Bharti Airtel today announced the establishment of a strategic partnership with MicroEnsure, the world's leading provider of mass-market insurance products, to provide insurance services to Airtel customers in Africa.
Mobile network operators in Africa have identified the growing demand for financial services, and micro insurance - a form of insurance designed specifically for low-and-middle income consumers - is no exception. According to a study published by Making Finance Work for Africa, from 2010 to 2012 micro insurance grew more than 200 percent on the continent. Even so, fewer than 20 million Africans outside South Africa have any form of micro insurance, less than 5 percent of the potential 400 million customers in sub-Saharan Africa.
With today's announcement, Airtel is the first mobile network operator in Africa to position insurance as a strategic portfolio product in partnership with a global micro insurance specialist.
The range of Airtel-branded insurance products will include life, accident, health, agriculture, and other forms of cover. Airtel will bring the products to market and promote the service with its local brand, marketing and distribution infrastructure. MicroEnsure will design and implement products, provide technology, facilitate local and international underwriting support, and perform administration and customer service. The parties intend to expand services to several African markets over the next year. Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer for Airtel Africa, said during the partnership announcement, "In many of our markets, less than 5% of our customers have any formal insurance products and there is demand for insurance offerings that are simple, affordable and reliable. Our partnership with MicroEnsure will deepen our value added services to our customers and provide access to insurance." Peter Gross, Regional Director of Africa for MicroEnsure, concurred. "With Airtel's initiative to prioritize insurance in its product portfolio, insurance in Africa will change forever. The peace of mind that Airtel subscribers will have through insurance will support Airtel's aspiration to be the most loved brand in Africa."