Case Study

Standing for women’s health across emerging markets: BIMA

During 2020, in its operations across Africa and Asia, mobile-technology insurer BIMA created awareness of women’s health issues, expanded consultation services to them and offered special insurance policies to meet their needs.

It was a needed response when the health concerns and insurance needs of women – often ignored in emerging markets – became more crucial during the pandemic.

BIMA offers life and health insurance policies, supported by a telemedicine service, all via a mobile-first platform targeting consumers in emerging markets whose primary entry point to online services is via phones.

It recently expanded its telemedicine service to include health programs for managing illnesses and discounts for pharmacies. Under this service, customers sign up to relevant health programs and receive regular information about how they and their families can stay healthy.

One of these programs is ‘women’s health’, covering issues such as menstrual and sexual health. In 2020 there were approximately 45,000 customers subscribing to this program, receiving around 200,000 pieces of health information per month.

As part of its telemedicine services, BIMA offers customers phone consultations with specialists including gynaecologists. In 2020 it doubled the availability of gynaecologists in its markets to satisfy demand and ensure it was offering the right level of health advice to women.

“The onset of COVID-19 has brought home the value of telemedicine, to help prevent the spread of disease, and the importance of insurance, for peace of mind. Through digital solutions, and a human touch, we’ve been able to serve hard-to-reach communities with tools and services that bring them a sense of security at such a challenging time,” explained BIMA chief executive officer Gustav Agartson.

On the insurance side of the business, in Ghana, BIMA offered a higher benefit for maternity hospitalization admissions. It also provided a maternity death benefit in its hospitalization product in the event of death due to maternity-related complications. Generally, across all its markets, BIMA aims to ensure that maternity-related risks are included in its insurance cover.

It also worked to impact women’s health beyond its products and services. In October it worked with Samina Alvi, the wife of Pakistan President Arif Alvi, to host a digital meet up to raise awareness of breast cancer, which affects 90,000 annually in the nation.

The social-media focused campaign used the hashtag #GoPinkwithBIMA to spread greater awareness of the disease and for women to regularly self-check and be screened, “…in the hope that early detection will lead to more positive outcomes in the fight against breast cancer”, said BIMA Mobile Pakistan CEO Murtaza Khalil Hassan, at the time.

BIMA has held 2 million tele-doctor consultations. It’s now active in 10 countries — Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal in Africa; and Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka across Asia.

Byron Smith