Vodacom insurance offerings gain traction

Vodacom says it has sold approximately 21,000 funeral policies in three months since it launched the product in July 2012.

Vodacom Funeral Cover is one of the insurance products the operator offers as part of its broader financial services strategy. It enables M-Pesa customers to receive up to R10,000 worth of funeral cover.

In May, Vodacom was awarded a long-term insurance licence by the Financial Services Board (FSB). This licence, along with the short-term licence granted earlier this year, enables Vodacom to underwrite and sell insurance products, including funeral cover and life cover.

Speaking at a roundtable event in September, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said: “Another opportunity that exists is what we call the fourth revenue cycle, and one we are putting a lot of emphasis on is the whole mobile money, m-commerce area.”

In March 2010, Vodacom, in partnership with Nedbank, launched M-Pesa in South Africa. M-Pesa enables unbanked customers to transfer money from person to person using their mobile phone.

On Monday (12 November), Vodacom reported an 8.4% rise in revenue for the six months ended September 2012, to R34.43 billion.

Service revenue jumped to R29.68 billion, from R27.75 billion in the same period in 2011, with operating profit rising to R8.97 billion, from R7.3 billion.

Vodacom underlined a continued strong demand for data services with group data revenue up 20.2%, and now accounting for 15.9% of service revenue.

Vodacom’s data revenue in South Africa increased by 13.5% to R4.224 billion, contributing 17.7% to service revenue compared to 15.8% a year ago.

The group also reported a 42.3% increase in its group active data customers to 17.6 million, along with a 35.5% increase in active smartphones in South Africa, and 258,000 active tablets on its SA network.

However, its SMS and MMS revenue suffered a decline for the first time, albeit marginally, by 0.2% to R1.53 billion.

In lunchtime trade, shares in Vodacom rallied 3.25% to R114.50 on the JSE.

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Vodacom insurance offerings gain traction