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MyCover.ai Secures $1.25M Pre-Seed Funding

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MyCover.ai, the insurtech startup building Africa’s digital insurance infrastructure, has announced the close of a $1.25 million pre-seed funding round, today, led by Ventures Platform.

The round included participation from Founders Factory Africa and TechStars, who are making a follow-on investment after the startup’s participation in its 2022 Toronto Accelerator program.

MyCover.ai will use this capital injection to bolster its in-house operations and tech talent, invest heavily in its proprietary technology and strategically expand its operations into other African markets.

Founded in 2021, MyCover.ai is focused on addressing the pain points that exist in the African insurance market, such as the lack of access, inadequate coverage, the unaffordability of insurance products and the poor customer experience surrounding insurance processes.

By operating across three essential touchpoints, the company addresses these problems: underwriting and product development, distribution, and insurance claims, where the claims processes are streamlined for insurance companies and the end-users.

The company provides an open insurance API that integrates with leading insurance companies, such as Hygeia, Leadway, Sovereign Trust, AIICO Insurance and Allianz, to offer over 30 personalised insurance products, allowing other businesses and innovators to embed these insurance products into their platforms.

MyCover.ai’s collaboration with insurance companies ensures that their products are efficiently distributed through the API, offering benefits such as faster and cost-effective distribution, access to customer utilisation data, simplified onboarding and policy management processes, access to new customer segments, improved claims processes, and opportunities to develop new products.

For startups and businesses looking to embed insurance into their offerings, MyCover.ai provides easy integration through its API and SDK, enabling seamless insurance offerings to customers and, ultimately, revenue growth.

The insurtech company’s mission is to provide financial security to Africans by improving access to insurance products. Nigerians, for example, are exposed to a wide range of risks and vulnerabilities on a daily basis.

From health challenges to asset loss and damage and the potential loss of livelihood, the threats faced are multifaceted. According to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), only 0.5% of Nigeria’s population is insured.

The majority of the population have never purchased insurance policies and resort to out-of-pocket payments in times of loss – if they can even afford it. This dire situation leaves individuals vulnerable and struggling to recover from unfavourable incidents, often plunging them into abject poverty.

In the wider African market, over half of the countries in the continent have insurance penetration rates below 2%. South Africa, however, remains a reference point of what can be achieved and exceeded on the continent, with an insurance penetration rate of 16.99%.

MyCover.ai’s suite of products have been developed to close this gap and solve the previously insurmountable problem of insurance distribution in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

Since its launch, the technology-enabled insurance platform has emerged as a leading provider of innovative insurance solutions. With over $1M in Gross Written Premiums and strong partnerships with leading insurance providers in Nigeria, MyCover.ai has established itself as a market leader.

MyCover.ai’s powerful API integration facilitates seamless collaboration with external partners, empowering businesses from various sectors to effortlessly integrate insurance into their products and services, with the inclusion of a white label option, without incurring any additional risks or costs. These businesses are presented with the opportunity to offer insurance policies as add-ons on top of their existing core products.

MyCover.ai’s extensive range of products have been used by businesses across various sectors and verticals, such as logistics and mobility/ride-hailing, e-commerce, BNPL platforms, fintechs and more.

For instance, a third Party Logistics company can offer on-demand Goods In Transit Coverage for goods moved on its fleet, as well as provide health insurance and personal accident cover to its riders. All claims and insurance processes can be conveniently managed in a smooth and timely manner on its platform.

Adding to MyCover.ai’s all-encompassing range of services and support, is MyCoverGenius, the first and only B2B platform in Nigeria, which offers the opportunity for clients to directly purchase insurance products from the company.

This novel platform addresses a common oversight by legacy insurance companies that often overlook the entrepreneurs and SMEs present in the Total Addressable Market.

With MyCoverGenius, business owners are able to conveniently and effectively cover their staff and assets, scaling up or down in relation to the growth in business operations.

The company also provides low code tools for offline stores as well as its proprietary Software Developer Kit (SDK), where partners can easily distribute insurance products and elevate customer experiences with little or no tech burden on their business.

Commenting on the raise, MyCover.ai’s CEO and co-founder Adebowale Banjo said, “The current insurance landscape is plagued by fragmentation and inefficiencies that hinder distribution and adoption.

Affordable, accessible, and frictionless insurance remains a significant challenge for many customers, and we are proud to be at the forefront of change, constructing a robust infrastructure that addresses these critical issues head-on.

“We are building the rails that will power the growth and adoption of insurance across Africa, and we are delighted to have the support of our new and returning investors whose deep knowledge and extensive expertise in our region will help accelerate the attainment of our objectives.”

Dotun Olowoporoku, General Partner at Ventures Platform, commented, “Adebowale and his team are reshaping the insurance landscape in Nigeria and have their eyes set on the wider African market, by building the much-needed insurance infrastructure on the continent.

Unlike other insurtech solutions that focus on specific areas of insurance penetration among the underserved, MyCover.ai takes a collaborative approach and offers a suite of services that cover the entire spectrum of these challenges.

“We are confident in their vision and operational pedigree, and we are excited to support their growth as they continue to empower businesses and individuals through scalable and innovative insurance solutions”.

The African insurance market is on an upward trajectory, with a size that soared to $81.6B in 2022. The market size is projected to rise to $123.8B by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.19% between 2022 – 2028.

Traditional insurers have, however, struggled to extend their services to the vast population, with insurance penetration remaining below par. However, with the growth of a young population, the rise of technology, including widespread smartphone adoption and affordable internet access, coupled with global opportunities and the exponential growth of fintech solutions, MyCover.ai emerges as a catalyst for change.


