Direct Line Group in the UK has acquired Brolly, a digital insurance app that allows the user to add cover for personal possessions no matter where in the world they take them. The transaction is expected to formally close during the third quarter of 2020.
The team behind Brolly will merge with Direct Line Group. Brolly CEO Phoebe Hugh commented: “I’m thrilled to be taking the next step in this journey that will allow myself and my team to scale the technology and products to a much bigger audience. We are excited to continue to build beautiful and personalised products to simplify insurance within Direct Line Group, one of the UK’s most innovative large insurers.”
Brolly Contents, which allows customers to insure up to £40,000 worth of belongings, and includes a promised loyalty discount of up to 25 per cent (which increases each month that a customer remains with Brolly without making a claim), is to be discontinued per an individual customer’s cover end date following the transaction.
Over in Hong Kong, insurtech venture YAS Digital Limited (YDL) has unveiled a microinsurance marketplace called YAS – a digital ecosystem combining 5G, AI, blockchain, data analytics and open API that functions like an app store, offering a diverse range of products for B2B and B2C customers. What’s more, the YAS GPS Automated Insurance will provide seamless protection to customers when they are on the move. And, with the introduction of 5G technology, it also allows customers to access telehealth services, including instant access to a virtual assistant during emergencies, or real-time video streaming to a doctor from their home country while travelling.
“YAS is a perfect blend of technological innovation, digital capabilities, and customer-centric experience; it fosters to build a community with utility, loyalty, and experience to protect people through lifestyle,” said Andy Ann and William Lee, Cofounders of YDL. “What’s more, it also forms a powerful transformative insurtech business model and ecosystem, leading the evolution of the global insurance market, and reshaping the insurance industry for the next generation. YAS revolutionises the next generation of consumer experience and behaviour through empowerment, quality interaction, and engagement.”
In Africa, Baloon – an insurtech brokerage that plans to develop digital insurance in West Africa – has raised US$2.1 million in funding, and expects to raise around $3.5 million by the end of the year – financing that will allow Baloon to expand its offering in Cameroon, Gabon and Niger.
Currently, Baloon operates in the likes of the Ivory Coast and Senegal, with its recently launched health insurance offering. Founder Bertrand Vialle explained that launching in a new country means investing between €400,000 ($468,392) and €600,000 ($702,588), therefore, he is consolidating his existing strategy before potentially launching into more mature, and already digital, markets, like Kenya.
In addition, discussions are underway to introduce new lines of business such as life, provident insurance, travel and housing, and the business has future scope to expand into Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali.
And, over in India, Policybazaar, an online insurance platform offering travel insurance (among other products), is steadying itself for a $500 million initial public offering (IPO) following a surge in demand for insurance coverage among India’s middle class.
According to the Financial Express, industry leaders said the sales of term plans had increased by around 30 to 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2020-21 as compared to 2019-20 (a trend that it said could be attributed largely to the spread of Covid-19). The firm also cited that premiums of term policies have risen by 20 to 40 per cent since April this year - and policyholders continue to buy them to protect themselves from unforeseen events.
With the Indian Government advocating for enhanced health and other insurance policies, Policybazaar’s IPO start date or September 2021 will likely come at an opportune time. In fact, Co-Founder Yashish Dahiya asserted that it could well value the startup at $3.5 billion.
Phase one of the ramp up will see Policybazaar looking to raise a further $250 million from investors, which include Softbank group’s Vision Fund, Tencent Holdings and Tiger Capital Management, as well as sourcing two or three lead underwriters for the IPO.
Digital insurance offerings are emerging thick and fast, both in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with the ongoing market trends. Investments in these, at a company level, and via engaged customers empowered to purchase enhances policies, will drive further market development and economic progress in these regions.