The Insurance sector in Africa, despite recording progress in recent times, is still far behind the rest of the world in terms of market penetration. Notwithstanding, the industry in Africa records losses in excess of $12 billion annually, thanks to fraud within the system.
This mammoth figure not only eats deep into the administrative costs and profits of the firms, but it also makes growth in the industry a really difficult process, leaving the African market penetration at a minimal 2.8%.
Founder and CEO of Curacel, Henry Mascot, was a guest at the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, where he detailed how insurance companies were losing money to false claims and fraud, and how they had inhibited their growth, making it impossible to scale.
It is to solve this problem that Mascot and his co-founders set up Curacel, a technology-driven company that uses artificial intelligence to detect insurance fraud. The technology not only speeds up the insurance claims management process, it also automatically vets the claims and detects fraudulent claims.
A need identified
Between the point it was registered in 2017 and the time it kicked off operations in 2019, the co-founders bootstrapped, participated in several accelerator programmes and bootcamps, and applied for grants here and there as they tried to find their feet and launch their first product.
They first launched an electronic health information management system for clinics to help them better manage their records, appointments, patient communications, billing and reporting with an easy to use dashboard.
It was in the course of doing this that they got to find out from insurance executives that almost a quarter of pay-outs were made to fraudulent, wasteful or abusive claims. This was the “Aha” moment where they discovered that they had bigger fish to fry in the insurance sector if they hoped to create a better healthcare system for Africa.
“If we can reduce fraud, companies will be more profitable and then they can scale, and even offer micro-insurance products to capture a better part of the market.
We are helping to drive insurance and increase the number of people who have access to insurance in emerging markets by providing technology infrastructure for insurance companies to automate their claims with our flagship product – Curacel Claims.
Because Curacel is out to help solve the insurance problem wholistically, the company is also working on Curacel Capital – a product that will use cloud software to drive rapid claims management and accurate payouts thus allowing hospitals to get their claims paid faster.
When hospitals send their claims to insurance companies, the payments often gets delayed due to the bulky process of checking and approving claims and this delay in payment could make the hospital or health facility less inclined to attend to patients who have insurance products. Curacel Capital is the product which will speed up this claims management process, identify any fraudulent claim and speed the payout,” Mascot said.
Taking the solution to the rest of Africa
Curacel is currently present in 3 African countries but has plans to increase the number to 10 by the end of 2021, with one of its strategy being to follow its insurance company clients into national markets where they have scale.
The expansion is not restricted to just the health sector, but could also go into areas like car insurance. The ultimate goal of Curacel is a better life for Africans.
Mascot explained, “Our vision is to see a world where Africans are economically empowered and it starts by protecting the little they have. With the already low standard of living in Africa, a health disaster can cripple a family’s finances if they are not insured and we need the insurance sector to prevent such a breakdown.”