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Cover2go, Clickatell introduce mobile insurance vouchers

Cover2go, Metropolitan’s mobile insurance coverage, is using mobile to distribute insurance to consumers in South Africa. Clickatell’s services are being used to improve insurance access, advance sales and streamline the business process by using mobile devices.

“The African continent has a distinct lack of infrastructure, whether it’s retail or a Web-based infrastructure,” said Jeppe Dorff, vice president of mobile financial services at Clickatell, San Francisco. “It does not, however, have a lack of infrastructure when it comes to mobile.

“In this case, one of the largest financial institutions in Africa, Metropolitan, had an issue: to get viable insurance to customers and eliminate paper work,” he said. “The best way to target in the market ruled by cell phones is to go to mobile.

“A mobile insurance voucher and actually interacting with the financial institution is absolutely just as much mobile commerce as getting coupons on your mobile device is.”

Cover2go offers insurance coverage to consumers from all walks of life in Africa.

Clickatell is a worldwide provider of mobile messaging services to businesses, governments and communities.

Insurance on the go
According to Clickatell, 99 percent of all Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication devices come equipped with USSD, which runs over the same channel as SMS.

USSD is generally thought of as a real-time or instant-messaging phone service, providing a session-based transactional service remaining active until the transaction is complete or the session times out.

Customers can now activate insurance vouchers via mobile by texting a keyword to Cover2go’s short code, 120*C2GO# (120*2246#), eliminating the need for a sales representative.

Cover2go’s direct activation lets consumers enter the voucher activation number along with the necessary personal information from their mobile device in a secure USSD session.

Metropolitan also said that it has used mobile as a way of streamlining internal processes for accurate verification and data confirmation.

Mr. Dorff said that USSD should be considered an evolution of SMS services and, in industrialized countries, the equivalent of WAP services.

According to Clickatell, a lot of people who need insurance may be without a PC or a landline and their mobile devices are the only way to communicate with them. In addition, because some settlements are so remote, it may take consumers a day to travel to the nearest insurance location.

Mr. Dorff said that mobile is present all over, so wherever the customer is, he or she can interact with the insurance provider.

The service is being targeted to those who travel a lot, Mr. Dorff said. He said that traveling in South Africa is not always safe.

“The initial target audience was truck drivers, taxi drivers, people who travel a lot, but that demographic has expanded a lot to townships and lower-end housing projects,” Mr. Dorff said. “The target segment increased and grew from people that really commuted quite a bit.”