FINTECH, The New Force Transforming Insurance Inclusion in Africa

insurance inclusion

Photo Credit | Erik (HASH) Hersman

The technological revolution in the Finance sector across the world has caught on rapidly and is projected at a larger growth in the coming years. Though initial reception in Africa may have been slow, the years after the global meltdown saw rapid rise in the creation and use of Fintech products. For a long time, insurance companies in Africa and the world at large faced several hindrances in running their businesses and prevalent of these were premium payments. These companies thrive on regular premiums paid by policyholders therefore any safe option that makes payment of these premiums stress-free, fast and simple is welcome. It is no wonder these companies in Africa have openly welcomed Fintech in the form of mobile applications and websites which allow policyholders to pay through varied platforms, access their accounts, make enquiries and requests among other exciting choices.

Africa is fertile ground however the penetration of the insurance industry on the African continent is at a very low rate. Except for South Africa who accounted for almost 75 percent of all insurance premiums on the continent in 2013 per global reinsurance firm Swiss R, the other parts of Africa have been left virtually untapped. An example can be made of Nigeria which is one of the most populated countries on the continent with a high GDP but has an insurance penetration rate of less than 1%. Africa is large and almost half the continent has little access to structured financial institutions. This was one of the reasons Fintech in the form of mobile wallets boomed. Individuals didn’t need to walk to an edifice to transfer money and access their accounts. In the same light, Fintech is transforming the insurance industry by making premium payments easier and harnessing other advantages into one to be offered to stakeholders. Fintech has created a bond between technology and finance and propelled the values of security, speed and convenience to heights that have redefined insurance access and adoption. Apart from transactional advantages, some Fintech products offer relevant knowledge streams and platforms to learn about the financial world.

Here in Ghana, many insurance and investment companies are signing on to the use of Fintech products. Recently Enterprise Life, an insurance company in Ghana, partnered Slydepay to enhance payment of premiums. Slydepay was developed by DreamOval Limited, a software innovation house and powered by Stanbic Bank, one of the top tier banks in Ghana and Africa. The team at DreamOval comprises young, innovative and transformative minds who are constantly working towards attaining their vision of making life simple using technology. Long nights, an array of pasted sticky notes with brilliant ideas scribbled on them, countless tests and re-tests are a few of the ingredients that go into providing original products to push achievement of the company’s vision and concurrently satisfying their users. DreamOval is a part of the elite few spearheading the fierce renaissance in Africa through technology and leveraging the ethos of teamwork, radical positive decisions and an almost insatiable passion.

DreamOval team members engaging on an idea

Slydepay is a disruptive mobile service that enables seamless money transfer, merchant and person to person payments. Slydepay is available on the web, App Store (IOS), Play Store (Android) and Windows Store. It aggregates multiple mobile and electronic payment rails and features a host of services and capabilities that provides a viable alternative to how people move money and pay for transactions. As part of this partnership, policyholders of Enterprise Life can now pay their premiums in comfort and be assured of speed and security. Another collaboration to enhance Insurance penetration in Ghana is that of UT Life and Slydepay which gives users monthly insurance cover for purchasing airtime of a certain amount and above.

When asked how she believed Fintech would aid in bridging the gap of unpaid premiums and drive the adoption of insurance policyholders in Ghana, Elizabeth Wyns-Dogbe, General Manager of Operations in UT Life had this to say;

‘Fintech has brought about many advantages and at the forefront of these is the flexibility it offers. Our current and prospective policyholders now spend less time paying their premiums as well as processing and receiving their claims. This has led to customer satisfaction and improved communication between consumers and insurance companies to provide products fully suited to policyholder’s preferences and lifestyles.’

We are of the view that this is the beginning of greater feats to be achieved by the application of technology to different aspects of the African individual’s life. As dynamic as technology is, we expect more innovation in Fintech in the coming years. This would be especially vital in Africa as it is ripe ground.