Kimathi operated his business well for more than 10 years with the help of his trusted manager Ken.

Trouble started when Ken’s wife became sick and was admitted to hospital. The medical bill wiped out all his savings and exhausted his credit lines. After a few months, Ken also became sick and depressed. He could no longer manage the business effectively.

Unable to deliver, Kimathi relieved him of his duties on medical grounds with a small appreciation package. Unfortunately, Ken was the central pillar in the business and he could not easily get a replacement.

The proprietor hired and fired four managers in a span of one year, rendering the business irredeemable.

It is at that point that he realised the importance of employee medical cover. Perhaps, he thought if he had a cover for employees and their dependants, Ken’s wife would have accessed quality medical attention and Ken would not have suffered depression that apparently was triggered by the huge medical bills.

Most small business owners don’t consider medical cover for their employees beyond the mandatory NHIF. Yet, the wealth and success of any firm lies entirely on the health of its employees.

Quality health care is one of the most expensive components of modern lifestyle. It is only the rich and high income earners who can afford good medical facilities at most private hospitals from their pockets.

Even then, sometimes medical bills can rise beyond their means, prompting them to sell assets or fundraise from friends and relatives. Yet, with a good and affordable health insurance cover, medical bills of your valuable employees become manageable.

One aspect of most small firms is that one or few employees are the backbone of the company. Their absence, either through prolonged sickness, death or resignation leaves the company exposed. Therefore, it pays to buy insurance cover for such employees.

Insurance cover is also a great morale booster for employees. In fact, the quality of medical cover is one of the top things most people consider in a job offer. Thus, having a good staff medical cover is one way of making your firm appealing to high performers and retaining existing staff.

A good medical cover gives your employees a chance to have regular comprehensive medical check-up and medical advice that reduces exposure. When sick, they get prompt and quality treatment, which further eliminates the risks and sick leaves that are associated with lack of timely treatment or misdiagnosis.

The peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that medical bills will be dealt with when and if they or their dependants fall sick is one of the productivity boosters. Thus, when you insure your employees, you insure your business.

This article was first published in The Business Daily on January 8, 2018

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