Covid-19 is a new acute threat to the well-being of low- and middle-income households in developing countries. It adds to the list of insurable risks which force households into poverty and creates heightened global insurance demand. Nepal has 46’257 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 7 September 2020. As in other countries, the actual number of Covid-19 cases is likely to be higher than the officially reported number.
Currently, the main constraint in terms of responding to demand is on the supply side. The Nepali insurance sector is small with an estimated 17.5% of the population having some form of insurance, and most low-income households do not have access to insurance at all. The current Covid-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for local insurance companies and e-Health service companies to work together to offer critical risk protection products to the Nepali public related to Covid-19, while establishing a platform to expand insurance in the market.
In response to Covid-19, the SCBF product upscaling project supports the local insurtech company Stonestep TFD Nepal to implement a e-Health Value Added Service (VAS) product with two core features: e-health tele-consultation bundled with Covid-19 insurance. The e-Health VAS will be offered via outbound SMS and in-App notifications to customers registered with the mobile money partner, DigiPay Mobile Money, and TDO Nepal will provide the online health content and telephonic doctor consultations, as well as distribution. This is a first-of-its-kind product that will improve the resilience of low- and middle-income families in Nepal. Women are particularly vulnerable to the current Covid-19 pandemic, especially when they are the key person in the household who takes care of the sick and elderly, as well as the well-being and nutrition of their children – when falling sick, the whole family is affected.
The e-Health VAS product will be promoted in urban / peri-urban areas in Kathmandu valley before expanding geographically to rural areas. A projected 5’000 clients will be enrolled by the end of the project in May 2021. DigiPay and TDO Nepal have combined over 50’000 customers, but the goal is to find additional distribution partners, so that the outreach will be even higher.