#10Q: Meet Mutoda Mahamba who is disrupting short-term insurance

Meet Mutoda Mahamba who is disrupting the short-term insurance industry in South Africa with the launch of Solvency in January 2020. The short-term insurance product offers vital risk cover and savings investment opportunities within a single monthly premium.

Mutoda Mahamba launched Solvency in January 2020, a short-term insurance product that offers vital risk cover and savings investment opportunities within a single monthly premium. Solvency, as an emerging financial services challenger brand, underwritten by Generic Insurance, is creating an Insurance Savings Account (ISA) that is funded through car and household insurance premiums. A former insurance executive, Mahamba worked at a range of prominent South African insurance brands for over a decade. Through his actuarial and product development work, he saw the opportunity to create a financial product that empowers consumers while still equipping them to manage the risk of negative life events, from burglaries to a car being written-off.

1. What makes your new business unique?

Our Insurance Savings Account (ISA) offering is a true disrupter. The ISA provides interest-earning savings, which can be used to pay an excess or be withdrawn into the client’s bank account. Unlike benefits such as cash-backs, the ISA savings can be withdrawn annually even if a client makes a claim.

2. What are your core drivers in launching the new product?

As an InsurTech, we are technology first. The onboarding process is fully digital and customercentric. Clients onboarding is available to 24/7. Using innovative algorithms, we personalise quotations tailored for customer’s needs, i.e., the client decides how much they want to allocate to contribute to the Insurance Savings Account (ISA). We have significantly reduced the time it takes to go through the process. On average it takes two minutes to get a quote. The web application portal provides a seamless post-sale customer experience. Customers will be able to:

  • View their policy and cover details.
  • Add/change/remove new insurables.
  • Withdraw their savings from the Insurance Savings Account (ISA).

3. Tell us more about your strategy for consumers?

Our strategy to consumers is digital, online and brokers. We see technology as an enabler, hence we have taken an unconventional route for a InsurTech. We have decided that brokers will also form a strategic distribution channel. Brokers can use our portal to get insurance for their clients.

4. How will you measure your brand success?

By breaking even by 31 December 2020. I believe this is the most objective measure – after all, we are running a business.

5. Your biggest trend for this year or the next decade?

Decade: Like the MSA in medical aid, the ISA will become a standard feature in insurance. But unlike the MSA, the ISA will be universal across demographics, single or married, across income segments.

6. How will you change the world?

I will change insurance from being a grudge purchase into a desired enabler for consumers.

7. Do you have a life philosophy?

My life philosophy is that “everyone is guessing”. I’ve seen it with management teams and Boards of Directors during my corporate career; everyone is guessing. And because everyone is guessing, my guess is as good as anybody’s guess. So I am bold with my guesses, having made peace with the wrong idea. If it turns out I was wrong, I should move on to the next guess.

8. How do you inspire others?

I actively coach young people towards making good long-term decisions. When young people see and desire the “little” that I have accomplished, I always impress it upon them that, you always have to take care of your mental, physical and especially your spiritual being in order to be effective.

9. What are you currently reading?

Jerusalem – a bestselling non-fiction book by British popular historian and writer Simon Sebag Montefiore.

10. What is your superpower?

The art of passively doing something. Sometimes doing nothing is a perfect strategy. Human beings are often too quick to react or respond to a “crisis”. Most crises look bigger than they really are at first sight; if you’re not 100% sure of the cause of action to take, give yourself time to reflect on the crisis – sometimes the creators of the crises solve the crisis themselves.


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