By: Anthony Sedzro
It is now possible for MTN subscribers to enjoy life and health insurance cover through the use of money transfers on their phones.
Africa-focused micro-insurance solutions provider, aYo Holdings, has made this a possibility. aYo launched its first product in Ghana branded “Send with Care”, together with MTN Ghana, the country’s number one mobile phone network at a ceremony at MTN Head office in Accra.
A joint venture between two South African companies-MTN Group and MMI Holdings (the parent company of Metropolitan Insurance Limited)-Send With Care provides insurance cover for funds sent via MTN Mobile Money. aYo was formulated to have a strong focus on delivering micro-insurance solutions across the African continent.
The aYo-MTN insurance package involves a tripled amount of funds sent to the Mobile Money sender’s beneficiaries over the last four months which could be paid out as a lump-sum or in 12 equal monthly installments, depending on the subscriber’s cover level. aYo will pay triple the amount you sent to your beneficiaries, either in one lump sum or in 12 equal monthly instalments, depending on your cover level.
MTN subscribers who send monies to beneficiaries via Mobile Money can benefit from this when hospitalised for a night or more due to an accident or in the unfortunate event of their death. These commitments are to be honoured for up to a year if they are not able to.
How does it work?
- When sending money to beneficiaries using the Mobile Money platform on the phone using the short code *170#, a subscriber needs to select the ‘Send With Care’ option.
- aYo Send with Care allows MTN Mobile Money customers to purchase insurance cover valid for 120 days, every time they send money to a beneficiary. If customers send money to a beneficiary using aYo Send with Care and then in the unfortunate event of their passing or spending at least one night in hospital due to a trauma event (such as a motor accident), aYo will pay the accumulated cover into the beneficiary’s MTN Mobile Money account over a period of 12 months.
- A premium, that is payable by the sender of money, is applicable to Send with Care benefits. This cost is currently based on a fixed 5 percent of the amount sent to the individual.
Insurance penetration in Ghana is very low. Out of a population of more than 27 million, insurance coverage in the country is less than 1.5 percent, according to the National Insurance Commission (NIC), offering a huge opportunity for insurance and financial institutions to tap into. Despite the low insurance penetration, mobile phone penetration in Ghana is impressively more than 130 percent, meaning the mobile phone presents a great delivery channel for insurance and other products.
In April, the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA) organised its 4th National Life Insurance conference in Accra. Lydia Lariba Bawa, the Commissioner for National Insurance Commission (NIC) emphasised the need for technology in insurance to boost insurance penetration.
Lydia Bawa said “Closely related to this is the need for the appropriate payment systems that will help to extend access to all Ghanaians irrespective of their geographical location or economic status. I hereby urge insurance companies to invest in technology to avail themselves of the opportunities presented by the emerging digitalisation of the financial services landscape.”
The partnership between aYo and MTN to introduce life insurance and health coverage is therefore timely and meant to take advantage of this huge opportunity in the market.
Imran Mahomed is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of aYo Holdings. A fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa, he holds an Honours degree from the University of the Witwatersrand. Mahomed has set up, overseen and been involved with a number of businesses in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa –mainly related to financial services.
Commenting on the partnership, Imran Mahomed said “We are very excited and privileged to be able to partner with MTN on our initial offering in Ghana, a first of its kind in the country, toward making insurance more accessible and easy to use.”
Ebenezer Asante, the Chief Executive of MTN Ghana also said “MTN Ghana is very pleased to add this service to our bouquet of services. Mobile Money is providing endless opportunities to both individuals and businesses and we are hopeful that this will help customers provide better support to their loved ones”.
“aYo and MTN have made it possible for you to add insurance cover to the money you send home, using MTN Mobile Money, helping you look after your loved ones,” says Francis Gota, The Country Lead for aYo Ghana, who also described the product as one that offers MTN Mobile Money clients a sense of comfort.
When using your mobile phone to transfer money via MTN Mobile Money, you simply select the option to Send with Care when prompted. The Send with Care menu can be accessed by dialing *170#”, Gota added.
Speaking at the launch, Eli Hini, the General Manager for MTN Mobile Financial Services also said the partnership confirms the telecommunications company’s commitment to roll out innovative products and services in line with their promise to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to MTN customers.
“MTN Mobile Money has played a pivotal role in increasing access to financial services. From simply being a mobile phone service that facilitated financial remittances, MTN Mobile Money has evolved into an accepted mainstream method for transactions including deposits, investments and bulk payments” Hini remarked.
He said that insurance uptake is low because mobile insurance has not been considered until now. “…Insurance penetration is low, that is true, but it is because most people don’t have the opportunity to get service access but, with mobile money, we are now able to reach so many people. With that opportunity, we believe that giving them the experience of signing on to or owning insurance will better help them to manage their lives and future.”
“So it is an opportunity for people who, otherwise, would not have had an interaction with an insurance company to now do that using their mobile wallets and the benefits of just sending money and getting insurance cover comes with the normal everyday activity. We think that it is an opportunity for many more Ghanaians to have insurance and guard against uncertainties in the future,” he added.
According to Eli Hini, this is just the beginning and even for insurance there are many more products in the pipeline on MTN mobile money.
“There will be many more products that customers can benefit from but, ultimately, we think that the way to go is to digitize retail payments such that consumers, by using mobile money, will not have to carry cash for their payments anymore; and provide the needed drive towards financial inclusion,” he said.
aYo’s joint venture between MTN Group and MMI Holdings was announced in September last year, with a strong focus on delivering micro-insurance solutions across the African continent. aYo Ghana is a locally registered and initially wholly owned subsidiary of aYo Holdings Limited, a 50/50 joint venture between MTN Group and MMI Holdings.
Metropolitan Life is a specialist life insurer with over 10 years’ experience in Ghana focused on providing lifetime financial wellness solutions to individuals, communities and businesses through innovation, excellence and integrity. Metropolitan is a division of MMI Group, an authorised financial services provider with over 117 years’ experience in providing lifetime financial wellness and currently the best insurer according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi).
As of 2017, MTN Group has operations in 23 countries in Africa and the Middle East as well as Cyprus. As of 2016, it reports 233 million users and total assets of ZAR 283 billion (US18 billion). As of 2016, MMI Holdings reports a market capitalisation of ZAR 36 billion (US$ 2.3 billion).