A new local startup, ZimSelector.com, has been launched to offer financial services aggregation and product comparison online. The startup was co-founded by Luke Ngwerume and one Zelina Francis. Ngwerume, most of you will remember, is the former CEO of a Old Mutual Zimbabwe a company whose focus was financial services.
ZimSelector is designed to bring financial services providers to one common platform to make it easy for Zimbabweans to find and choose their products. The providers (banks, medical aid companies, insurance companies etc…) will each have a mini sites on ZimSelector, and eventually according to the site, a comparison feature that will let users compare a product across many providers.
If you’re thinking the comparison is what hippo.co.za does for insurance in South Africa, you’re spot on. The only difference is that ZimSelector is more than just insurance. The risk ofcourse (comparing the two) is that ZimSelector won’t be known for doing just one thing well. The pro, a wider addressable market maybe?
The provider mini sites solve the problem of companies in Zimbabwe generally not taking the internet seriously as a business channel. How keen they are to have this solved for them is already evident on ZimSelector; so far the startup has signed up RM Insurance onto the platform, and lists CABS, Old Mutual, CBZ, Fidelity Life, Zimnat, Cimas, First Mutual Life and others as “coming soon”.
We had the opportunity to speak to Ngwerume on what they’re onto with ZimSelector. He said the project is a result of strong feelings for the need in Zimbabwe to have financial products which are simple and easy to understand in terms of how they work and what benefits accrue to anyone investing in them.
Ngwerume said they have been very passionate about the need for more transparency in the structure and pricing of financial products, and that ZimSelector intends to bring this to the market. He said they would do it by “placing the customer at the center, allowing them to compare and make a decision without any pressure being brought to bear on them.” Today’s customer, he explained, wants the ability to gather their own information before they make a purchase because they know what their needs are.
Ngwerume also said in our conversation that through the platform, they hope to help uninsured people to understand the benefits of insurance. “There are a lot of myths out there around some financial products, insurance in particular…some of these myths might revolve around the cost of these products and this prevents people from acquiring these products which are actually a necessity in this modern day,” he explained.
ZimSelector, Ngwerume said, will enable young people and those in the Diaspora to access financial services that they would otherwise find it hard to. “There are many people out there who have insurable interests in this country or who would like to provide for their relatives or dependents” he said.
We’d love to hear from those that register and get to use ZimSelector, what experience they get.