The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of financial technology not just in metropolitan areas and Tier-I cities, but also in the remote corners of India. This has changed the way business is conducted in the insurance space.
On-field agents who would help people cherry-pick an insurance policy befitting their budgets and needs are now increasingly being replaced by online marketplaces that use tech to mimic in-person sign-ups. As a result, insurance providers are now competing with each other to offer a better user experience, leading to a rise in product-tech startups specialising in insurance-platform building.
One such company is Ensuredit, founded in 2019 by former Motorola executive Amit Boni, Rohit Sadhu who has worked with EY and PwC, and Vikas Ranga, an IIT-Roorkee graduate who previously led AI/ML labs at MapmyIndia.
Based in Bengaluru, Ensuredit helps insurance companies improve online customer experiences by building thoughtful artificial intelligence into a platform’s technological skeleton.
Screenshot of Ensuredit platform
It bridges the information and data gap that props up during the insurance lifecycle — between insurers, agents, brokers, fintech firms, hospital networks (in the case of health insurance), and customers.
Essentially, the startup helps all those involved in underwriting and paying out an insurance policy — the insurance agent, the insurance firm, the hospital where the policyholder may have been admitted, to the end-user, i.e., the customer — communicate with each other seamlessly by enabling greater access to information.
This is particularly pertinent today as insurance agencies and their networks still tend to work in silos despite there being several participants involved in the servicing of insurance policies.
“The Indian insurance industry is a tale of an inefficient value chain with analogue processes and digital band-aids. It’s a cycle of high fixed costs, DIY, limited distribution reach, and adverse selection, which ultimately leads to inefficient distribution, highly-priced products, high risk, trust deficit, and severe underwriting losses, that ultimately lead to unsurance,” Amit, Co-founder and CEO, tells YourStory.
“Ensuredit is the bridge that closes the digital divide — in distribution, product fit, and claims management,” he adds.
The startup’s primary customers include insurers, insurance distribution networks, financial services, and fintech companies building insurtech platforms. Since its inception, the startup claims to have seen double-digit growth in its user base, and is currently evaluating an overseas expansion, having received “strong interest” from Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.
How it works
To start with,Ensuredit decided to tackle the insurance distribution network first to cut down on redundancies and enable better servicing of insurance policies.
It created a single, standardised platform that could be used by insurance agents and distributors, aiming to help bring clarity, efficiency, cost savings, and ensure scalability in sale of insurance products. The platform uses IoT interventions to co-create on-demand products and automate claims, and sophisticated software to evaluate losses and deter fraud.
Ensuredit’s product zooms in on three core areas that help insurance incumbents and intermediaries to provide a better customer experience:
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Helps insurance companies digitise sales, distribution, offer payment solutions, expand, and generate new sales channels.
- Insurance as a Service (IaaS): A plug-and-play solution that helps digital insurance distributors set up their platforms quickly.
- AI Models: Provides an array of functions especially for healthtech and fintech insurance firms, including document extraction, competitor analysis, and data from 650 villages in India that includes census data to help insurtech companies tap more customers.
These three focus areas not only make it easier for insurers to provide their customers with an integrated insurance ecosystem, but also helps sellers make more targeted sales decisions, thereby streamlining the entire insurance process.
The startup’s revenue model is success fee-based, and also provides options to insurers to move to a “pay-as-you-go” model, or API metering, where customers (in this case, insurance incumbents, fintech firms and banks that use Ensuredit’s products) are charged on the basis of their consumption.
“Our goal is to scale our technology offerings and be the underlying infrastructure layer that caters to an extensive distribution channel, curates bespoke products, and enables technology-led intervention on claims and fraud,” Amit says.
So far, the startup has raised $900,000 from investors including LogX Ventures, Venture Capitalists Groups (VCats), 9Unicorns and a few angel investors. Amit adds Ensuredit is in advanced discussions with VC firms currently to raise its next round within a few months.
Similar players include companies such as Mantra Labs, Artivatic and BRIDGEi2i. According to InvestIndia, the Indian insurance market could be worth $250 billion by 2025.
With regulators pushing hard for digitisation, insurance coming into focus because of the ongoing pandemic, and tailored products where investments start for as low as Rs 20, the insurance market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3 percent between 2019 and 2023, according to IBEF.
As life insurance and non-life insurance both show strong growth, insurtech companies, as well as insurance incumbents that provide superior user experience stand to capitalise on the increasing demand.