Meet Nalumansi ZamZam

 BIMA Life Insurance customer, Uganda

Premium: $1.44 for 3 months of life insurance cover

Pay-out: $300 paid in 48 hours filing

Lubwama Salim was a young man from Kampala, Uganda who worked hard as one of the city’s motorbike taxi drivers. Everyday, thousands of such drivers risk the dangerous traffic on Kampala’s roads to earn money for their family. Aware that his job was risky, and that he had a several dependents relying on his income, Lubwama had a real need for insurance but could not afford any of the traditional insurance policies on offer.

BIMA’s Life Protect policy was different; it was easy to understand, very affordable at just 1.44 USD for three months of cover, and quick to register for by using his mobile handset.

In September of 2016, Lubwama was sadly killed when a car crashed into him on the busy Jinja Mukono highway. Lubwamas family had to deal with the grief of losing a loved one and the financial impact of living without his much needed income.

Lubwama had named his sister Nalumansi as his beneficiary. She was skeptical about the chance of getting her claim paid, but the BIMA team helped her through the simple claims process. “It was surprisingly easy,” said Nalumansi. “I needed only to present my brother’s death certificate and we received the money just two days after that. To be paid so simply and quickly was unlike any other insurance company I have heard of”.

The payout provided a financial cushion for her family when she needed it the most. Nalumansi said, “In life, my brother always looked after our family, and with the BIMA payout it is like he is continuing to protect us. With this money we shall pay school fees for the children and we will invest the rest in our soap making business.”

Meet Laltu Gorai

Laltu Gorai, from Ghatshila in Jharkhand, widowed at the age of 18, availed the benefit of the Mahindra Loan Suraksha scheme.

“Widowed at the age of 18 and expecting a child at the same time, is a horrible experience. The timely help at this hour was the only thing that gave me hope.

I had seen the worst in life at a very young age. I was a young bride. My husband had taken a loan on Elco. At that time, I had no idea where he took the loan from and other details. Once we were coming back from Kolkata and we met with an accident. It was a terrible accident that took away my husband. I was unconscious for 10 days myself. After which I woke up to the fact that I was 18 and widowed. I was also expecting a child, and had no support and no money.

I was the only earning member. To top that, I had the responsibility of clearing the loan. Since I didn’t have any proof of marriage, Mahindra Insurance Brokers Ltd. asked me to approach the Gram Panchayat. On submitting the required certificate, I could avail of the Mahindra Loan Suraksha scheme under which our vehicle was covered. So they waived off the loan and took a major burden off my head. What’s more, out of the money that came, they helped invest 50% in the business and the rest as a fixed deposit in my two month old daughter’s name.

They are not just a financial company to me. They helped an 18 year old widow with a daughter, at a time when nothing was going right in life. They have given me hope and the courage to live. ”

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Meet Gaurav Nandubhai Mistry

Gaurav Nandubhai Mistry, from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is a regular medical insurance customer, after his first experience of its benefits.

“One can never be certain of some things in life, and good health is one of them. I am extremely thankful that I invested in a reliable mediclaim policy, as this helped me avoid a huge hospital bill!

Working as a call centre employee in Ahmedabad, I lived a 
simple middle class lifestyle with my family. When a Mahindra Insurance Brokers Ltd. (MIBL) executive approached me to take
a mediclaim policy, I thought it would be a waste of money. After all, why should a healthy, 27 year old invest in such a policy? I told him I would consider it in a few years time, once I was married. But the MIBL executive convinced me of how necessary medical insurance actually was. He patiently explained me all the features of the policy, and finally, in November 2011, I paid a premium of Rs 1,650 for a medical insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh.

Unfortunately, in March 2012, I had to be admitted to a hospital for treatment of malaria as well as thyroid problems. I had to stay in the hospital for a week and undergo various tests. I knew that every day, the hospital bill was mounting, and I was extremely worried about being able to pay it. I informed Mahindra Insurance of my situation, and they immediately came to the hospital, assuring me they would take care of everything. My total bill came to Rs 61,000, which was processed under the insurance policy’s cashless scheme. I did not have to pay a single rupee from my savings!

Today, I lead a healthy life, but I never fail to renew my mediclaim policy from Mahindra Insurance. I am extremely grateful to their team for providing me with such prompt service. They not only took care of my expenses, but also boosted my morale, giving me courage to fight against my disease. I have recently taken three more health insurance policies from them for my family members. It is a comforting factor to know that we will never have to worry about finances in a medical emergency situation. I will always stick with Mahindra Insurance when it comes to buying insurance.”

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LeapFrog CEO Indaba

Behind LeapFrog’s portfolio of remarkable, high-growth companies, are some of the world’s most visionary leaders and strong management teams.

In 2015, LeapFrog Labs launched the CEO Indaba, a unique forum designed to bring together leaders from LeapFrog’s companies across Africa and Asia, and create an environment where they could connect, develop and grow.

Recognising that being a CEO can be a lonely role and that continual personal professional development is critical to the success of leaders and their companies, the CEO Indaba aimed to help our leaders share their journeys, build new relationships, and learn from each other in a supportive environment.

