Venture Recovery Stories: BridgeCap Insurance

60% of Kenyans don’t have access to essential healthcare services and only 40% can afford healthcare services. This is because the current existing healthcare insurance is too expensive. BridgeCap provides affordable and flexible healthcare insurance coverage for low income earners through an easy-to-use technological platform that is accessible both online and on every mobile phone.

How would you describe BidgeCap Insurance?

BridgeCap Insurance is a part of BCFS Group Limited, which also offers financing and advisory services. We are a wholesome financial hub. We provide affordable financial and insurance services to our clients. Bridgecap has three major products – SME loans/ financing, Financial Advisory services and Insurance Brokerage service.


How was the enterprise faring before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The year had started in a great way and the numbers were great. However, the COVID-19 pandemic entirely changed the shape of business. The financial advisory side of business slowed down, but the insurance side of it picked up. Currently, the insurance business is the one sustaining the enterprise.


What are some of the challenges you have faced during COVID-19, in general as an entrepreneur and as a business?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an overall reduction in the need for financial advisory services sparked off the loss of a couple of our key clients. The other clients redirected priorities to other business areas besides advisory support significantly affecting our revenues. Initially this was such a tumultuous time for our venture that every company in every industry in every corner of the country and every family was adjusting to loss of income and shifting their priorities to the basics.


How has your business changed or evolved due to COVID-19?

It is during this challenging period that we launched our flagship medical plan, Endelea Plan, which comes in three packages. Under these plans, we have Endelea Jamii to reach the people at the bottom of the pyramid; the uninsured. BridgeCap is working with them to give them financing to run businesses and in turn they can afford the small premium we charge for our cover. This is the social aspect of the business.

We have made health insurance accessible to those who cannot afford to pay in lump sum as we allow our clients to pay in installments enabling them to access world class treatment. We have also enhanced our digital platform capabilities offering our clients options to conveniently access our products and complete transactions through online portal, mobile app and USSD service.


In your own opinion, what is the most significant change that took place with your venture in the past 3 months?

New advisory client acquisition. We have been able to sign a new advisory agreement with the county government and also developed new partnership with a lead insurance company, Jubilee Insurance.


Why was this particular change the most significant to you?

These partnerships have increased our visibility and in turn we have been able to increase the venture’s impact to 350 individual clients with access to insurance cover and 30 enterprises having access to business financing.


What role has ygap played in those changes and / or what are some outcomes your venture has achieved as a result of being supported by ygap?

ygap has actively supported Bridgecap in Marketing Strategy development to increase the ventures visibility on social media. In addition, as a mentee, the external mentorship program offered by ygap has been valuable in terms of engaging mentors who are entrepreneurs as well making it easy for them to relate with some of the challenges a founder goes through and develop workable strategies surrounding these challenges.

What does the future of your venture look like post COVID-19?

Surprisingly, our insurance has performed better than the previous years. So far, our services are available in over 100 medical facilities. We hope to keep this growth trajectory in the coming years by leveraging on technology. We are working tirelessly to ensure more people in low income areas are able to access good and quality health care by working with hospitals operating in those areas.


What are the key ingredients for successfully overcoming challenges?

A business owner must be “all in,” and willing to devote more than the typical 40 hours per week if they hope to succeed and be open to establishing business partnership. If sales and marketing are not your strong suit, reach out to someone who can advise you on the same.


How have you been able to pivot/adapt so fast in the face of a pandemic?

Throughout the crisis, the healthcare sector has been open and collaborative. The strongest leaders will continue to welcome support from partners and communities to deliver the best possible long-term care. We have been able to reach out to other regional hospitals to engage their patients in insurance conversations and adapt to taking up insurance covers. Bridgecap has also used the lessons learnt during the pandemic to meet future demand for Insurance and Advisory services


What is your advice to other entrepreneurs in regards to adapting/coping during a pandemic?

To always maintain good terms with everyone you work with and create a network in your field that can both help you transition to a new product and give you advice along the way.

I would also recommend an entrepreneur concentrating on the impact of a solution to one small problem and what revenue it will incur. Instead of going after the big problem right from the get-go, take incremental steps, innovating and modifying your prices along the way.


On a scale of 1-10 (1= unlikely and 10= very likely), how likely would you be to recommend other early-stage impact entrepreneurs to look to ygap for support to help grow their ventures? Also why?

I would give it a 9 because the strategy support they give ventures and the willingness to provide that link to experts to address specific venture challenges is valuable in developing future action plans.

Kenneth Lukale of BridgeCap Insurance

BridgeCap Insurance is a ygap Kenya 2020 Program alumni, and recently completed the ygap Re-Accelerator Program, designed to support ventures through the effects of COVID-19.