Vodacom has secured a licence from the Financial Services Board (FSB) to begin selling insurance products directly to its customers as it seeks to broaden its portfolio and expand its revenue streams in a maturing mobile market.
There are few details available for now, but TechCentral has established that the cellular network operator intends to begin selling insurance products much more aggressively in the first quarter of 2012. It already has a limited portfolio of options available that includes insurance for phones, tablets and laptops.
Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman confirms that the FSB recently granted the company a licence that will allow it sell insurance products directly to consumers rather than working through an intermediary. Until now, it has supplied insurance products through a division of Santam.
“The key reason for applying for the licence is to give us more control and flexibility when it comes to insurance services,” says Boorman. “We don’t have any specific new products or services to announce at this stage.”
Vodacom’s insurance team reports to its head of financial services, Mark Taylor, who is responsible for, among other things, Vodacom’s M-Pesa mobile transactions platform, which it launched last year in partnership with Nedbank.
In an interview with TechCentral in May, Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys said the company might seek its own banking licence from SA regulators if M-Pesa took off in the way it expects it will in the next few years.
He said Vodacom had decided to work with a bank to launch the service because it realised it could not launch it in the timeframe it had set itself without a partner. “We have a good partnership with Nedbank, [but we want to] start opening it up so you can transact with other banks,” he said at the time. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral
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