First Mutual Life clients in limbo


FIRST MUTUAL LIFE has abandoned plans to compensate policy holders who had subscribed to the now defunct life assurance cover scheme, Ecolife.


The company which introduced a new mobile-based funeral assurance product in Bulawayo last Friday, said Ecolife policies had lapsed and could not be compensated after Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which was supposed to pay the premiums, stopped doing so.

Econet Wireless entered into a partnership with First Mutual Life and Namibia-based Trust Co in 2010 to give life
assurance services to Econet subscribers, but this was terminated last year, leaving a million policy holders stuck.

Last year First Mutual had submitted a proposal to the Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) to compensate stranded Ecolife policy holder.

But in new twist to events, the plan has been abandoned and First Mutual Life officials say Econet which was supposed to pay the premiums, said it was no longer interested in the deal.

“The Ecolife assurance cover has lapsed without benefit,” Colleta Simbanegavi, individual life and funeral business executive, said.

“We are launching a new product which is separate from Ecolife, e-FML, and is wholly owned by First Mutual and the technical partner is locally-based and we have full control,” she added.

Econet was not immediately available for comment.

First Mutual, however, said unlike Ecolife which had Econet as its partner, e-FML is a funeral cover product that includes all the three mobile telecommunications companies in the country Telecel, Econet and NetOne.

The product pays cash benefit in the event of death of a life covered and allows any mobile phone subscriber to register for the product and to pay monthly premiums over the mobile phone using the sms platform.

E-FML cover is sold at $0,80 cents through mobile phone starter packs and will provide a $500 cover valid for one calendar month.

The company said, the product allows customers to pay premiums that can cover up to $3 000 and customers would be expected to pay monthly premiums in line with their desired level of cover.