Mobile Micro insurance
The mobile evolution in Africa has created the ability for companies, investors and entrepreneurs to tackle the lack of accessibility of various services digitally. The mobile penetration in Africa is expected to reach 79% by 2020. With an increased use of mobile devices and services, mobile networks are finding innovative, practical methods of attracting and sustaining consumer monopoly. First noted in 2014 the rise of mobile micro insurance sees mobile networks branch out into collaborations and partnerships with insurance organisations.
The mobile micro insurance growth in this context provides services which looks at the health care sector, life insurance and food sector mainly covering agriculture. The East African region has seen an increased exploration of mobile networks such as Mtn, Airtel, Safaricom, Tigo and Vodacom working with insurance companies providing insurance services. The freemium model has been an incentive for customers to subscribe and apply for mobile micro insurance cover. As users receive cover on the bases of meeting the minimum spending requirement. With this, networks are able to keep customers loyalty and insurance companies are able to reach a wider consumer base, as mobile networks are known trusted brands.
Life insurance cover is an offering a lot of insurance companies are working to provide in collaboration mobile networks. Companies such as MMI Africa have made it one of their missions to provide life cover to lower income families. In many cases these covers are driven on the incentive of the freemium model . The mobile cover expires on a monthly basis. Airtel Zambia and Mtn Zambia both provide mobile micro insurance life cover for customers. Customers receive cover dependant on the amount of airtime uploaded in that month. Tigo Tanzania in partnership with Milvik Tanzania have introduced the Bima Mkononi. An insurance cover that provides life cover, hospitalisation and personal accident fund. The insurance cover currently has 200 000 subscribers and the cover is paid via mobile money.
Health care cover aims to tackle the inability of low income earners receiving basic health care. The accessibility to basic health care sees international companies working on creating systems that can be used globally and digitally. Swedish company Bima has created a mobile micro insurance policy that provides access to low cost health care insurance. The mobile model allows customers earning $10 a day access to health insurance which is paid using prepaid mobile credit. Tanzanian based company Jamii launched a mobile policy management platform that handles administration process usually done by insurers. While giving customer’s access to low-priced insurance via USSD. Since the launch in 2015, Jamii has 8000 subscribers. The company plans to branch out into Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa from 2017. Mtn Uganda in partnership with Ayo launched a mobile health insurance product for low income consumer this year.
Insurance companies are creating innovative solutions for farmers constantly losing income and crops when faced with climate challenges. Kenyan based UAP insurance scheme is assisting farmers in the maintaining their farms and provides cover if damage occurs. Farmers pay 5% of surcharge on the purchase of inputs such as fertilizers and seeds. The company keeps relations with farmers via text, in the event of extreme weather farmers are notified and receive payment in the form of mobile money. This product has been launched in DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. MobiLife insurance a South African company uses satellites to cover small holder farmers against weather related risks in crop failure. When the satellite picks up possible risks and crops exhibiting signs of irreversible stress an automatic pay-out is triggered.
Insurance provider MobiLife has created an insurance cover that tackles the daily struggles South African families face when the bread winner passes on. Foodsurance cover pays out food vouchers on a weekly basis for 5 years after the death of the policy holder. Beneficiaries receive food vouchers via text, vouchers ca be used at South African food stores Shopprite, Pick n Pay, Checkers and Boxers. Mobilife founder and CEO Frank Schutte states ‘ our objective is to help more South Africans become insured so they are able to look after their families when they need it the most’.