“We invest in extraordinary companies, and their CEOs need capital, they need expertise… but above all, they need thought partners if they’re going to solve the problems of their companies and often their societies,” says Andy Kuper, Founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments.

The first event saw portfolio companies consider common issues around talent and innovation that CEOs typically face, and learn from each other’s challenges and successes.

The feedback from CEO participants was overwhelming, with a 100% success rate from responders and a strong commitment to continue to engage.

“I got what I would call a full-immersion experience; no holds barred, all of us getting together and really opening up,” says Kofi Fynn, Founder and CEO of Petra Trust, of the experience.

The CEO Indaba is now an annual event, and forms part of LeapFrog’s broader work to build communities of peers and encourage a productive culture for learning and growth.

Watch highlights from the 2016 event below.

Knowledge Sharing Workshops

With a diverse portfolio of companies across Africa and Asia, LeapFrog is in a unique position to collect and capture the challenges and opportunities that companies in emerging markets face.

LeapFrog Labs’ Knowledge Sharing Workshops harness this fountain of knowledge, as expert-led forums that connect, educate and inspire the leadership teams of LeapFrog’s companies. The workshops add real value to companies by sharing best-practice and driving synergies between companies’ products and markets.

Founded in 2013, the first event held in Ghana was funded by Labs’ partners EIB and KfW, and focused on challenges and best practices in rural and low-income product distribution and product design. Over the years, these workshops have brought together leaders from many different areas of the companies, and have focused on and driven results in product development, governance, operational strategies and marketing, communications and branding.

The marketing workshop held in 2015 brought together 20 marketing and operating specialists across more than 10 of LeapFrog’s companies, facilitators from leading global advertising agency M&C Saatchi Abel, and the founder of digital pioneer Treeshake, Dave Duarte. The workshop stimulated the creation of another learning community amongst the marketing leads in portfolio companies, who continue to engage with best practice sharing beyond the event.

The 2016 LeapFrog Insurance Innovation Circle forum explored how companies can maximise digital business opportunities in emerging markets. Watch highlights below.

Like LeapFrog’s CEO Indaba, these workshops form part of LeapFrog’s commitment to be a thought partner to its companies, and establish a productive culture of knowledge-sharing.

BIMA’s tele-doctor service

BIMA is the global leader in providing insurance and healthcare through mobile technology. A LeapFrog investment, BIMA provides insurance distribution and underwriting to millions of low income people via highly innovative partnerships with major mobile network operators and financial services businesses.

Right from the start of LeapFrog’s investment, LeapFrog Labs has supported BIMA in product development, customer insight and new partnership development.

Most recently, Labs played a critical role in the development of BIMA’s tele-doctor service, which has now been launched in Ghana, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Paraguay. Since entering the mobile health space in late 2015, BIMA has already reached over 330,000 people.

In emerging markets, it is common for people to have to travel considerable distances or sacrifice hours waiting in a clinic before seeing a doctor. This, and the cost of consultations, often prevents people from seeking medical help.

BIMA’s m-Health services make it easy, quick and affordable for patients to access medical advice from a qualified doctor before their condition worsens. At the core of the product is a tele-doctor service that gives customers access to consultations with a qualified doctor over the phone. Members and their extended families are eligible for an unlimited number of consultations, all for the cost of a single membership. Customers also receive free diagnostic tests, discounts throughout BIMA’s partnership network and a local medical directory.

In Ghana, for example, customers can buy a 12-month m-Health package for just GHC 18 (USD 4.55). BIMA’s trained agents register new members in the field, providing vital product information to ensure that people understand the service and how to use it. Emerging consumers are often reluctant to try new products, so BIMA needed to find a way to inspire trust and demonstrate immediate value. They did so by offering customers a free health screening in one of BIMA’s community-based doctor’s camps, including tests for blood pressure, BMI, eyesight, blood sugar (diabetes) and Hepatitis B.

BIMA DoctorThe doctor’s camp initiative is funded by Labs donors and has been a huge success, doubling the number of consumers subscribing to the product. BIMA has already given over 45, 000 Ghanaian families access to vital health services and continues to scale up across the country.

This is a simple but highly effective product that allows consumers to leapfrog traditional healthcare provision and get the advice they need to live healthier lives.


In 2014, LeapFrog Labs and Mahindra Insurance Brokers ran a pan-India study to examine access to, and demand for, critical health services, including health insurance.

The study interviewed nearly 1,700 individuals across rural India, including customers and non-customers of LeapFrog portfolio company Mahindra Insurance Brokers Limited. This study was conducted in collaboration with Neilsen, India.

