Kenya’s largest mobile operator Safaricom is targeting up to one million subscriptions for its M-Pesa health insurance product launched this week.
Safaricom has rolled out the service in partnership with investment firm Britam and Changamka Micro Insurance.
Customers using mobile money service M-Pesa are planned to be able to subscribe to the insurance service at an annual premium of Ksh 12,000 for cover worth Ksh 290,000.
Speaking at the launch event, Safaricom chief executive officer Bob Collymore said his firm has run a pilot phase that attracted 8,000 customers.
“One of the major problems that we have in Kenya is that many people cannot afford quality health care. We have evaluated this and developed a product that reaches out to ordinary people,” Collymore said.
Reports show that 97% of Kenyans or 38.8 million citizens do not have access to health insurance.
Experts blame poor marketing and health insurance service providers’ lack of service to the poor as reasons behind this figure.
However, over 23 million Kenyans -- or 74% of the adult population -- use mobile money.
“It is a business line that we feel has potential. We do not expect much in the initial years but once the system is in place we expect it to be a significant contributor to our business,” said Benson Wairegi, chief executive officer Britam.