NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Mobile services provider yuMobile has partnered with Jubilee Insurance and MicroEnsure to launch a unique insurance scheme that rewards yuMobile subscribers with a renewable monthly life and disability cover based on the amount of airtime they recharge each month.
yuMobile subscribers must dial *555# to gain access to the product dubbed ‘yuCover’ which MicroEnsure CEO Richard Leftley described as the country’s first insurance product to be delivered through mobile phones.
“The yuCover product rewards subscribers who are loyal to the yuMobile network and so the more airtime subscribers buy in this month will determine how much free insurance they’ll earn in the following month. If you spend more on airtime with yu, then you’ll earn more free yuCover,” he said.
Jubilee will be the underwriter of the cover that underlines the growing convergence between mobile phone operators and financial services companies, notably banks.
yuMobile Country Manager Madhur Taneja said that by offering insurance, they are offering a superior telecom experience to their customers by providing real value.
“Just as we have made mobile calling accessible to many with our free calls all day and night, we are taking insurance to those who have never been able to afford insurance,” he said.
Customers must top up at least Sh100 each month to be rewarded with free insurance cover worth Sh10,000 shillings the following month.
Top up between Sh100 and Sh249, you get cover of Sh10,000; Sh250 to Sh499 you get cover of Sh20,000. Topping up between Sh500 to Sh999 you get cover of Sh40,000, while Sh1,000 and above insures a subscriber for Sh60,000.
Jubilee Insurance Kenya CEO Patrick Tumbo said that the product is in line with Jubilee’s campaign to grow micro insurance.
“This partnership plays a big role in delivering insurance to millions of Kenyans who use mobile phones and it compliments Jubilee’s plans to make use of technology to reach the uninsured,” he said.
“yuCover ushers in a new era of insurance in Kenya and as the leading insurance company in East Africa, Jubilee is committed to providing insurance protection to every Kenyan.”
Jubilee Insurance is ranked fourth in Kenya in the life insurance segment with a 9.8 percent stake in 2011 after writing premiums worth Sh1.75 billion.
yuCover will offer monthly renewable insurance in the event of loss of life or permanent disability suffered by a yuMobile subscriber and Tumbo revealed that it becomes active on the first of the month following registration.
“For example, a registered subscriber who tops up Sh350 in September will enjoy Sh20,000 insurance for the full month of October,” he explained.
To make a claim, registered subscribers and beneficiaries must dial *555*4# and a MicroEnsure agent will return the call to assist with the claim.
Tumbo confirmed that once a claim is submitted, Jubilee will pay it out within one week.
MicroEnsure Country Manager Kate Waiganjo assured that the new product will change the face of insurance in the country by offering free mobile insurance cover to a segment of the population that is uninsured, but has access to mobile phones.
“Insurance has traditionally been exclusively for the elite, but now with yuCover, all Kenyans can for the first time benefit from the protection of insurance and from the comfort of their own phones,” she said.
“MicroEnsure is committed to providing affordable and convenient options for Kenyans with a target of serving at least one million lives by 2015,” she added.
She explained that if you top up between Sh100 and Sh249, you get insurance cover of Sh10,000 and if you top up between Sh250 and Sh499 you get cover of Sh20,000.
She added that topping up between Sh500 to Sh999 you get cover of Sh40,000, while a top up of Sh1,000 and above insures a subscriber for Sh60,000.
The Commissioner of Insurance and CEO of the Insurance Regulatory Authority Sammy Makove noted that in 2011, the service sector composition of the GDP in the US, UK and Japan were 76.7 percent, 77.7 percent and 74.6 percent, while Kenya’s service sector composition of the GDP was only 64.6 percent, with the insurance sector only contributing about four percent.
“The insurance industry in Kenya has been a major reason as to why Kenya can still confidently define itself as developing,” he said.
“Insurance companies in Kenya should seek to team with companies outside of the insurance industry and bundle their products together in such a way as to make them more appealing and attractive to consumers,” he emphasised.