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Will mobile payment solve third-party ills?

Newly-launched 3rd Party Ku Simu, a new form of payment for motor insurance, has been hailed as a game-changer but only time will tell whether it transforms the conservative sector, writes ALON MWESIGWA.

Digitalization is transforming the way we live faster than what many can imagine and this can be seen with the increased dependence on technology. Today, the handset has become the most important tool to transact business.

(L-R): Afrisafe senior consultant Juliet Namayanja, Sean Oseku, the Afrisafe business relations manager and Nick Mutiiso, the Jubilee Insurance finance director

Thanks to mobile money, the once long queues at banking halls to pay school fees are diminishing at a fast rate and so has bureaucracy once associated with paying for necessities such as water and electricity.

One industry that has been reluctant to join the digitization trend is insurance, where transactions are largely manually conducted but that is all set to change following yesterday’s introduction of the 3rd Party Ku Simu innovation on the market.

A brainchild of Afrisafe Risk Consultants, through a partnership with Jubilee Insurance and mobile money platforms, it was launched at a breakfast meeting at Kampala Serena hotel.

“We believe that this product will not only make the purchase of third-party motor insurance easier but will also be a partner to all motorists,” says Deepak Pandey, the managing director of Jubilee Insurance Uganda.

3rd Party Ku Simu is basically a service for motorists to purchase their third-party motor insurance, which is mandatory by law, off the phone by simply dialling through a USSD code.

The service is meant to help motorists lessen the burden of queuing up or driving distances to buy third-party policies. Therefore, it is meant to remove inconveniences associated with acquisition of third-party insurance and it covers every insurable conveyance that transports people or objects.

“We felt it important to make that process simpler for the average Ugandan motorist. All one needs to do is dial *210*22# and simply following the prompts. Once a motorist inputs their details (name, car type) as required by the policy, their data will instantly be captured and saved for future usage. The Afrisafe automated system will automatically give the motorist a reminder when their third-party insurance is due next and will always receive reminders when the insurance is about to expire” says Kwame Ejalu, the Afrisafe chairman.

Ejalu further insists that after completing the purchase, motorist will receive their third-party stickers within an hour’s time. “It doesn’t matter where you are in Uganda; this service will locate you to the nearest Jubilee Insurance branch and the sticker will be delivered free of charge,” he says.

However, there are questions about the efficacy of this service, especially in cases of network breakdown or even when a motorist makes an error. Ejalu says Afrisafe planned for those mishaps and has put in place a team of experts to handle every issue. He also assures that clients are legally protected.

“Afrisafe Risk Consultants is regulated by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) and abides by the laws of the authority. Therefore, Ugandans can rest assured that Afrisafe is operating under the law. Our mission is not only to create revenue but also operate with the highest standards of integrity and public trust,” added Ejalu. 

Reached for a comment, Patrick Onyango, the Police deputy spokesperson, says the new scheme could save motorists from the strenuous process of proving innocence.

“You know very well that traffic exercises express penalties when a motorist is found with an expired third-party insurance but with this scheme, it will help them pay instantly even though it doesn’t mean they should wait to be arrested,” he says.

alon@observer.ug

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