Kenya’s Essar Yu introduces phone-based insurance cover

Kenyan mobile network operator Essar Yu has partnered with Jubilee Insurance and MicroEnsure in a venture expected to offer mobile-enhanced health insurance cover to an estimated 1 million people before 2015.

The project, dubbed yuCover, was unveiled yesterday in Kenya’s capital Nairobi and will reward Essar Yu’s subscribers with free monthly life and disability cover based on the amount of airtime they recharge each month.

The yuCover aims to provide health services to Yu subscribers in a Kenyan environment. Current statistics show that only 9 percent of Kenyans are insured, according to MicroEnsure.

The subscribers have to dial *555# to access yuCover details before registering at a cost of KSh100.

Jubilee will be the underwriter of the cover that underlines the growing convergence between mobile phone operators and financial services companies, notably banks.

MicroEnsure’s Country Manager Kate Waiganjo commented that the company is committed to offering affordable and convenient health insurance cover.

MicroEnsure aims to reach out to more than 1 million people by 2015, she said.

Commenting on the same, Essar yuMobile’s manager Madhur Taneja said: “Subscribers can make free calls all day and night .So we want to reward them with a free medical cover by simply topping up with KSh100 on monthly basis.”

Jubilee Insurance Kenya’s chief executive Patrick Tumbo said his company would continue providing health insurance services.

He later hailed the latest move by Yu for reaching out to people through mobile technology, saying the platform would enable the company to penetrate further into society, allowing Kenyans to get health services and leading to a healthy nation.

YuCover can reach approximately KSh60,000 worth of insurance cover per month with a continuous KSh100 airtime. The money is calculated in a cumulative way of airtime purchased per month in a single transaction, the company said.

The compensation value is KSh10,000 for KSh100, KSh250 gives KSh20,000, KSh500 gets KSh40,000 cover and KSh1,000 will be insured for KSh60,000.

According to the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the number of mobile phone subscribers in the country hit 29 million in March 2012, making it the highest in the continent and opening up the potential for yuCover to register significant subscription. Essar Yu increased its subscriber base by nearly 324,000 between January and March this year, indicating a 15 percent increase, the highest in the first quarter of this year.

Kenya’s other mobile network operators including Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Orange Kenya also reported increased subscriber base.

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