Using mobile phone ergonomics to improve uptake of ACRE Africa micro insurance product- RPG
The Replanting Guarantee Product (RPG) is an innovative weather index based insurance cover for improved seed and fertilizer. The RPG product covers the risk of poor rainfall during the crops’ germination phase that necessitates replanting. The product is marketed to input supplier companies who undertake premiums payment for the seed or fertilizer whose insurance cover has been activated by the customers.
Activation is through a USSD code. Instructions are provided through a card placed inside the seed or fertilizer bag. Activation is done through a user friendly mobile platform designed by Acre Africa and supported by local mobile network operators. Upon opening the bag of inputs, farmers are instructed to activate the insurance via a unique code found on the card using their mobile phone. Farmers are not required to pay for the insurance cover as the cover is provided by the input company as a value add on feature. The RPG cover is valid for 21 days upon activation.
However challenges associated with product activation are as a result of low literacy levels among smallholder farmers have caused low uptake of RPG product. To unlock potential, there was need to set up farmer on boarding mechanism and streamline the mobile activation process.
ACRE Africa partnered with Africa Instore Solutions Limited (AIS), an institution that specializes in developing strategies that bridge gaps between local business operational approaches and best practices of consumer products and services at the bottom of the pyramid. AIS coins key sustainability, inclusion and technology themes in their approaches.
This project was done in collaboration with Inbox, a consultant who assist organizations in construction and enrichment of their client knowledge through the use of data. Inbox works across the entire value chain of the customer experience to gain an enhanced view of the consumer.
With the support of Swiss Capacity Building Facility – SCBF, Inbox, AIS and ACRE Africa, the project team traversed across Kenya collecting product feedback and reviews from farmers to understand existing gaps in activation and how they can be overcome. Valuable insights highlighting small holder farmer challenges and opportunities while navigating the mobile activation process were identified.
The USSD activation process was shortened to accommodate simpler, clear and improved user experience. As a result of this intervention, farmer engagement and experience with the produce witnessed increased uptake the following subsequent season. Farmers expressed ease of registration and a much ‘more-friendlier’ activation process.
In summary, one of the key recommendations mentioned by farmers was the need for a full season cover beyond germination phase. The germination cover was provided by the Replanting Guarantee product. In response to this, ACRE Africa further, still under the SCBF intervention tested a self-sponsored premium payment model that involved integrating mobile money. This intervention has successfully been piloted twice and preparations are underway for product roll out in the Kenyan market.