By Adedapo Adesanya
ETAP, an insurtech startup that makes it easy to buy and claim insurance, says it has secured $1.5 million in pre-seed funding to drive the adoption of car insurance across Africa.
The pre-seed funding round was led by Mobility 54 (the Venture Capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group), with participation from Tangerine Insurance, Graph Ventures (invested in Clubhouse), Newmont, and other angel investors.
According to its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ibraheem Babalola, the new funding will support the roll-out of ETAP’s game-changing app which allows drivers to buy insurance in 90 seconds, complete claims in three minutes or less and get rewarded for good driving and avoiding accidents.
Mr Babalola said that working with a wide range of automotive value chain players, ETAP would also explore other opportunities to deliver much-needed car insurance services to owners in other countries across the continent.
“In spite of the longstanding regulation, making car insurance compulsory, more than 100,000 car accidents were reported between January 2019 and December 2021, only one in five cars in Nigeria are currently insured.
“The complexities of buying and claiming insurance has led to widespread apathy for traditional insurance companies and products, with many car owners opting to go without insurance.
“With ETAP, the entire process of buying and claiming insurance happens exclusively on a smartphone, enabling a seamless and enjoyable insurance experience for users,” he said.
He said that ETAP uses machine learning to build intelligent risk profiles that determine appropriate premiums for each driver, allowing them to achieve lower premiums by driving safely.
“Using advanced telematics, the experience is gamified to improve driving behaviour and drivers can earn safe driving points that can be exchanged for shopping vouchers for the most in-demand retail outlets, fuel, cinema and concert tickets among others,” he said.
Mr Babalola said that drivers would have flexible coverage options, including daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual plans depending on their needs.
“In the unfortunate event of an accident, they simply need to take a picture of the affected part of the car via the app and the artificial intelligence processes they claim based on previously uploaded images,” he said.
Mr Babalola said that the app came with geolocation tags, timestamps and other features to prevent fraudulent claims, as well as crash notification, emergency support and more.
“Since we launched in November 2021, ETAP has insured more than 130,000 individual trips and over 500,000 kilometres in car journeys, which represents more than eight times the total distance of paved roads in Nigeria.
“Just like any other digital service, we believe Nigerians should be able to buy and claim car insurance without having to ‘call a guy’.
“We also believe that rewarding good drivers can be a catalyst for better driving and making our roads safer.
“This is why we have created Africa’s most powerful car insurance app and we are excited to have raised these funds to bring more users on board,” Babalola said.
He said that many times, the process of buying and claiming insurance in Africa is so out of touch with the everyday reality of most people.
Mr Babalola said that ETAP would change the game and make the process just as enjoyable as any other experience that consumers access on the mobile phone.
On the part of the lead funder, Project Manager at Mobility 54, Mr Yumi Takagi, said, “ETAP is addressing many challenges that impact the automotive experience in Africa and we are excited to support and work with them to bring their innovation to more drivers across the continent.”
Mr Takagi said that he believed ETAP would engage with this important role and revolutionise the automotive insurance industry with its powerful technology.
Abuja-Kaduna Train Service to Resume Operations Monday
By Adedapo Adesanya
Almost a month after the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) announced the proposed resumption of the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train service, the facility will start running on Monday, December 5, 2022, with only two return services.
The announcement by the Managing Director of the NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, said the first train would depart Rigasa train station in Kaduna State to Abuja by 8:00 in the morning while from Abuja, the first train will depart Idu train station to Kaduna State by 9:45 in the morning.
The NRC management also revealed that as part of the new security measures, it is now mandatory for passengers to present their National Identity Number (NIN) and valid boarding ticket before they will be allowed to board.
It also says the purchase of tickets by proxy is only limited to minors and a specified number of adult passengers.
It explained that online and mobile app ticketing would be available from 8:00 in the morning on Sunday, December 4, 2022, while the ticket offices at the train stations will open from 6:30 in the morning on Monday, December 5.
Recall that the NRC suspended the Abuja-Kaduna train service along the route after Boko Haram terrorists attacked a moving passenger train in Kaduna on March 28, 2022.
The insurgents had blown up the rail track and bombed the moving train, killing some and abducting more than 60 passengers. The unprecedented attack attracted international and national outrage.
The terrorists who attacked the Kaduna-bound train released hostages in tranches, with the last release coming on October 5, 2022.
