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Pay-Provider, A Game Changer For Zimbabweans

By Shingirai Vambe

Consumer protection council has seized to be effective over the past years due to continuous economic challenges, currency and policy inconsistencies and deliberate behaviour of profiteering in the insurance sector for the struggling masses of Zimbabwe.

This has however created a gap which was identified and still to be closed for citizens to get value for their money, once they subscribe to life, funeral or health insurance.

Pay provider, was described as a game changer and new system which will enable consumers to be able to access services and account for their contributions as well getting value for their money.

Due to lack of disposable income, inflation and unemployment, as well as terms and conditions set by service providers, citizens have failed to secure their policies.

Chiedza Mhaka told the Post on Sunday newspaper that after contributing for her funeral cover for more than 5 years to a local service provider, lost her job and failed to pay for 3 consecutive months, her policy lapsed, she can no longer get the services she was subscribing for.

She added and said she felt vulnerable and in loss of all her contributions.

Tariro Medical Centre in Rusape, pic by Shingirai Vambe

This is the same issue with medical aids, with majority due to policies are contributing in local Zimbabwe currency each time they want to access services, they are asked to make a co-payment or short fall, regardless of huge sums and over rated values of their contributions, citizens said they are not getting value for money.

However, those contributing in foreign currency are able to access equitable services.

Companies have sustainably stood with insurance service providers having quite a huge number contributed for years and have never used their policies.

Mhaka said pay provider was the best way forward for Zimbabwe though it has its challenges and risks, that can be addressed than continuously enriching   individuals and already established companies.

“This pay provider scheme works perfectly well in rural communities as well as in big cities. Its rather better to capacitate a local person with my contribution which I can check and can be accounted for each time I require a service,” said Mhaka.

Lost faith in the banking system, citizens no longer have savings, surviving on $1.93c a day and cannot afford to consistently pay their premiums hence the new approach that responds to their needs.

Speaking to a few doctors with surgeries, they confirmed to this publication that the system works perfectly well as they are also facing challenges with their claims from medical aid societies.

A carpenter, Tafadzwa Nyikadzino said the pay provider scheme is a game changer as it addresses challenges in accessing loans.

“The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country is built by its own people (Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo) this is one such example of a home-grown solution in addressing challenges that we face daily, as consumers we are not protected,” Nyikadzino said.

Small to medium scale entrepreneurs face challenges in accessing credit lines to boost their business and survive. Nyikadzino said this pay provider scheme gives citizens an element of ownership and entitlement to infrastructure and development as it capacitates service providers in their different trades.

“It’s an empowerment, not relatively new as we already have big clothing and furniture shops that accept instalments, this is a similar system, it can work with panel beaters, medical practitioners, pharmacies to mention just a few,” he said.

A local doctor, who refused to be named said there are people with relatives in the diaspora, who send money every month to get medication and treatment, and prefer working directly with the service provider, getting updates and making sure their relatives are treated without any monetary challenges.

He said there is consumer confidence in the system and can easily track their contribution thus promoting trust, transparency and accountability.

It was revealed in Nyanga recently at the Private Healthcare Association of Zimbabwe conference that majority of their clients, 90% to be more precise, are out of pocket or cash clients. However, the cost of getting services in Zimbabwe have been described as highly prohibitive, and economist, Gift Mugano told this publication that there is a problem in the costing structures of businesses in Zimbabwe.