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Banking / Insurance

Banks fail to convince CBK to reverse Sh392m penalty over NYS scam

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Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Patrick Njoroge. FILE PHOTO | NMG

 

Five banks used in handling stolen National Youth Service (NYS) funds have failed to convince the Central Bank of Kenya to drop or alter the Sh392.5 million fine imposed in mid September. CBK said on Friday in a statement that responses by Standard Chartered Bank, Equity Bank, KCB Bank, Co-operative Bank and Diamond Trust Bank Kenya were not watertight to make the regulator alter the penalties.

“CBK has reviewed each bank’s response to the penalty assessment and has concluded that the submissions were not sufficient to alter the findings of the investigations and the penalties assessed. “Consequently, CBK has levied the penalties as assessed,” said the regulator.

Greatest burden

This means that KCB and Equity bank will bear the brunt of the CBK’s unprecedented action. KCB will pay Sh149.5 million for having handled Sh639 million of the NYS cash, being 17.8 per cent of the Sh3.57 billion illicit cash handled by the five banks.

Equity will pay Sh89.5 million for having handled Sh886 million while Standard Chartered will pay Sh77.5 million on account of having handled Sh1.63 billion. Cooperative Bank and DTB were fined Sh20 million and Sh56 million respectively. CBK, however, says it is satisfied by the action plans that the five banks have submitted, promising to address the lapses that led to handling of illicit money. CBK had asked for the action plans on September 21.

Under watch

It said that the plans will strengthen the banks’ anti-money laundering and countering of financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) frameworks, even as it said it will put the five banks under watch.

“CBK will monitor the implementation of the Action Plans and notes the strong commitment expressed by the banks to be fully compliant with all aspects of the law,” said the regulator. The investigations prioritised banks that handled the largest flows. CBK assessed monetary penalties for each of the five banks in accordance with the extent of the violations pursuant to CBK’s powers under the Banking Act and the Central Bank of Kenya Act.

CBK shared its findings with Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution to assess the criminal culpability of the banks. The bank said in September than an additional set of banks was going to be identified and investigated. However, no much information about this has been made public.

– BusinessDaily

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Banking / Insurance

aYo diversifies insurance payment options with Revio

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aYo Chief Operations Officer, Miles Bloemstein and Revio’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Nicole Dunn

African insurtech aYo Holdings, jointly owned by telecommunications giant MTN and insurer Sanlam Allianz, is pioneering omnichannel insurance premium collections and claims payouts, through a partnership with payment orchestrator, Revio. This development will make it easier for aYo’s millions of customers to pay for life and hospital cash insurance by choosing their preferred method from a range of locally relevant payment options, in addition to MTN mobile money and airtime currently offered by aYo in its seven markets across the continent.

The additional payments capabilities, facilitated via Revio in its respective markets, will allow aYo to offer greater choice to existing and new clients, boosting both sales and retention.

Miles Bloemstein, aYo’s Chief Operations Officer, who is championing the omnichannel payment strategy was inspired by the growth in alternative payment methods and adoption across the continent.  While Africa’s digital payment transactions are growing 16% year-on-year – and are projected to reach $146 billion in 2023 – the continent’s payment landscape is notoriously complex and fragmented, with few universal and interoperable payment methods available.

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“Localisation of payments and collections is key to business success in Africa. Our team has spent significant time in our different markets to understand local payment preferences and cultures, and the feedback is clear – payment methods matter. If customers do not see the payment methods they trust and prefer, they will not buy the product.,” said Bloemstein. Whilst MTN payment options remain the core of its strategy, aYo believes omni-payments, in addition to omni-channel delivery, is key to success in its digital insurance ecosystem.

Revio’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Nicole Dunn, shared, “It’s fantastic to see market leaders like aYo adopting such a customer-centric approach to collections and payments. Today, the customer payment experience is almost as important as the customer experience of the product. aYo’s team deeply understands its customer base and has invested in the capabilities to reach new customers and retain them for longer. We’re excited to support them on this journey.”

Revio, which recently raised $5.2 million in funding from leading investors QED Investors and Partech, aims to reduce the complexity, cost, and risk of payment operations in Africa. Its single API is pre-integrated with more than 50 payment methods, with the ability to selectively expose methods and route transactions based on success rates and local adoption.

“Africa’s collection challenges are complex and unique. By helping aYo collect revenue from its customers using their preferred payment methods, we not only increase payment success rates, but reduce lapse rates and churn,” said Dunn.

The partnership will reduce aYo’s integration effort to launch new markets, and ongoing operational cost associated with managing multiple payment methods and providers. It is estimated that it will save at least 10 months’ development effort per market. In the process, aYo will reduce integration and setup costs considerably through a single integration project for all of the company’s existing markets.

