APA

African Press Association
MTN Business Head of Marketing, Kholo Magagane

Digital innovators disrupt SA insurance sector

by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – AN award-winning insurance provider is thriving as digital innovators challenge the conventional ‘call centre’ approach to providing short-term insurance and coronavirus (COVID-19) tests traditional services of mainstream insurers.

Naked Insurance, overall winner of the 2019 MTN Business App of the Year Awards, is flourishing, also at a time automation and artificial intelligence (AI) impact South Africa’s insurance industry.

The COVID-19 lockdown is amplifying this.

At the base of Naked Insurance’s growth and success, said co-founder Ernest North, is the use of bots and systems that can deliver insurance options to prospective customers – in 90 seconds. The process of getting cover can be completed within just three minutes.

Cover is also customisable, and many customers have been able to save up to 90 percent on premium costs during lockdown.

“The insurance industry has, over the years, had a reputation for being an ‘adversarial’ industry,” said North said.

“Profits are determined by what remains after claims have been settled. Understandably, this puts pressure on traditional insurers to minimise claims, which ultimately sits at the core of the strained relationships between providers and their customers.”

Searching for a solution to this impasse saw the three, all consultants within the industry, leaving their day-jobs to form their own company

“We were determined to deliver something fundamentally different, and it was technology that inspired us to take a new view on insurance,” North said.

Naked Insurance’s business journey involved the use of seed capital through a venture capital supplier.

Since then, Naked Insurance has been backed by Hollard Insurance, one of South Africa’s largest insurers.

Kholo Magagane, Head of Marketing at MTN Business, said the face of business was changing rapidly and customers were driving this change by expecting to be able to interact with providers and the products they use.

“Flexibility, immediacy and simplicity are becoming non-negotiable. Delivering on these expectations means going digital,” Magagane said.

MTN Business has, over the last decade, encouraged entrepreneurs and innovators to find unique solutions to meet local demands.

“We are proud to have taken this even further by providing platforms, like the MTN Business App of the Year Awards, for these tech-preneurs to showcase their solutions,” Magagane said.

The overall winner, or winning team, of the MTN Business App of the Year Award will receive a trip to a tech-related destination, valued at R 200 000.

The top three ‘Best Youth App’ entrants (aged 18 – 26) will each receive a share of R 100 000 to further their tech-journeys.

– CAJ News