South African insurance company Metropolitan Life has introduced a new 'just in case you get run over by a taxi' six-day insurance policy, payable via mobile phone. Apparently roads in South Africa are so lethal that it is advisable to take out a mini-insurance policy every time you travel, just in case you get squashed on your way to work.

The service costs around R10 (72p), which is deducted from the phone's airtime and provides instant life insurance for six days.

Customers who accidentally die whilst covered by the policy can expect Metropolitan Life to payout R60,000 (£4,300) to their families.

"Every day, a large majority of South Africans have to board minibus taxis, many of which are notoriously unsafe. For people travelling over the most dangerous periods such as the Easter weekend, the risk to the wellbeing of their families is very real - 276 people died this past Easter holiday," says Derek Pead, CEO of Cover2go, a division of Metropolitan Life.

Scaremongering?

"Unfortunately, the common perception is that life assurance is a luxury that's unaffordable and complicated to obtain. With Cover2go, people can get basic cover instantly, at very affordable prices, when they need it most."

Customers purchase the policy by sending their name and identity code to a premium-rate number. The system replies with a confirmation and policy number. It requests the name of a beneficiary and reminds the policyholder to inform an associate about the life insurance. The system is powered by Clickatell.

One policy is permitted per person and a renewal notification is sent on expiry.

You have to wonder if there's just a bit of scaremongering going on here. After all, Met Life wouldn't be running this scheme if it didn't stand to make a good profit out of it.