Israeli insurtech startup OKO has partnered with Allianz, the German multinational financial services company, to bring crop insurance in an innovative new way to smallholder farmers in Africa, the company announced this week.
Together, Allianz and OKO will design index insurance products that automatically compensate farmers when they are facing difficult weather conditions.
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OKO aims to bring its data science expertise and its mobile distribution technology, while Allianz will assist in underwriting and reinsuring the crop insurance products, the companies said.
The partnership is the second step in a collaboration that began with a pilot program in the West African country of Mali, where OKO says it demonstrated its ability to bring insurance to populations not serve by banks but using mobile phones.
OKO has made it possible for Malian farmers to access insurance, pay using Mobile Money, a technology that allows people to receive, store and spend money using a mobile phone, and receive claim payment on their phone, regardless of the device, the company says.
“For OKO it is a massive step forward to partner with such a large and innovative company. We will now be able to enter new markets and work towards our goal of making African farmers more resilient to climate risks” said Simon Schwall, CEO of OKO.
“Allianz is constantly looking for propositions specially designed to improve the lives of people in our emerging consumers segment. We believe that OKO has the potential to increase insurance penetration in rural areas, which are traditionally under-served and thereby unlock an enormous market”, said Neeraj Maheshwari, head of micro-insurance at Allianz Africa.
Founded in 2018, OKO uses satellite data and partnership with mobile operators to secure the income of farmers through automated insurance products. The company has been recognized by French telecommunications company Orange as the most promising start-up in Africa, winning the Orange Social Venture Prize 2018 and is supported by the European Commission.