The company that turned African telcos into insurance brokers
For example, just five years before Leftley met her, she had managed to move from living in a village in poverty, to becoming a teacher and residing in an apartment in Lusaka with her husband (who was then a security guard). But when her husband got diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, they were forced to spend all their savings on his medication – and later his funeral. She lost everything and ended up having to move back to the village.
“And this [situation] has just been played out time and time again across Africa – where people are trying to work their way out of poverty and then disaster strikes and they kind of fall all the way back,” Leftley told How we made it in Africa, on the sidelines of the Mastercard Foundation’s 2017 Symposium on Financial Inclusion last week .
“And so that whole idea of putting in a safety net – something that kind of follows people as they work their way out of poverty – was really the beginnings of MicroEnsure.”
In partnership with global microfinance NGO, Opportunity International, Leftley started off by introducing a micro-funeral-insurance product targeting low-income Zambians in 2002 – the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It did well, but didn’t reach the scale that Leftley envisioned.
Photo courtesy of indicpeace.