MercadoLibre's fintech unit offers life insurance in Brazil

SAO PAULO, June 23 (Reuters) - Argentine e-commerce company MercadoLibre MELI.O said on Thursday it has started offering life insurance in Brazil as part of revamped efforts to monetize its 36 million-strong user base via its fast-growing fintech unit, Mercado Pago.

The life insurance range, costing 9.90 reais to 73.0 reais ($1.91 to $14.05) a month, is the latest addition to Mercado Pago's growing shelf of financial services.

Customers can choose to add telehealth services, dental emergencies, hospital coverage, and even funeral expenses to their plans, the head of insurance at Mercado Pago in Brazil, Michelle Brito, told Reuters.

Mercado Pago, which accounted for 45% of MercadoLibre's revenues in Brazil in the first quarter this year, will also launch personal accident insurance in about two months, Brito said. The initial focus will be on those working outside, such as couriers.

Mercado Pago, which emerged as a digital wallet in 2020, initially entered insurance by selling extended warranties for electronics and cell phones. Last year, it started offering Brazil's Pix payment system theft protection.

Mercado Pago said it has already sold more than 1 million policies across these two products.

Vice president, Tulio Oliveira, said he had "high expectations" for the new life insurance line, citing the digital platform's ability to distribute at low cost in a market with a very low penetration.

The policy has been designed in partnership with insurance company Prudential PRU.N and the Klimber digital insurance platform.

($1 = 5.1945 reais)

(Reporting by Aluísio Alves, Writing by Carolina Pulice, Editing by Richard Pullin)


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