Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

In its latest push to diversify beyond insurance, Outsurance has hired a team of digital financial services experts from TYME, the mobile payment provider that was behind MTN Mobile Money and which recently obtained a provisional banking licence.

Outsurance had hired "the entire IT team that built TYME’s core banking platform", said a person familiar with the matter.

TYME confirmed that five people had left the company.

However, Outsurance CEO Willem Roos said the insurer had no "firm plans" to enter the banking space in the short to medium term.

"Our new team members have broad skills in the digital financial service area. We are excited [to have] bolstered our team," he said.

Roos declined to comment on what the TYME hires would be doing at Outsurance or whether they would be working on its robo-advice platform, from which it planned to sell investment products.

Outsurance, majority-owned by Rand Merchant Investment Holdings, has more than 700,000 policyholders in SA. It pioneered the direct insurance model in 1998 in an industry then dominated by intermediated insurers and is now SA’s fourth-largest short-term insurer by gross written premium (GWP) income, according to KPMG’s latest insurance industry survey.

Outsurance posted GWP income of R14.8bn for the year to June 2016, half of which came from operations in Australia and New Zealand, where it operates under the brand, Youi.

A spokesperson for TYME (Take Your Money Everywhere) said the company continued
to work towards obtaining a bank licence.

It now had 250 employees – up from 60 when Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) acquired it in January 2015, the spokesperson said.

TYME has appointed Sandile Shabalala as CEO. Shabalala was the former managing executive of business banking at Nedbank and resigned with immediate effect in September 2016 after a 20-year career at the bank.

He was regarded a possible successor to Ingrid Johnson, who left her position as Nedbank’s head of retail and business banking in 2014 to take up the post of group finance director at parent, Old Mutual.

Johnson’s role was given to chief risk officer Philip Wessels, who then handed it to Ciko Thomas, former head of consumer banking at Nedbank, on his retirement in March 2016.

TYME said it had more than 95,000 customers registered on Money Transfer, a remittance product it launched in partnership with Pick n Pay last year.

Its new parent, CBA, which posted after-tax profits of $7bn for the year to June 2016, has a market capitalisation nearly double that of SA’s top five retail banks combined.

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