Affordable Health Insurance via SMS

Purchasable through mobile phones and SMS, MicroEnsure offers affordable health, life, and disability insurance for low-income residents in 12 countries.

Operating throughout Asia and Africa, MicroEnsure’s innovative SMS-based platform and partnerships with mobile carriers enable customers to enroll in seconds and pay for the product using pre-paid airtime. Claims can be submitted via a text message and are paid to the customer’s “mobile wallet” within hours. To keep the premiums low, MicroEnsure negotiates with insurance companies on behalf of their clients.
MicroEnsure has a number of different plans designed for specific locations. In India, for instance, the company offers cashless access to hospitals for poor, rural households for about $5 per person per year.Under an initiative in Ghana, MicroEnsure partners with microfinance banks to pay a borrower’s loan installment while the person is hospitalized. The company’s insurance platforms have provided more than 35 million customers in Africa and Asia with their first insurance policies over the past five years.

Relevance of solution

Only 20% of Kenyans have access to medical coverage.1 Meanwhile, the country’s mobile phone penetration rate is 88%.2 MicroEnsure uses the ubiquity of the cell phone to offer low-cost, quality health insurance to Kenyans as well as residents in 11 other countries

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

MicroEnsure’s paperless mobile insurance product ensures a low carbon footprint, while mobile customers have real-time access to their products.

Social

In a WHO study of 15 African countries, 30% of all households financed out-of-pocket health expenditure by borrowing and selling assets.3 MicroEnsure allows poor households to avoid falling further into poverty.

Economic

MicroEnsure has paid more than $38 million in claims since its inception, providing a safety net for the most vulnerable.


Sources

  1. World Bank. “Improving Health Care for Kenya’s Poor.” (2014)
  2. Communications Authority of Kenya. “Kenya’s Mobile Penetration Hits 88 per cent.” (2016)
  3. WHO. “Coping with Out-of-Pocket Health Payments:Empirical Evidence from 15 African Countries.” (2008)