Econet Wireless launches funeral assurance scheme

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ECONET Wireless on Wednesday launched Eco Sure, a funeral assurance scheme that replaces the once-popular but now defunct Eco Life which was terminated in 2012. 
In light of the narrowing tunnel in voice and SMS services, mobile operators are increasingly tapping into the banking and insurance sectors in Zimbabwe through the provision of technology platforms that enhance financial inclusion and serve the uninsured and unbanked.
Speaking at the launch, Eco Sure General Manager, Godwin Mashiri said the service offers affordable funeral cover which is widely accessible as registration is through mobile phones.
Eco Sure offers two pay out options in the event of death, either through nominating a relative who will receive the money in their EcoCash account or through a chosen service provider.
The firm has partnered seven service providers to roll out the product which includes big players in the industry such as Nuffield, Doves, Fidelity and the top three service providers from Bulawayo.
Mashiri said the company is still engaged in negotiations with other service providers. It has also roped 500 agents, to date, who will be facilitating claims.
Managing Director George Nyashanu urged clients to receive their payout through service provision.
“There is more risk in paying out to relatives, however service provision provides peace of mind and security,” he said.
Nyashanu said the firm has engaged various reinsurers, including those outside the country to ensure that they are able to pay out at any stage.
Econet terminated EcoLife in 2012 – its first venture into the insurance sector – as the initial agreement with Trust Co barred it from engaging another technical partner.
Before termination, an estimated 1,2 million customers had subscribed to the service.
At the time, Econet said it did not owe Trust Co money as it was offering life cover for free to its customers.
Early this year, an arbitrator dismissed a claim by Trust Co that it was owed US$6,9 million by Econet and instead ordered that the Namibian firm pay the latter US$455,500.
EcoLife allowed Econet’s subscribers to get free life cover on minimum airtime of only US$3 per month. Subscribers did not pay any monthly premiums, as with normal insurance schemes.Advertisement

The system used a computer software system developed by Trust Co with the Zimbabwean firm paying a licence fee based on the number of customers using the service.