The partnership is live in Nigeria and will soon be launching in aYo’s other markets. Not only will aYo customers have access to more localised and accessible payment methods for premium collections, but also payouts. Together with Revio, aYo has solutioned a new payouts process that offers multiple payout options to customers for the payment of claims, giving customers and beneficiaries options in respect of how they receive their claim payout, shared Bloemstein.

Since starting operations in 2017, aYo has evolved into a major player in the African microinsurance market, using a ‘pay as you go’ insurance model that gives policyholders the flexibility to have the cover they need at any given time. Its vision is to grow into the largest insurance technology platform in Africa by providing a range of affordable and accessible financial services products

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Banking / Insurance

aYo Zambia launches Illness Cover as it looks to drive insurance uptake

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Microinsurer aYo Zambia has launched a new General Illness Cover product, which will provide cover for customers who spend up to three days in hospital because of sickness or disease, as it looks to drive greater insurance penetration in the country.

The new illness cover is an extension of the company’s existing ‘Recharge with Care’ product, which provides hospital cover for customers if they are involved in an accident.

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“To date, more than 3.5 million Zambian consumers have purchased cover to protect themselves against hospitalisation in the event of injury, or loss of life,” said aYo Zambia CEO Andrew Nkolola. “But many of our customers have been asking us: ‘How will we deal with the financial blow of falling ill? We don’t want benefits only when we’re in an accident.’ We realised it was a huge gap in the market and have responded accordingly.”

Nkolola says aYo Zambia is committed to contributing to the growth of insurance in the country. Earlier this year, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane expressed his concern over Zambia’s low insurance penetration levels, which leaves millions of Zambians without cover if a disaster strikes.

When it first launched in Zambia, aYo offered hospital and life cover to individuals through two insurance products, ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’. A growing market demand for insurance for the whole family prompted the company to create the new Family Cover product last year, which allows policy holders to add up to seven people, including themselves.

Now, the new General Illness Cover adds a further layer of protection that helps ordinary Zambians stay afloat when the unexpected happens. It pays up to K3,250 if a policyholder is hospitalised through illness.

As with aYo’s existing products, General Illness Cover customers must maintain active Mobile Money (MoMo) accounts to pay premiums and claim. Customers can sign up and claim by dialling the USSD code *296# on their mobile phones and following the prompts. They can also claim using ayo4u.com/zm. All Family Cover claims are paid directly to the claimant’s mobile money wallet without any hassles.

aYo Zambia has been voted best microinsurance product of the year for both 2021 and 2022.

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Banking / Insurance

AllLife Announces R50 000 Accidental Death Cover for All South Africans

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AllLife CEO, Steph Bester (Image: Supplied)

AllLife, providing life insurance to South Africans living with dread and chronic diseases, today announced that it is making R50 000 accidental death cover available to South Africans. The announcement is a critical step in the organisation’s core business proposition that everyone deserves the right to life insurance. Fewer than four out of ten South Africans have any form of life cover in place. This places enormous pressure on families and loved ones in an economic climate that requires multiple breadwinners per household.

“Business is about so much more than profits. At AllLife, we have made it our mission to bring access to life cover to marginalised communities over the years. Today’s announcement highlights that we are ready to take the next step on that mission,” says Steph Bester, CEO at AllLife. “By offering accidental death cover to the majority of South Africans, we want to show everyone that they not only deserve life cover but that there are ways for them to get that cover. Our entire team is exceptionally proud of this offering and to be involved with a business that believes in making a difference that’s bigger than ourselves.”

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The R50 000 accidental cover is available to all South Africans between the ages of 18 and 75 with a valid ID number and email address, with no exceptions. As per the working model, AllLife will carry the premium for the policy in their quest to ensure a better tomorrow for those left behind when the unthinkable happens.

The policy is available to all South African earning over R5000 a month, the application process takes ten seconds and is as simple as entering an individual’s name, surname, ID number and email address on an easy-to-navigate webpage. Afterwards, policy documents will immediately be emailed to the new policyholder.

“We are not stopping here. We recently launched an extension to our portfolio with a product that ensures all people in South Africa are covered, regardless of whether they live with dread or chronic conditions such as cancer or heart conditions. In fact, one of the biggest reasons people are being denied access to life cover is for being deemed overweight, a demographic we now also offer cover to. We continue to make it our mission to uncover and offer life cover products that are inclusive to all South Africans, regardless of someone’s health,” adds Bester.

In 2005, AllLife was the first company to offer life cover to people living with HIV, a population segment entirely ignored and even feared by the many big life insurance companies at the time. Next, in 2013, it included life cover for people living with diabetes, yet another segment largely avoided by the mainstream life insurers.

“In a world where real-life challenges mar our every day, it is refreshing to find some hope and good news, knowing someone has your back. Many South Africans have monthly budgets that don’t balance, leaving tough decisions around what to keep and cancel. Knowing that someone in a family unit has cover in place without worrying about the monthly debit order goes a long way,” ends Bester.

 

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