Factors that determine perceived quality of service in the insurance industry in Kenya: the case of Nairobi province
The decline of economic conditions in Kenya in the recent past has lead to compromise in enforcement of standards both in the private and public sectors. For example, law enforcement has declined, private developers of housing estates have tried to reduce costs but cutting comers during construction, public health education and support has declined considerably. This decline in standards has lead to people being exposed to increased risks of fire (from lack of enforcement of building standards), crime (from inadequate law enforcement) and diseases (from declining healthcare), among other risks. These trends have resulted in an increased number of people taking out insurance to cover themselves against possible occurrence of risks. However, people turning to insurance companies have frequently expressed disappointment regarding their perceived levels of service by insurance companies. This study was therefore conducted with the objective of finding out the factors that determine the perceived quality of service in the insurance industry in Kenya. The focus of the study was all those individuals who have insurance policies in Nairobi. The study had three main objectives: 1. to identify the factors that customers consider important when judging quality of service in the insurance industry. 2. to assess the product knowledge level of various stakeholder groups. 3. to establish the extent to which customers are- satisfied with quality of service in the insurance industry. A sample of 150 was selected in three sectors. These were customers employed in the public sector, those employed by private firms and the self employed. The researcher managed to get 100 of them giving 67% response rate. The results showed that the factors considered most important by customers in judging quality of service are: • company efficiency • fast action on complaints • prompt service • understanding of customers' needs . .From the findings, it can be concluded that most customer respondents have a good knowledge of the type of insurance covers available but do not have as much knowledge on the names of companies offering these or the detailed features of the insurance covers. This research only focused on the underwriters; hence a similar study should be carried out to find out the quality of service offered by insurance brokers and insurance agents. It also focused on the insurance users in one region; further research can be done in other regions of the country to see whether the same results would prevail.