INTERVIEW: InsuranceDekho raises its maiden $20 million from parent co – plans to expand to its reach in the ‘real Bharat’

INTERVIEW: InsuranceDekho raises its maiden $20 million from parent co – plans to expand to its reach in the ‘real Bharat’
InsuranceDekho
  • Insurtech startup InsuranceDekho has got $20 million from its parent company GirnarSoft.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Ankit Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder, InsuranceDekho shared the expansion plans of the startup.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic came as a boon for the insurance industry bringing in more awareness and insurance takers.
Insurtech startup InsuranceDekho has got $20 million from its parent company GirnarSoft, which has other properties such as CarDekho.com, Zigwheels.com, and gaadi.com.

This is the first funding for the three-year-old startup InsuranceDekho, which now plans to expand its reach in India. In an interview with Business Insider, Ankit Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder, InsuranceDekho shared the expansion plans of the startup.
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Agarwal said that so far, they have been ‘frugal’ about the business and wanted to go for funding at the right time – whether it was raising capital or turning to GirnarSoft for money. “Now I think, the fundamentals of the business are in place, we have got a strong distribution channel, our feet are on the street. So, we realised that we have to scale from here, we will need funding,” he said.

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The $20 million cheque will be used for three primary reasons – strengthen their tech team, deepen their distribution into the ‘real Bharat’ by bumping up their team presence from 30 to 100 cities and build a strong consumer focussed brand along with marketing spends.

How COVID worked as a boon for the Insurance industry

For the otherwise underpenetrated insurance industry in India, the COVID-19 pandemic meant a busy time for business. With the introduction of policies such as Corona Rakshak and Corona Kavach, which were approved by the insurance regulator, Insurance and Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the numbers were steadily rising.

According to IRDAI data, over 15 lakh people have been covered under both the policies as of August end.
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“What COVID has done for insurance distribution particularly in the health and life side, I don’t think any amount of government spending or marketing would have done. People are more aware about having insurance and want to get insured. This is going to stay,” said Agarwal.

However, it also meant auto insurance was falling. “COVID was not good for motor insurance as people stayed home and didn’t renew their policies. But now with lockdown opening up and commercial movement being allowed, people are once again renewing policies and we have started seeing an uptick,” he said.

The ‘Bharat’ approach
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Almost every other tech company is now eyeing the next 200 million internet users of India or as it is called ‘Bharat’. And insurance is not an industry to shy away from it. InsuranceDekho too has been working on a specific ‘Bharat’ model, that has helped them get more users from smaller cities.

“We have an advisory-led model, we don’t push the product to the consumer, we understand the need, existing insurance policy and how we can expand their coverage. We realised that in smaller cities you’ll have to go with an assistance model. So, we have had a strong focus on advising instead of pushing policies down their throat,” said Agarwal.

This helped the company grow three times during the last financial year, said Agarwal, without sharing specific revenue details. With business back to usual, they are on track to close March 2021 at an annualized run rate of 36 lakh policies, up from the 20 lakh policies in the last financial year, he added.
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The startup had earlier said that it plans to onboard 1 lakh agents from across the country and is targeting ₹1,200 crore new premium from the current financial year.

But InsuranceDekho also has to brace itself for competition from the likes of Policybazaar, Bankbazaar, Acko and more. While acknowledging the competition, Agarwal said that the market opportunity in India is huge and has enough space for all players. “If you club general and life, the insurance industry in India is worth $15-20 billion. When the market is that huge, competition is not an issue. But yes, there will be a race for the top position and that depends on your technological prowess,” he said.

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