First Mutual Life today launched a new mobile based funeral assurance product that is called “e-FML”, which suggests an acronym for Electronic First Mutual Life. The service costs as little as $0.80 for $500 worth of funeral cover.
Here’s a general outline of the product.
Firstly the service is not 100% mobile as was the case with EcoLife. To sign-up for the service, you will have to physically buy a starter pack for $0.80 (includes first month premium) which contains the service terms and conditions and a card with a unique reference number. To complete the signup, the next step is to send the reference and your personal details to one of three “normal” phone numbers from each MNO which makes the cross network.
Monthly premiums thereafter are paid either through EcoCash, debit order or good old physical payments to any of their branches.
- The best part about this new product is its affordable and almost everyone with can access cover for $0.80 a month. They also have higher value packages to suite different income brackets.
- e-FML does not need clients to sign any forms or go through any medical examination. The cover also starts immediately for accidental death and three months for death by natural causes.
What they could work on
- The electronic aspect of the service is unfortunately limited. Notably, you will have to make physical contact either at their offices or with their agents to get the starter pack, without which you cannot access the service. The convenience that comes with electronic systems is therefore partly lost.
- The service does not have a short code and instead the texts are directed to generic 10 digit phone numbers which is not standard practice for many SMS or mobile based service.
Speaking to Techzim, First Mutual Life’s Colleta Simbanegamba said they have already applied to POTRAZ to resolve the short code limitation and the next step is to fully automate the service by removing the starter pack aspect, although clients will still need to have unrestricted access the products’ terms and conditions.
This is not the first time First Mutual Life has tried to tap into mobile phone based insurance. They were the underwriters of the infamous EcoLife mobile insurance but as underwriters only, they had no direct link to EcoLife’s failure. Alfin Insurance also partnered with NetOne in 2011 and came up with a mobile health insurance product that also failed to gain mass appeal.
Launching the service without partnering and integrating the offering to and MNOs services means FML have full control of the product in how they drive t in the market. It also means they are network neutral so any potential subscriber on any network can access it.