Vodacom coining it on mobile device insurance

Vodacom has seen a surge in revenue from its insurance division in South Africa, led by device insurance, according to its latest annual report.

Vodacom said on Monday, in announcing its financial results for the year ended March 2015, that it recorded a 36% increase in its insurance business – offering life, funeral, contract and other insurance cover.

Insurance related revenue grew to R441.4 million, from R324.6 million in 2014. Overall SA service revenue declined 2.7% to R47 billion.

The mobile operator began selling insurance after being granted a long term insurance licence by the Financial Services Board (FSB) in 2012.

The group’s mobile cover starts at R35 for a phone with a value of up to R1,000, going up to R245 for phones that extend beyond R15,000 with the likes of the iPhone 6 easily reaching that figure.

The number of active smart data devices on Vodacom’s network increased 29.7% to 11.6 million – of which 9.3 million are smartphones, 1.1 million are tablets and 1.2 million are modems – fuelled by more affordable devices.

M-pesa growing pains

Vodacom said that ‘new services’, which include M-Pesa, financial services, M2M and content have been identified as a new growth pillar.

Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO however, admitted that take-up following the relaunch of M-Pesa in South Africa in July 2014, has been “slow” with one million registered customers signing up since launch and 76,000 actively using the service.

Vodacom has announced a revamped M-Pesa service in South Africa, boasting 8,000 agents at both informal outlets and at major retail partners.

This, the operator said at the time, was approximately 10 times the number that M-Pesa originally launched with in 2010 in SA.

Joosub bemoaned problem’s with “the system” but did not want to elaborate during his presentation of the compny’s results on Monday.

The group announced a partnership with Bidvest Bank and Visa for the ramped up service.

Vodacom introduced M-Pesa to South Africa in 2010 and while the initial take up was strong with more than one million people signing up, it has not enjoyed the overwhelming uptake seen in markets like Kenya and Tanzania.

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Vodacom coining it on mobile device insurance