Not easy selling insurance to the bottom of the pyramid, even at $1 a month
The majority of Tanzania’s low-income and informal workers do not have access to insurance and struggle to pay for health services. Entrepreneur Lilian Makoi, co-founder of technology company Edgepoint, last year unveiled Jamii (previously named bimaAFYA) – a health insurance product users can buy for as little as $1 a month.
The award-winning entrepreneur speaks to How we made it in Africa about the gaps in Tanzania’s insurance market and the challenges of selling to poor consumers.
What motivated you to build Jamii?
The spark to create Jamii came from a personal experience. My friend lost her husband who was involved in an accident but could not afford medical services. That experience made me realise that if low-income households and people in the informal sector had access to insurance, it would make a big difference for them.
In Tanzania, more than two-thirds of the 50 million population do not have health insurance and struggle to meet their out-of-pocket health needs. We were surprised to find such a big gap in the market, so we spoke to insurance players to understand why they were not developing products for this market segment.