Bharti Airtel, Sanlam partner to launch financial products in Africa


A mobile money transaction in Kenya.

Bharti Airtel has announced that it has entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with leading South African financial services group, Sanlam, for the distribution of insurance and health funding products.

The agreement covers 7 African countries, on a non- exclusive basis, in which both companies have a presence – namely Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria.

The agreement is aimed at enhancing value for Airtel customers and increasing access to insurance which will enable Sanlam to market and sell its Life, General and Health insurance products through Airtel’s extensive telecommunications networks in the seven countries.

Commenting on the transaction Chidi Okpala, Airtel’s director and Africa Head, Airtel Money, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Sanlam on this exciting initiative. This will offer our customers in Africa access to a broad range of sophisticated products and services to support their lifestyles and aspirations, and this partnership will enable us to significantly enhance the value we offer our loyal customers.”

Margaret Dawes, executive director for Africa at Sanlam Emerging Markets, said: “We are passionate about supplying sound financial solutions to the wider African market and are delighted by this opportunity to provide our services and solutions through Airtel’s network. We look forward to providing competitive products that meet the client’s needs – drawing on our collective years of experience and research in these markets.”

Sanlam is a leading diversified financial services group, originally established as a life insurance company in 1918 and listed on the JSE Limited (primary listing) and Namibian Stock Exchange (secondary listing) in 1998. With its head office in Bellville, near Cape Town, South Africa, the Group has other offices and business interests elsewhere in Africa, Europe, India, US and Australia.

The Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) cluster – responsible for Sanlam’s financial business services (life assurance, general insurance and asset management) in emerging markets outside South Africa – has business interests in Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Swaziland and India.

The launch of the Airtel-Sanlam partnership shows a growing trend where mobile service providers are getting into alliances that can enable their subscribers get other value added services by signing up and staying with the network.

Just this week, Kenya’s yuMobile partnered with two insurance companies to roll out life and disability cover to its pre-paid subscribers. The mobile network operator introduced yuCover, a micro-insurance product that is underwritten by Jubilee Insurance and powered by MicroEnsure.

The initiative by the mobile network is to enable its consumers to access insurance covers in a convenience manner, according to its country manager Madhur Taneja.

To utilize yuCover, subscribers need to dial *555# to access the registration and policy details after, with the service being activated once registration is completed. The cover attracts a monthly renewable fee and subscribers are required to top up at least with at least Kshs 100 airtime to be insured against loss of life and permanent disability in the next month.

The value of cover depends on the amount of recharge value by the subscriber. For a Kshs 100, the compensation value is Kshs 10,000, Kshs 250 (Kshs 20, 000), Kshs 500 (Kshs 40, 000) and for Kshs 1000 airtime the value of insurance will be Kshs 60, 000.



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