Before the hostages were completely released, distraught family members had protested several times to demand the release of their loved ones.
SafeBoda Flees Nigerian Market Due to Harsh Economy
By Adedapo Adesanya
Ugandan bike-hailing startup, SafeBoda, has announced that it is exiting Nigeria.
After the Lagos State government banned ride-hailing services from the metropolis, the company forayed into Ibadan in December 2019 but began only operations in March 2020.
This March, the company announced that it had completed over 3 million rides, and 50,000 deliveries with over 10,000 riders and 100,000 passengers.
In just a little over one year since launch, the startup crossed the one million rides milestone, growing at an impressive 150 per cent month-on-month. In another 11 months, it tripled its traction to three million completed rides, cementing its dominant position in the region.
However, due to the reality facing the business now, the organisation wants to leave Africa’s largest economy to focus on bringing the company to profitability by deepening its core transportation offering in Uganda, its largest market.
In a statement, it said Nigeria “in its current state is not economically viable and unfortunately requires significant investment at this challenging time in the global economic landscape.”
This will make Nigeria the second market, but first in West Africa, it is exiting after it left Kenya in November 2020, less than two years after expanding its services to the east African country.
The firm said this was due to the negative effects of COVID-19 on its operations.
It is not clear the next step for its other businesses but in August 2022, SafeBoda announced a car-hailing service, SafeCar, in Kampala and one month after, it also launched in Ibadan, Nigeria.
It was reported that SafeBoda claims its car-hailing business has grown 40 per cent weekly since its launch in early September.
Bolt Promises to Improve Welfare of Drivers
**Gives Cars to Driver’s League Challenge Winners
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The popular ride-hailing platform, Bolt, has promised to improve the welfare and overall experience of its drivers through the introduction of initiatives that will reward their loyalty.
The Regional Manager for Bolt in West Africa, Ms Ireoluwa Obatoki, said this when the company rewarded two drivers on the app with brand new cars after they emerged winners of the Bolt Driver’s League Challenge.
“We congratulate the winners of this year’s challenge and appreciate their dedication and loyalty to Bolt and its riders. Bolt recognises and cherishes the essential role drivers have played in expanding our brand in Nigeria and ensuring the continued sustenance of our operations.
“Through our Driver’s League Challenge, we are building a community of drivers dedicated to delivering the utmost service quality.
“We use this as an opportunity to celebrate their hard work and efforts throughout the year. We remain committed to the welfare of our drivers and promise to continue introducing initiatives that will improve their overall experience,” she said.
The scheme was established by the leading mobility platform in 2020 in recognition and appreciation for service excellence. It celebrates top-performing drivers on the platform.
In addition, it showcases Bolt’s commitment to advancing and easing mobility in Nigeria while supporting drivers with extra earning opportunities.
This year’s edition was the third and was held for eight weeks. Drivers in Nigeria were rewarded with prizes worth about N20 million, including brand-new cars and various home appliances.
The 2022 Bolt Driver’s League competition was divided into the Premier League and Championship League, which catered to existing drivers on the platform, and the Rookie League, dedicated to new drivers.
Drivers were evaluated by unique criteria, including finished trips, online hours and maintaining a high driver score at the end of the eight-week campaign.
Eligible participants were given goals in the form of rides finished and ratings by riders to qualify to win tokens towards the prizes.
Drivers who had accumulated enough tokens were entered into a raffle draw which determined the winners. The challenge recorded outstanding participation nationwide and saw Mr Ajibade Ademola from Lagos and Mr Kazeem Shehu from Abuja victorious in their respective categories.
Expressing his excitement at winning the Premier League and being awarded as the Overall Top Driver in Lagos, Mr Ademola thanked Bolt for the initiative.
“When I got the call that I had won, I was so happy that I shouted and called my family to celebrate. I thank Bolt from the bottom of my heart; only God can reward them for this. This is the first time in my life I have been the owner of a brand-new car, so I am very grateful. My birthday is in four days, so this is the best gift I could receive from anyone,” he enthused.
On his part, Mr Shehu, who triumphed in the Championship League, also thanked Bolt for the reward.
“My vision in life has always been to become a transporter and open a company of such. I want to help others as Bolt helped me, who just joined their platform four months ago.
“This win has proved that destiny can only be delayed but not denied. My appreciation to Bolt is not just because of the car, but because Bolt has allowed me to be my own boss,” he said.
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