South Africa is still a primarily cash-based society despite having many banks and the potential for mobile wallets and an array of credit, debit and loyalty cards available. When it comes to insurance underwriters, funeral administrators and other companies offering subscription services to lower-income groups, the collection of premiums in cash is still common.
These companies often find that, while a large percentage of South Africans are considered ‘banked’, many still prefer the assurance (whether real or perceived) of dealing in cash. The result is agents are sent out regularly to meet clients and collect monthly premiums in cash. These premiums, which amount to billions per year, are then supposed to be returned to the company and the individuals’ policies updated.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and people often end up paying the agent for a service, a funeral policy for example, only to find the premiums went into someone’s pocket and their policies have lapsed.
Local company RubiBlue has developed a solution to the cash collection problem called easiPoint. It manages the risk of fraud and theft by and from these agents who can collect tens of thousands of rand per day. It can even ensure that policies are covered in the case of theft because it can verify that a premium was collected.
Chris Ogden, CEO of RubiBlue, adds that the solution not only works for independent agents, but can also be used in retail stores where premiums are often collected, and the store takes the risk for managing the cash.
How it works
EasiPoint is a complete cloud-based system. The hardware component looks like a point-of-sale device that is connected to the cloud through GPRS to allow for real-time processing. When an agent collects money for a policy, the policy is verified, the cash taken and a receipt issued to the client.
Ogden says the receipt is important as it is proof of payment for the policy holder and the transaction is also recorded on RubiBlue’s database (in the cloud). When the agent cashes up, the system has a record of all the cash collected, making fraud impossible as the amount the agent (or cashier in a retail setting) has to deliver is set. The system can also store information on the device if there is no connectivity during a transaction, synchronising when connectivity is restored.
A similar solution is available for logistics companies that send drivers to various countries in Africa. Using the system to verify the driver’s location, vouchers are generated for fuel and other costs when the driver requires them, and are settled with suppliers within a day. Currently the solution is active in 16 African countries.
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