Come March 1st, everybody who is an Airtel Zambia subscriber will wake up with life insurance coverage. Yes by force. No not literally, but kind of. In other words, as long as you are an Airtel Zambia subscriber you are automatically enrolled for the life insurance premiums. This is in partnership with Focus General Insurance Limited and MicroEnsure.
On Tuesday night, we attended the launch of Airtel Life Insurance at the Taj Pamodzi hotel. The event was graced by Airtel Zambia Managing Director, Charity Lumpa, and the Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary, Felix Nkulukusa, who was the guest of honour.
Due to the amount of “love” Airtel Zambia has for its customers, they are launching this “free” life insurance service “to simply say thank you.” Airtel Zambia wishes to thank it’s clients for the continuous and steadfast loyalty over the years. And now that your personal details have been acquired through sim registration, they can effectively offer you life insurance which you did not ask for. They are simply smart like that.
This is not a negative thing. In fact, it’s the first of its kind being offered in Zambia. One gets coverage just by topping up their phone with airtime, no more no less. The minimum amount of airtime top-up required to qualify is only K10 going upwards. Therefore, the more you top-up, the higher your premiums. The maximum claim amount in the event of a death is up to a maximum of K20,000 for up to 2 or more SIM cards and K10, 000 for a single SIM card, respectively. The insurance is a month-to-month coverage which does not accumulate or carry over to the following month. See the table below for premiums:
In the example above, a customer who bought K21 of airtime in January qualifies to claim up to K1,500. In February they bought K35 worth of airtime and thus they are eligible to claim up to K2,500.00 upon death. As we all know, life insurance benefits the next of kin. Therefore, this would greatly offset funeral expenses or perhaps leave a handsome inheritance for whoever is left behind. The only blatant catch is that if you top-up less than K10 for a certain month then you will not be eligible in the proceeding month regardless of how much airtime you purchased in the previous month.
The Managing Director of Focus Group Insurance, Isaac Ngunda, said that as a result of this partnership with Airtel Zambia, the company will be providing insurance to at least 2 million Zambians without any discrimination. This will hopefully deepen insurance penetration in Zambia which has failed to sink its teeth into the market so far.
“Innovation is the driving force of any economic sector,” said Ms. Lumpa. Airtel Zambia is therefore leading the way by being the first company in Zambia to step out into the uncharted waters of insurance by a telecom. Innovative, bold, risky and many other adjectives can be used to describe this situation but only time will tell whether this unique venture will take off and be as revolutionary as they hope it will be.