APA provides the sponsored students the opportunity to intern at the company, where they are given a stipend. Several students, upon graduating, are employed by the firm.
Besides the Cheleta alumni, APA has an active programme for attachments and internships for university students. Currently, we have 20 students under this programme. On a wider impact, for parents to afford a good education for their children, APA Life has the Elimu Insurance solution. This provides the opportunity to save for your child’s future education. As a parent, you are equally covered for any unforeseen circumstances.
- Gender Equality- SDG #5
APA has set targets for gender representation across all employment levels as part of its Employment Equity Plan, with a specific focus on the promotion of women to senior management roles. We are proud that the team is composed of an equal number of men and women across all areas of operation.
In addition, in partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC), we have launched a Women’s Insurance program to tackle gender inequality. This program seeks to provide value added services such as financial literacy programmes and mentorship programmes that will connect policyholders to women leaders in the entrepreneurial space. The program’s mission is to enrich women to thrive. The program’s vision is to ‘partner with women to create meaningful solutions to improve and protect their well-being at every stage of life.’
- Clean Water and Sanitation- SDG #6 and Climate Action- SDG #13
Hundreds of smallholder farmers and herders in Kenya can now access affordable, high-quality insurance to protect their crops and animals. The growing use of technology has offered a potentially efficient solution to impact their lifestyle. APA Insurance partnered with six other insurance companies to form the Kenya Agriculture Insurance group (KAIG), specifically offering traditional, hybrid and parametric insurance products targeting smallholder farmers and pastoralists.
APA provides crop area yield index insurance (AYII) across 33 counties. Smallholder farmers are dependent on rains and with the effect of climate change, droughts are occurring more frequently. AYII, a multi-peril cover, guarantees a 70 percent yield. APA provides Index-based Livestock Insurance (IBLI), a satellite-measured innovative approach that provides compensation where adverse weather conditions affect vegetation levels.
These are closely linked to losses from the lack of forage for the animal, or reduction in the agricultural production. When the index exceeds a certain threshold, farmers and pastoralists automatically receive compensation. Since 2006, the Foundation has built 35 sand dams in four counties in Kenya. These initiatives continue, with four more expected to be built in the current year. The dams alleviate the drudgery of the women and children walking long distances to fetch water, providing communities with water for most of the year.
- Reduced Inequalities- SDG #10
APA believes in equal opportunity employment. We do not discriminate based on religion, tribe or physical abilities. This is clearly indicated in our HR policies.
- Responsible Consumption & Production- SDG #12
As part of our organisational strategy, we are moving towards paperless working, therefore reducing the impact on trees as part of our effort towards responsible consumption. The Group has planted over 100,000 trees in the last five years and has sponsored numerous activities, including the Run for Mau.
- Partnerships with Development Organisations- SDG #17
‘Linda Boma’ is a product funded by FSD-Kenya, in a collaborative effort with Emerging Markets and APA to design a solution that fits the needs of the demographic. Through the research, we have found that informal settlement inhabitants are financially affected by hospitalisation, death and the increased frequency of fires.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is one of our many partners with which we endeavour to provide small scale farmers with area yield crop insurance. Farmers get compensated for adverse weather conditions like droughts or floods. APA has insured about 12,000 households in Kitui, Makueni and Taita Taveta.
In 2019, we received the coveted European Microfinance Award in recognition of our innovative approach to insurance dubbed ‘Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change.’ We were the first ever insurance company to receive the award worldwide, since it was established. APA and its Foundation are determined to be an exceptional employer, excellent partner and a good corporate citizen. We are also deeply committed to nation building and protecting our planet for future generations to come.