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News & Events
How Embracing Mobile Technology Has Led to ‘Afya Poa’ For Kenya’s Informal Sector Workers
March 06th, 2016
In the bustling streets of Kahawa West Market, the vibrant purple and orange signs of Afya Poa agents are clear to see. Afya Poa provides additional income to Jua Kali workers, who can earn commission income as agents. Recruiting customers from within their communities helps ensure market penetration and empowers Jua Kali workers by putting the product directly into their hands.
Afya Poa (Cool Health) is an innovative mobile money-enabled micro health insurance and health savings product offered by local company Jawabu Empowering Services and designed to specifically meet the needs of the Jua Kali sector. Policies are sold via mobile phones for the affordable price of a minimum KSh1,000 (£6) down payment and a daily payment of KSh40 (£0.31), automatically deducted from the policy holder’s mobile phone credit.
Diane Mwangi, is the customer relationship officer for Kahawa market. Her job is to not only promote the new product but also to check that customers are happy and address any issues they may have. “It is a popular product as not only is it affordable but it covers a lot of things - the inpatient cover includes personal accident, funeral, and property cover for both the household and business of the principal member while the outpatient cover grows through savings.”
Melvine Auma, 25 years, owns the fish shop in Kahawa West Market. “I am planning to have another child, so today I am signing up for Afya Poa so I have maternity cover.”
Melvine visited her colleague in the market to sign up for the insurance product. “There is no paperwork, I just did it on the phone so it was quick and easy and then I was covered. I was only away from my shop for 10 minutes so did not lose any business, ” she explained .
The premium payment matches informal worker’s earning patterns and the mobile platform to sell the Afya Poa matches the needs of a day worker who does not have time to waste.
With positive feedback from existing customers, the aim is to introduce the product to other areas of Nairobi in 2016 targeting over 15,000 people
Relying on credit to pay for healthcare treatment is all too common for many of Kenya’s 8 million informal sector workers, known as the Jua Kali sector. They are further affected by the ‘poverty penalty’, having to pay multiple times for healthcare from progressively more expensive and formal service providers as the initial lower-cost services from informal operators did not properly diagnose and/or treat the illness. Until recently healthcare insurance has been unaffordable but that is all changing due to the introduction of Afya Poa.
With funding from UK aid, PSP4H partnered with Jawabu to introduce this new product into the market place in November last year. Undertaking market research, providing technical assistance to develop AfyaPoa’s branding and marketing as well as a training programme for their agents. Through PSP4H’s technical assistance there is potential for AfyaPoa’s micro health insurance to reach 20 million low income people.
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