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TheStreet Open House

The Second Wave Of Mobile Financial Services In Africa And Asia: LeapFrog Announces Investment In BIMA, Bringing Insurance To Millions

LONDON, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LeapFrog Investments, the world's largest investor in insurance for emerging consumers, today announced an investment in BIMA. Launched in 2010 by Kinnevik, a leading emerging markets investor, BIMA was built on the simple idea of bringing more affordable insurance to people in emerging markets via their mobile phones. 18 months later, the firm is one of the largest mobile insurance platforms in the world, reaching and protecting nearly 4 million people in Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritius, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The total equity investment amounts to $7m of which $4.25m comes from LeapFrog, and the remainder from existing shareholders.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130221/DC63775LOGO )

Both investment firms are backing BIMA to lead a second wave of mobile financial services. The first wave saw a cascade of mobile payments and banking across emerging markets. "Just as banks ultimately embraced mobile money, insurers will become rapid adopters of mobile technology," explains Gustaf Agartsson, CEO of BIMA. "LeapFrog provides us with world-leading expertise in product design and distribution, plus access to its portfolio of insurance companies. This distinctive support will enable us to innovate and scale in current markets and roll out in many new markets in the coming two years."

This is LeapFrog's seventh insurance investment, with the fund's portfolio companies now spanning 10 markets in East, West and South Africa as well as South Asia.

"BIMA has harnessed the mobile revolution to dramatically reduce the price of premiums. Products such as life, accident and health insurance are provided on a commercial basis for as little as $0.20 to $6.00 a month," said LeapFrog partner, Stewart Langdon. "This radical affordability puts the safety net of insurance within reach of millions of low-income customers in emerging markets for the first time."

BIMA does not replace traditional insurance companies or mobile network operators. Instead, the business uses technology to bridge the two, and provides further support on distribution, product development and daily management. The resulting partnership, connecting two very different industries, means the insurer is able to access a vast new customer base while the mobile operator bolsters its revenue and performance. 

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