Thursday, July 25, 2024

Daniel Wako: How I got back into business after losing everything to looters

In the month of June, Kenya witnessed a political phenomenon that had not been seen before. Younge people chanting peaceful slogans took the streets demanding for accountability from the government and specifically calling for the total rejection and withdrawal of the controversial Finance Bill 2024.

These protests were peaceful at first. But at as they gained popularity, reports say that gangs were hired to infiltrate them to cause chaos and destruction as one way of discrediting them. This infiltration resulted in destruction of businesses and theft of business stock in various shops.

In  the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD), Sunbeam Shopping Complex, Cianda Market,  RNG Plaza and QuickMart supermarket suffered major destruction and looting. Several people also broke into mobile phone shops, clothes shops, and shoe shops across the city, causing major destruction.

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Alex Muia, one of the traders in Nairobi, stated that he had lost goods worth Sh. 500,000 as his shop was vandalized during the protests. “I have lost a lot of stock. I will now have to start afresh from the scratch, yet I don’t even know where to begin,” he says. He had just restocked his business and much of his operating capital was already illiquid.

Many other small and medium business owners are counting losses in various parts of the country. Some will recover and others will unfortunately shut down. But given the nature of protests in Kenya, and the possibility of infiltration by sponsored goons, many business owners who have previously endured break-ins and looting have found a secret weapon that keeps them surviving. Proper business insurance.

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Take Daniel Wako a businessman in the Nairobi CBD. He narrated how he lost his business in a similar way during the 2022 post-election violence.

Wako, who sells electronics along Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi CBD, said looters broke into his shop and vandalized everything before setting the premises on fire.

“My business of 8 years was looted, returning me to square one. I couldn’t believe my eyes, watching my over Sh. 5 million investment go up in flames,” he said. ”It is very painful to lose something that you have endured a lot of sacrifices to build.”


Having suffered a similar fate in 2017, Wako was wiser this time round. He had taken insurance coverage. “I had learned the hard way. Even though my financial well-being was messed up, I was lucky because I had insured my business, unlike some of my colleagues,” he says.

Daniel Wako insured his business after a referral from a friend. ”It was not until I became a victim that I realized that I need to protect my business. And not just from goons but also from accidents. Accidents happen and ca never be predicted. A fire for instance can burn up Sh. 10 million worth of stock in just a few minutes. If you’re not insured, you will most likely be done!” he says.

When he shared his policy details with Bizna Kenya, we found out that he had insured with the Co-operative Bank’s Bancassurance. He holds the Micro-Biashara insurance cover which covers all types of businesses with buildings, business stocks or household chattels or machinery valued up to Sh. 6 million.

”Whether you’ve been in business for a year or are just getting off the group, we make it easy for you to get the insurance coverage you need affordably,’’ Co-op Bank says about the policy. ”Our Micro-Biashara Insurance package is like a seatbelt for your business when the worst happens, it lets you walk away financially covered.”

We dug deep to understand how the Micro-Biashara insurance package for small businesses works and here are some of the products under Micro-Biashara that we discovered:

Fire and perils

The policy provides covers against loss or damage to property caused by fire, lightning and explosion and it’s also extended to cover riots, strike, malicious damage, storm, earthquake, and impact by vehicles, aircraft and other aerial devices, subterranean fire, spontaneous combustion, explosion of industrial boilers and economizers, flooding, water damage due to bursting or overflowing of water tanks, apparatus, and pipes.

This insurance covers assets such as buildings, plant and machinery, business stocks, household chattels, furniture, fixtures and fittings and office equipment.


The policy provides covers against loss or damage to property following forcible or violent entry or exit from an insured business or through hold-up.

Assets such as plant & machinery, household chattels, office equipment, stock in trade, furniture, fixtures and fittings are covered up to a value of Sh. 6 million.

This will protect the business or household against theft of stocks while in the premises, the damage to the building as the thieves break in and it’s even extended to cover goods in the open.

Machinery Breakdown.

The policy covers sudden and unforeseen physical damage or loss due to any accidental, electrical or mechanical breakdowns to the client’s machinery while at work or not in use and during any cleanup, inspection, overhauling or subsequent re-erection and removal to another site within the premises.

In addition to this, a small disaster e.g. fracture of a flywheel may result in a loss affecting several machines, with high replacement/repair costs.

Transit risks

This policy provides cover for loss or damage to various types of goods while in transit following accidental collision, overturning, fire or hijack of the goods by road, rail or any inland waterway within Kenya.

The product is designed to reimburse the businessman up to 30 per cent of sum insured under Fire and perils and or Burglary.

Life cover

The next of kin will be paid this benefit to take care of funeral expenses resulting from natural or accidental death of the business owner up to a limit of Sh. 50,000.

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