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New water loss insurance launched to protect consumers

07 September 2015 Larry Symington, MyWater
Larry Symington, CEO of MyWater.

Larry Symington, CEO of MyWater.

Unexpected water loss has a negative impact on both the consumer and the council that supplies it. An unknown leak in a pipe could easily see a consumer receiving a massive bill at the end of the month, one which they will probably dispute. This means that the council is unlikely to receive payment for this water anytime soon, and thus both parties end up losing out.

What is required is something to bridge this gap, some form of insurance that covers the consumer for unexpected water loss while at the same time ensuring the council receives payment for the water it has delivered. Thanks to MyWater Insured, a solution powered by Innovation Group, who understand risk ,consumers can now obtain cover of up to R3 000 for water loss.

Larry Symington, CEO of MyWater, explains that water loss insurance is not without precedent, pointing to a scheme in eThekwini where some 260 000 residents subscribe to such a solution.

“MyWater has teamed up with LSG Insurance a niche financial services provider to build on this idea, offering not only the MyWater Insured product, but also MyWater Legal Assist. This provides customers with the security of knowing that they will be able to obtain legal advice in the event of municipal billing misunderstandings,” he says.

“The way the solution works is quite simple. Consumers can obtain these products starting at R96 per annum, and can be free of surprise accounts, provided they make use of the latest "new generation water meter". When purchasing these products, MyWater will assist consumers to obtain such a meter upgrade from the municipality where the upgrade will be at no extra cost to consumers on "proof of Policy". Once again, the new meters offer twofold benefits. It provides memory and a viewing window for consumers to self-manage their actual usage, enabling them to constantly keep an eye on their consumption during the current month.”

Furthermore, adds Symington, these meters benefit the municipality too, as consumers are expected to SMS the previous month’s closing balance to a short code provided by the company. These readings are then forwarded on to the municipality also for free, reducing the need to rely solely on meter readers helping to eliminate the potential for human error. It's a win, win for all, consumers get to detect leaks early while acknowledging their debt to the municipalities thereby taking out those nasty surprises.

“MyWater is a leading technology developer that considers that part of its responsibility is to share knowledge and experience with municipal officials and it's on the back of this that we are embarking on a nationwide road show campaign. We understand the importance of driving towards true Smart Cities, and feel that helping consumers and municipalities gain more control over water use is a great way to get the ball rolling. Moreover, our products are 100% locally developed and produced by people who truly understand our diverse economy.”

Moreover, continues Symington, President Jacob Zuma recently announced a government ‘war on leaks’ programme, explaining that water leaks account for nearly 40% of the nation’s water loss and costs the country some R7 billion a year. He says that with this in mind, the country, the municipalities and the consumers need all the tools they can get to help overcome this challenge. New meter technology, cell phone technology, coupled with consumers early participation and insurance as a backup for the unforeseen can only play a major role in winning this war.

“In the end, our goal is to bridge the divide between the consumer and the municipality, while laying the foundation for a Smart City. It is our contention that people make for smart cities and not technology in isolation and that every South African should know the value of water, everyone should make a contribution to water savings. Furthermore, the transparent communication platform can feed information to the Credit Providers for those consumers who regularly pay their water accounts helping citizens to improve their credit ratings, thereby turning water, a basic right and water management, a basic responsibility into a genuine wealth creator,” cost effective loans to more credit worthy citizens can only help the economy grow he concludes.

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