Nigeria’s Soso Care launches recycling-linked micro-health insurance product

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Nigerian startup Soso Care has launched a low-cost micro-health insurance platform that can be paid for by collecting recyclable materials.

Piloted in June and formally launched in October, the Abuja-based Soso Care is a US$1 insurtech platform that targets urban slum dwellers, uninsured pregnant women and children who cannot afford to pay cash for insurance.

Instead, it uses recyclable rubbish as a financial resource to help users access insurance and gain points on food stamps. The startup has partnered Hygeia HMO to underwrite the insurance risk, and supermarkets to secure food stamps. 

Members access care either by paying for a plan or by delivering recyclable materials such as bottles, glass and plastics bags worth an equivalent to US$1 monthly to Soso Care’s partner agents, who sells the collected waste to recycling companies as raw materials. The money generated from this is converted into health funds to finance premiums.

“Nigeria generates over 34 million tonnes of waste yearly and about 20 billion PET bottles which causes poor sanitation and poor healthcare, and is affecting the environment,” chief executive officer (CEO) Nonso Opurum told Disrupt Africa.

“We felt it would be wise to use a problem to create a sustainable solution, so we linked recycling to health insurance premiums and food stamps. By so doing we use one stone to kill two birds.”

The self-funded company is looking for investment to help it scale, but has already piloted across four cities on the back of some grants funding.

“With little marketing budget and personal selling we have about 550 users in just the first month. I am confident we will exceed our benchmark of three million users next year,” said Opurum.

“We hope to raise money to scale fast so that we can move to bigger cities and states like Lagos. We plan expanding across Africa and Asia, mostly the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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