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E-Financial

Crypto Exchanges Begin Delisting Naira from P2P Platforms- SEC

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Crypto exchanges have commenced delisting of the Naira from Peer-to-Peer (P2P) trading platforms, following directives of the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Crypto Exchanges Begin Delisting Naira from P2P Platforms- SEC

P2P trading in the realm of cryptos is a decentralized method that allows individuals to buy and sell digital assets directly with one another.

In this system, P2P trading platforms serve as intermediaries, facilitating secure and trust-based transactions.

SEC explained that its checks have indicated that the Naira has been removed as a fiat currency option for transactions on KuCoin platform and the exchange has already begun the necessary adjustments to its technology to accommodate the delisting of the Naira as soon as practicable.

It explained that the removal of the Naira from the platforms limits the ability to manipulate the exchange rates against the Nigerian currency which is expected to further strengthen the value of the naira.

Dr. Emomotimi Agama, acting director general of SEC, reacting to the delisting by KuCoin, expressed delight that the crypto exchanges were heeding the directives of ONSA and SEC, describing it as a welcome development.

He stated: “We are happy that they have started complying with the directives by the ONSA.  We ask that those involved in sharp practices that undermine national interest should cease and desist. It is in our interest as a people to protect what belongs to us.  Anyone that disobeys directives should be ready to face the full weight of the law”.

Agama added that as the apex regulator of the capital market, “SEC is co-operating  with the Office of the National Security Adviser, the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to achieve the national objective of making sure that illegality is not allowed to thrive”.

 

 

 


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E-Financial

Court Backs Banks to Collect Customers’ Social Media Handles

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A federal high court in Lagos has struck out a case against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over its directive requiring banks to collect and verify social media handles as part of their know-your-customer (KYC) requirement.

Court Backs Banks to Collect Customers’ Social Media Handles

In June 2023, the apex bank issued the directive, saying the aim is to prevent financial crime, and terrorism, as well as boost the precision and thoroughness of customer identification.

Chris Eke, the applicant and a customer, represented by Olubunmi Abayomi-Olukunle, a lawyer, had filed suit number FHC/L/CS/1281/2023 in July 2023, arguing the CBN’s directive infringed upon constitutional rights, particularly section 37 of the 1999 constitution.

Nnamdi Dimgba, presiding judge, struck out the suit filed by Eke, which sought a declaration that the regulation as contained in section 6(a)(iv) of the CBN (customer due diligence) Regulations, 2023, is “undemocratic, unconstitutional, null and void”.

The CBN, in its response to the suit, filed a notice of preliminary objection, challenging the competence of the suit and disagreeing with the claim of interference with the applicant’s private life.

In his judgment, Dimgba held that the notice of preliminary objection had merit, subsequently striking out the suit.

The judge ruled that providing a social media handle is equivalent to providing email and phone numbers for potential customers, and therefore, it does not violate the right to privacy.

“First, the applicant claims that the requirements on the CBN regulations for financial institutions to request and collect the social media handle of its customers as part of KYC infringes on his right to privacy,” the judge said.

“This claim is very ambitious and amounts to a very far throw. The said regulations are directed to and apply to financial institutions.  It does not apply to private individuals such as the applicant.

“Even if, as appears to be argued, that the regulations itself would inevitably affect the applicant, this claim is speculative for the simple reason that in nowhere in the affidavit in support was it stated that the applicant operates an account with a financial institution and that the said institution had demanded his social media handle.”

Consequently, the judge said the suggestion that he would be negatively affected by the regulation is very “speculative and at large”.

He said there is a lack of evidence suggesting financial institutions have implemented the regulation, and it is causing disruptions and inconvenience.

Furthermore, Dimgba said if the applicant is “irritated by the requirement of the regulation”, he has a choice to “refuse to do business with any bank insisting on the information as part of its social media handle, but to seek other alternatives”.

PROVISION OF SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES TO BANKS DO NOT TRANSLATE TO BREACH’

Dimgba said banks asking customers or potential clients to provide their social media handles is not a breach of privacy.

He said the essence of having a social media account was for one to be publicly visible communication-wise.

According to the judge, a social media handle, being in the public space, can be accessed by everyone whether or not consent was obtained.

As a result, he said it would be unreasonable to hold the respondent in breach of privacy.

“The apprehension of the Applicant of his social interactions being monitored is manifestly speculative in itself and rather incredulous to believe that the financial institutions have the luxury of time to concern itself with such frivolities,” the judge said.

 

 


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CBN Grants Approval to 14 New IMTOs  to Spur Liquidity

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it has granted 14 new International Money Transfer Operators, IMTOs Approval-in-Principle (AIP) to double foreign-currency remittance inflows through formal channels amid foreign currency crisis.

CBN Grants Approval to 14 New IMTOs  to Spur Liquidity

Hakama Sidi Ali, acting director of Corporate Communications, CBN, disclosed this in a statement that the he initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs, lowering the cost of remittance transactions and boosting financial inclusion.

CBN’s thinking is that increasing formal remittance flows, which are one of the major sources of foreign exchange and account for over 6 per cent of gross domestic product, would help ease the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira,” Olayemi Cardoso, the CBN Governor, recently disclosed the apex bank’s target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, which he firmly believed was possible.

On Wednesday, the Naira recorded its first N61 gain against the dollar at the foreign exchange market for the first time after weeks of decline.

 

 


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