KAMPALA – Insurtech startup Turaco has become the first insurtech firm to acquire an underwriting license.
This will also boost Turaco’s ambitions of offering affordable and simple microinsurance products, reaching unserved and underserved Ugandans in line with its global mission of insuring 1 billion people.
Turaco Microinsurance will design and distribute simple products that target the key risks mass-market customers face, with policies starting at just 1,000 Ugandan shillings per month. Through its customer-centric approach, Turaco Microinsurance will offer terms and conditions that are simple enough to fit 3 SMS messages, such that even first-time insurance customers are able to understand their policy and what is covered. As an underwriter, Turaco Microinsurance will make it easy to sign up by integrating with distribution partners’ systems via API. Customers will be able to access insurance through a simple touch of a button. Furthermore, Turaco Microinsurance will process and facilitate the payment of claims in just hours, building customer trust in insurance and the insurance industry.
Speaking during the official launch, Hamza Mutebi, Turaco Microinsurance Company General Manager and Principal Officer, said, “Today is a big day for Turaco. From our humble beginnings as an agency to now an underwriting entity, we are proud of acquiring our license. It is a major milestone. This is huge for us because it now allows us to both design and distribute affordable products that are simple and accessible, expand our reach to even more underserved people, and leverage our technology to quickly pay claims using simple channels such as WhatsApp.”
Calling for the prioritization of innovation in microinsurance, Bernard Obel, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) Director Supervision, said, “Microinsurance aims to benefit a population group that often lacks knowledge about insurance. As regulators, we must facilitate insurers in developing simple products that the poor can easily understand. Turaco has been a key facilitator in increasing insurance access to the mass market through distribution. As regulators, we will work with them and the insurance industry as a whole, to develop products, define governance, and establish service standards”
Freeing people from the fear of financial shocks
Health emergencies can be devastating for base-of-the-pyramid households in Africa, as low financial resiliency often leaves them vulnerable to unplanned health costs. Without appropriate methods to cope with financial shocks, an alarming 14 million low-income households are pushed into poverty every year due to out-of-pocket health expenditures. In Uganda over 15% of the population experiences a catastrophic, health-related expense each year. Insurance, a key tool for mitigating risk and increasing resiliency, is not widespread, with only 2% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa currently insured. In Uganda, less than 1% of the population is insured.
Leveraging the success of Turaco’s embedded, technology-enabled insurance distribution approach, Turaco Microinsurance looks to increase insurance coverage in Uganda. The company plans to bring the strength of Turaco’s technology: simple policy sign-up and fast claims processing via WhatsApp and combine it with the ability, as an underwriter, to design innovative and affordable products.