It is not every day you push the boundaries of your comfort zone, doing something totally different:
so new to you that it scares the life out of you. When you do, it’s kind of a big deal. To Jackson
Saitaga, Cindy Kinya, Eric Ng’ang’a and Kellie Charlotte (Jipange Msee product team), the
Actuarial Students Society of Kenya (ASSK) Product Design Competition (PDC) was that new
thing. Kellie confesses that the time they spent in preparation for and during the presentations will
forever have a huge impact in their lives. She describes it as a life changing experience, each day
was a challenge that either brought out the best in them or the worst out of them. However, they
did not shy away from facing these challenges for they clearly understood, the harder the battle
the sweeter the victory.
Being part of the Actuarial Product Design Competition 2018 was a milestone that the team had
set for this year. However, the competition fell at a time when they were under pressure with school
work; from meeting assignment deadlines to preparing for their CATs but giving up for them was
not an option. They pushed through with the process and eventually emerged as the overall product
Being the first time Strathmore Actuarial students were taking part in the ASSK competition, they
were expecting a tough competition. The Jipange Msee team made sure that they had done
sufficient research and that their presentation was nothing less than superb. The team competed
against 12 other products presented by students from JKUAT, Maseno, Kisii, Meru, Karatina and
Daystar University. Eric asserts that the major take home from the competition was that at the
University the foundation is laid but all the creativity lies in our brains.
The team presented a proposed insurance product dubbed “Jipange Msee” which basically covers
a University graduate in case of unemployment after 6 months of graduation. The product is viable
and can be taken up by the government for social benefit. One of the Companies representatives
from Kenya Orient (an insurance company in Kenya) was impressed by their product concept. The
team’s next milestone is to make some improvements on the product’s design as they wait to
present it again in the upcoming KPMG Innovation Challenge. Later in the year
(October/November), they will also present during TASK (The Actuarial Society of Kenya)
Annual convention. The team not only walked home with a trophy and some goodies but also
received an invitation from the University of Dar es Salaam to make the same presentation during
their Actuarial Day.
Cindy asserts that for her, the Product Design Competition was in many ways exciting, scary and
“Exciting in the sense that it was something they had never done before yet it held so much
promise. Being crowned the champions of a national competition is no mean feat. Lots of hours
were spent between doing complex tasks like pricing the product to something as simple as what
color of PowerPoint template to use.
Standing in front of an auditorium filled with people and giving a presentation has a way of making
your knees tremble. Yes, it was a little bit scary and intimidating but the victory comes with
knowing that with every challenge overcome, you become a better person. The judges were very
encouraging and would often nod when we said something that they agreed with, which was a
boost of confidence.
What was eye opening was being able to see that many people are thinking out of the box. Since
time immemorial, actuaries have always been tasked with pricing and reserving of insurance
products but with the competition, it was clear that more people were starting to knock down this
stereotype and embrace the diversity that the actuarial profession entails. There were very
innovative products that were presented, this helped us to see the possibilities that lie in the future.
It is one thing to learn a subject, but it is another if we can apply what we learn in class to
developing products that will be instrumental in shaping the future and changing the world as we
Saitaga, who was the team leader admits that for him it was a very nice experience, having entered
the competition for the first time and emerging the best. His advice to Strathmore students is to
engage as much as possible in such events, to shape their creativity and innovation skills and to
also see the country’s industry from the perspective of peers and mentors who already are in the
industry. He believes that teamwork is a skill that played a huge role in them emerging victorious.
It is his hope that Strathmore shall continue to top in such events.
It is needless to say that being part of the amazing team that formed Jipange Msee has changed
each of one of them in different ways and it is their hope that they will once again carry the trophy
home during the KPMG innovation Challenge. The Jipange Msee team firmly believes in the art
of innovation and the creativity it demands. In the words of Don Miguel Ruiz, “Every human is an
artist. And this is the main art we have: the creation of our own story.”