The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Keep Up With Technology, Insurance Firms Urged

Bulawayo — INSURANCE companies have been urged to consider micro insurance as a way of capturing the financially excluded people in society. The call was made by MicroEnsure Kenya executive Mr Peter Goss in his presentation on micro-insurance during the Insurance Institute of Zimbabwe annual conference in Bulawayo.

MicroEnsure is the world largest intermediary, focused exclusively on serving the low-income market and has a client base of 2,5 million in African.

Mr Goss said micro-insurance can be offered via various media such as mobile phones or banks with service providers in these sectors offering the facility free to their clients as part of their way of rewarding them.

"If you choose to work with a mobile company you will have the advantage of riding on the brand of the mobile company while spreading your business to that mobile company's subscriber base," he said.

He, however, indicated that micro-insurance will require insurance companies to simplify their products and drastically reduce on paperwork as the product is designed for the low end of the market that is easily intimidated by a lot of paperwork and insurance jargon.

Mr Goss said that micro-insurance had proved to be popular in several African countries with statistics showing that there are at least 17,2 million people covered under the product throughout Africa.

"However in Zimbabwe six million people lost their cover as a result of the discontinuation of Ecolife and this represents 6 percent of people covered under micro insurance in Africa," he said.

Mr Goss said that micro-insurance offers a win-win situation as it offered both the insurer and the owner of the medium through which the facility will be offered, with a new product for its clients as well as increased revenues.

He added that micro-insurance had the advantage of leveraging on new technologies which were capturing huge markets that the insurance sector needs to take advantage of.

Speaking at the same occasion Agile Financial Technologies chief executive Mr Kalpesh Desai, who was presenting a paper on leveraging technology to increase penetration and manage business transformation, said there was need for insurance companies to make use of the internet to gain access to social media in order to gain a bigger market.

"As insurance companies you need to keep up with changes in technology and ensure that you model your products to suit the new technology in order to remain relevant in the market," he said.

Another speaker Mr George Sithole of Real Insurance Mozambique urged insurance companies to cultivate long-term relationships with their clients in order to retain business.

In this regard, he said companies needed to come up with a style of doing business that is unique to them as well as coming up innovative products that are simple to understand. added that companies also needed to keep abreast with technology and to be constantly aware of what is happening around them and within their competition and more importantly cultivating personal relations with their clients including researching on their needs and wants.

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