A whistle-stop tour of findings

Mahindra 3
    • Quality care is in short supply, and health shocks are a significant financial burden
      Nearly 40% of clients interviewed fall sick at least once a month but are on average 11 kilometers from any hospital. Approximately 45% say health shocks always lead to financial problems, probably because 82% fund healthcare costs from their savings. These trends persist at all income levels, though are more prevalent, and shocks felt more strongly, at lower income levels.
    • There are sizeable unmet needs for health insurance in existing channels
      Penetration of health insurance is overwhelmingly low in India, and this study finds exclusion exists regardless of income or occupation. At Mahindra Finance, 95% of customers are low income and 83% have no health insurance. Access is even lower for non-customers, where 92% have no health insurance.
    • Price point and customisation important
      Existing Mahindra customers are willing to pay $2 per month for coverage. With over 1 million customers this is a sizeable immediate market, though customisation of product is important.
    • Low understanding of public cover creates an opportunity to build trust
      Most rural non-customers were not familiar with public cover options. Consequently, they rely on self medication. Mahindra used this finding as an opportunity to educate customers on public cover, and design a top-up product to provide additional risk cover.

Delivering health security across India

The insights gained from this survey helped Mahindra develop a successful Hospital Cover product from $2 a month, 40% cheaper than its competition. The range of cover – from $1,000 to $10,000 – provides for cashless treatment in 4,000 hospitals across rural India, provision of drugs and medical care, instant activation of coverage and no medical underwriting.


In 2015, LeapFrog Labs and Petra ran a study to understand informal sector pension demand in Ghana, surveying 1,200 informal sector workers across Accra, Ashanti and the Western region of Ghana.

While pensions for formal sector workers are new in Ghana, 86% of all employment is found within the informal sector, presenting a significant additional opportunity. This study was conducted in collaboration with Creative Hub, Ghana.

A whistle-stop tour of findings

Petra Infographic 4
  • Majority never plan on retiring
    Of those interviewed, 59% of respondents never plan on retiring, believing they will always be capable of work. Of those that do plan on retiring, the majority believe they will do so between the ages of 60 and 70. Not surprisingly, the demand for a retirement “pension” was relatively low.
  • Different perspectives on the future from informally employed
    Informally employed respondents were more likely to plan on stopping than self-employed, but less likely to have financial plans for when they do stop work. This points to informal unmet demand.
  • Limited demand for “pensions,” but long-term savings are important
    While most respondents had no plans to retire, most reported a high level of interest in saving for the future. Further, 79% of informal sector workers already have access to a bank account, but cited limited options for long-term planning.
  • Starting to save early is important and is a sizeable market opportunity
    55% of respondents were interested in a long-term savings product and were willing to contribute an average of US$171 annually. In addition, 53% of respondents said that pension planning needs to start in your 20s, highlighting a need for long term savings products.
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Launch of Petra’s Savings Booster

These insights helped shape the design of Petra’s “Savings Booster”, an investment product that seeks to encourage long-term savings by allowing employed workers to save on top of their mandated pension scheme. Petra currently provides this product to formally employed workers, and seeks to expand to informal workers also. To-date, capped management fees have prohibited an agent-intensive distribution model for the informal sector, though digital strategies hold promise and are still being examined.

Northern Arc Capital (formerly IFMR Capital)

In 2014, LeapFrog Labs and Northern Arc Capital (formerly IFMR Capital) designed a cross sectional study to assess the unmet insurance needs of more than 15 million credit clients in the Northern Arc network.

Northern Arc and LeapFrog Labs interviewed nearly 1,200 existing clients, 80% of whom were low income earners, and found significant gaps in insurance access, as well as existing perceptions of insurance that impede take-up. This study was conducted in collaboration with Microsave, India.

A whistle-stop tour of findings

  • Protecting the primary earner
    The highest demand for protection is centered around covering the primary breadwinner with key products such as life insurance, accident cover, and hospitalisation cover. This indicates where the biggest family needs are, and informs early product strategies.
  • A potential $120m untapped market exists
    While most customers have credit life insurance due to their existing relationships with lenders, 77% report no additional risk protection products. This opens up an opportunity to provide other critical risk products such as life, health, and asset cover; even at a premium cost of only $1 per month, this represents a potential $120 million market in IFMR’s network alone.
IFMr Infographic 3
  • Mobile phones have blue-sky potential for payments and education
    An astounding 94% of respondents had a mobile phone, and 78% a formal bank account. Allowing customers to purchase insurance via mobile may improve the customer experience. Mobile phones can also increase insurance awareness, build trust, and provide on-going education and tailored services.
  • A hidden market exists, with spend beyond insurance significant
    Respondents reported spending an estimated $2.7 billion over the past five years on healthcare, and $11.7 billion on asset purchases. This gives initial glimpses into the massive commercial size of the emerging consumer opportunity.

The power of insights

Northern Arc has used the findings from this study to help its network of originators to manage risk better, both for themselves and their end-clients. This includes new product research and workshops aimed at finding ways to protect low-income households from the aftermath of natural catastrophes including floods and droughts.

IFMR Holdings and the Asian Development Bank organised a joint workshop on this topic, convening high quality originators, data scientists, climatologists, insurers, reinsurers, social impact investors and regulators. The workshop group agreed to create protection for catastrophic risk, and to unite for shared initiatives and solutions.