Econet seeks EcoLife partner

HARARE - Zimbabwe's largest wireless network operator Econet seeks a local partner as it moves to resume its mobile-based insurance service, EcoLife.

Its chief executive Douglas Mboweni last week told businessdaily that they were ready to re-launch the service after an international arbitrator ruled in their favour after a long-running dispute with Namibia’s Trust Co.

Trust Co was the technical partner in the initial launch of EcoLife, which allows subscribers to get free cover as long as they meet a minimum monthly spend.

“We are currently in the process of formulating the framework with which to run the product and once we are done we will be seeking proposals from local insurance partners,” Mboweni said.

He noted that after the Trust Co experience, Econet wanted to be in total control of the insurance product.

Econet terminated EcoLife in 2012 as the initial agreement with Trust Co barred it from engaging another technical partner.

Before termination, an estimated 1,2 million customers had subscribed to the service.

At the time, Econet said it did not owe anybody money as it was offering life cover for free to its customers.

Early this year, an arbitrator dismissed a claim by Trust Co that it was owed $6,9 million by Econet and instead ordered that the Namibian firm pay the latter $455 500.

The ruling by the arbitrator, a South African lawyer, was the last chapter in the battle between Econet and Trust Co which has already been to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe and also ruled in favour of Econet.

EcoLife allowed Econet’s subscribers to get free life cover on minimum airtime of only $3 per month.

Subscribers did not pay any monthly premiums, as with normal insurance schemes.

The system used a computer software system developed by Trust Co with the Zimbabwean firm paying a licence fee based on the number of customers using the service.

After almost a year, Econet claims that Trust Co began demanding a higher fee for each customer contrary to their agreement, sparking a dispute that eventually resulted in the cancellation of the contract.

Econet was forced to discontinue the service altogether.

It was then left to a special arbitrator, chosen by the two companies, to assess the actual financial claims.

Comments (7)

Mbavha yemunhu. You mislead us the first time when you introduced this service to us. And you just cut us off without compensation.

jackovic - 15 April 2014

Mbavha dzevanhu,,, ko mari yatakupai yakaendepi? you dicountied the product and never gave us anything back. there is gonna come a time when you regret treating us badly muchida kubata ma performance bonus.. muchatifunga

Prince Johns - 15 April 2014

The statement that Econet does not owe anyone of us a single cent while true, appears to be very rude and therefore a bad PR move. Econet gained, even if not substantially, in increased revenue as a result of that scheme. That they may come out and now boldly say they do not owe anyone anything is just unfortunate. I'm afraid that same statement is going to come back to haunt them seeing they are now talking of reviving this product. I believe all sane minded individuals will have second thoughts before partaking in this. In fact it is my strong conviction that this product is going to fail unless they retract their statement, rephrase it and also put in place new incentives to motivate us to re engage again. I don't think people are happy of how things turned out, and such positions as exhibited by Econet are simply bad for business. In any case it not the customers' fault that things went wrong. They should ask ZANU PF how Zimbabweans react if you treat them as inferior, while you behave as being superior, supernatural, and invincible. People do not take lightly to false promises. Those who live in glass houses should never throw stones. What goes around should surely come around, ECONET BEWARE.

mosquito - 16 April 2014

thats not true Econet owes us money because one would spend above $3 so as to be covered. If it was not because of the prospect of the insurance cover some of us would not have spent that much

chifuvachengwe - 22 April 2014

thats not true Econet owes us money because one would spend above $3 so as to be covered. If it was not because of the prospect of the insurance cover some of us would not have spent that much

chifuvachengwe - 22 April 2014

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