Congratulations to Clickatell (sponsors of this site), who’ve hooked up with insurance giant Metropolitan Life to pull off a world first – offering insurance by mobile phone in South Africa.
Here’s the deal. Insurance, as we all know, is usually a hassle. You’ve got to fill out a ream of paperwork, sign in triplicate in ten different places, and then wait for a few days for all the bumph and policy documents to turn up. Not good, especially if you’re not exactly comfortable with locking yourself into a deal, or don’t have a bank account that will allow regular monthly payments to be sucked out to pay for said insurance.
Step forward then Cover2go. For around R10 (approx Ã¢â€šÂ¬1), handset owners can take out life cover of R60,000 (approx Ã¢â€šÂ¬6,300) for six days at a time, just by texting a premium SMS shortcode. The cost is automatically deducted from their mobile prepay balance (or charged to their monthly account), and they get a confirmation text back with the policy number. As soon as six days is up, Cover2go sends them a text reminding them the policy is about to lapse, and offers the chance to renew it.
What’s the market for a six day life policy, you may ask? CEO of Cover2go Derek Pead explains:
‘Every day, a large majority of South Africans have to board minibus taxis, many of which are notoriously unsafe. For people travelling over the most dangerous periods such as the Easter weekend, the risk to the wellbeing of their families is very real – 276 people died this past Easter holiday. Unfortunately, the common perception is that life assurance is a luxury that’s unaffordable and complicated to obtain. With Cover2go, people can get basic cover instantly, at very affordable prices, when they need it mostÃ¢â‚¬Â
So there you go. What a great use of mobile technology – it’s simple to use, doesn’t rely on the latest flashy phone with all singing all dancing software and a 3G connection, and it’s filling a gap in the market.
Will be interesting to see how well this service performs in the coming months. Maybe they could offer a minicab insurance service for revellers in London’s Leicester Square? Provides cover in case of driver getting lost, overcharging, falling through hole in floor, or being stopped by police as the driver got his driving licence from a cornflake packet.