In December 2014, five people died and 200 homes were destroyed when a runaway fire gutted the Masiphumelele informal settlement in Cape Town. At the time, Cape Town entrepreneur David Gluckman had a friend, Francois Petousis, who had just completed a thesis on how to reduce blazes in informal settlements. The tragedy galvanised Gluckman and two partners into applying the thesis in real life. They formed a company called Lumkani and piloted new fire detection devices as the destitute families rebuilt their homes. Lumkani has now distributed more than 40,000 of these devices to owners of informal and formal structures in townships countrywide. What started as a pilot project has now turned into an insurance company offering fire and funeral cover. Lumkani is no ordinary insurer. It has squarely targeted segments of the market that traditional insurers shy away from. Fires are common in informal settlements and insuring against that hazard does not seem like a sustainable idea....

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