African insuretech startup, aYo has partnered with African telecom giant, MTN, to launch two services aimed at providing free health and life insurance covers to millions of people in Ivory Coast through mobile recharge.

The services are aYo Recharge and aYo Kash. aYo Recharge would reward MTN MoMo users with free accident hospitalisation cover and life cover. Whenever a user buys airtime through their MoMo wallets, they get 8 times that amount as accident cover and 12 times that amount as life cover.

aYo Kash offers cover for illness, accident and life. Each time a user sends money, pays a bill or school fees via MTN MoMo, they get illness cover equal to the amount they spend in that transaction. They also get accident and life covers for three times the amount transacted although they will pay a 5% premium to activate.

When they pay school fees using MTN MoMo, they get life cover for twice the amount transacted after paying a 2% premium. Users can also take advantage of the AutoBoost feature to buy additional covers. Services will be available once consumers sign up to aYo.

Insuretech startup, aYo partners MTN to provide free insurance to Ivorians through mobile recharge

Less than 2% of Ivory Coast’s 27 million people have any kind of insurance. according to the CEO of aYo, Jean-Charles N’Gotta, this is because most people think insurance is only for white-collar workers with high incomes. aYo’s partnership with MTN is looking to bridge the gap between average people and insurance services.

“We want to show that with aYo services, people with all levels of income can get peace of mind at an affordable cost to help take care of their financial health even after hospital bills due to an accident or illness, or their funeral expenses if the unforeseen happens and they pass away,”

Jean-Charles N’Gotta

Launched in January 2017 in Uganda, aYo has since expanded into Ghana, Zambia and Ivory Coast. It currently has more than 14 million customers across its first three markets of Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. The company says it has paid in excess of over $1 million in claims.

Insurance in Ivory Coast

At 2%, insurance penetration in Ivory Coast is still very low. Ordinarily, this should mean there’s enough market waiting to be explored but that isn’t the case. This is because insurance ranks very low, if it even exists at all, in the priorities list of most people in the country.

“Most people in Ivory Coast are focused on their primary needs. This does not mean there is not a market for insurance, it just means there is not a mass market of insurance users yet,” Director-general of the Ivorian insurance company, KH Assureurs Conseils, Kamal Harati explained.

Most of the country’s insurance space is in the hands of the big insurance companies who focus mainly on white-collar workers. To survive the space, the smaller companies need to drive adoption among the lower-income earners and create new markets.

See also: Kenyan Insuretech, Lami Raises $1.8M Seed Funding to Expand its Solution Across Africa

aYo’s latest offerings appear to be one suited to these low-income earners. It helps them acquire insurance covers that are mostly free through popular activities carried out on MTN’s MoMo service.

Says Jean-Charles N’Gotta: “Insurance, and the peace of mind it provides, has become more important than ever in today’s fast-paced world, where risks are a part of our daily lives. You never know when you will have to pay to get back on your feet after an accident or an illness. Often, the cost is so large that it goes beyond your immediate financial capacity, and that is where aYo and our innovative products will be most helpful.”

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