Jihan Abass is a 26-year old Kenyan Somali woman in a country that values neither women, Somalis nor youths. Her achievement, founding Kenya's first digital car insurance company, is therefore that much more formidable. She excelled in an environment where women, Somalis and youths are actively stifled and their voices muffled.
Abass is the founder and CEO of Griffin Insurance. The company released its flagship mobile application on Friday. The app allows customers to buy their insurance policy in less than two minutes. Additionally, Griffin Insurance lets customers pay in instalments and pause coverage if they travel abroad and will process claims in a week rather than the industry standard of 30 days.
When people walk into their offices, they look for the boss, looking right past her. "They would be surprised to see that it was actually me," Abass told Reuters.
In addition to Griffin Insurance, Abass and her team have another company called Lami that sells the same technology that Griffin Insurance uses so that other businesses can use it to create their own digital insurance products. According to Abass, digital insurance can drive down the cost of all forms of insurance because it increases the transparency of data and analytics. This is especially useful in a country like Kenya where only 1 in 5 people are estimated to have health insurance, for example. Abass also wants to see more people like her in the tech scene in Kenya. “A lot of the CEOs here are not only men but also foreigners. You don’t really see faces like mine," she said.