Adelaide Odhiambo is the CEO and Founder of Bluewave Insurance Agency Limited in Kenya, a technology-driven company that is designing microinsurance products that are simple, affordable and accessible to the mass market. The actuarial science graduate from the University of Nairobi launched her career in the insurance industry and went on to work with top brands designing innovative insurance products for them including Airtel, Jubilee Insurance, APA and Barclays globally. As a leading insurance expert, experienced in designing, developing and managing both conventional and micro-insurance products, Adelaide has about 15 years of expertise on Insurance-related issues.
By providing micro-insurance products accessible through mobile technology, Bluewave is disrupting the alternatives to Insurance and serving underserved markets that have yet to be addressed by insurance companies because they tend not to focus on the low-income earners. As a result Bluewave seeks to play a key role in improving Insurance uptake and penetration first in Kenya then Africa, which is at 3% and 6% respectively. Currently, Bluewave is providing microinsurance solutions to Kenyans and developing the same for the Rwandan market, with plans for expansion into other markets underway.
Adelaide is driven by a deep personal sense of responsibility to change the world; one person’s life at a time by mitigating risks that easily plunge people into poverty. It is this personal sense of responsibility that she has built her company on.
Why did you get into STEM?
Growing up I was always fascinated by numbers and the need to make a difference by solving the many problems present in the society. This is what pushed me to get into STEM. When I enrolled in Campus I chose a degree where numbers was the order of the day; Actuarial Science. On completion, I began my career in the insurance industry where numbers play a key role in coming up with statistics that help determine people’s levels of risks after which suitable insurance products are designed. We are problem solvers.
In the 15 years I have worked at various insurance companies in Kenya, I have designed innovative insurance products for top brands including Airtel, Jubilee Insurance, APA and Barclays globally. My deep passion has always been to make a difference in the society through providing innovative insurance products. With the advent of technology, I realized that this passion would be realized quicker by designing a technology platform where people from all walks of life regardless of their economic status can access affordable insurance products in a simple and easier way, hence the reason why I established Bluewave Insurance Agency Ltd in Kenya.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
My greatest achievement so far is having the confidence to start a tech-driven Microinsurance Company- Bluewave – in a very competitive market and securing critical partnerships with large global players such as Airtel networks and Jubilee insurance, Kenya’s leading insurance company. My ultimate goal is to increase insurance penetration and help alleviate poverty in Kenya and subsequently Africa through the creation of tech-driven affordable, innovative, insurance products that cater to risks which people face. Read more about the work we do at Bluewave here: http://www.blue-wave.co.ke/
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Balancing out the demanding pressures of the business, the growing needs of expansion into new markets and at the same time trying to juggle my roles as a mother and wife. I overcome them by placing structures and a great support system around me which enables me to find a balance in my everyday work and life. I still have a long way to go.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
There is nothing great in life is that is achieved with ease. If you have the passion, drive and strength for what you are doing, you will succeed regardless of the challenges. Do not give up just because it is tough!