WhatsApp & Insurance
WhatsApp is set to enter insurance distribution in India in partnership with SBI General Insurance; what's next?
Hey folks! Apologies for going AWOL for the last 5 weeks. Since we launched BimaPe (the InsurTech I’ve co-founded), I’ve been swarmed with customer support tickets, UX calls and a whole lot more!
In today’s short piece, I want to touch upon WhatsApp x Insurance in India -
How do Indian insurance companies use WhatsApp?
What is the latest news?
Bonus: How does BimaPe use WhatsApp for Insurance?
WhatsApp is already leveraged quite extensively by Indian insurance companies!
Yes, for context - one of my family’s staff members has a two-wheeler insured by Bharti AXA - they launched their WhatsApp support in February 2020.
To give some context on what the UX looks like, I’ve attached some screenshots below
A (non-exhaustive) list of Indian insurance companies that offer WhatsApp based services (such as issuance of policy documents; collection of motor insurance claims documents and customer support):
Bharti AXA General
Bajaj Allianz General
Aditya Birla Health
ICICI Prudential Life
What is going on?
During COVID-19 the ability for people to get immediate and targeted health and life insurance can protect families’ financial security from emergency expenses. We hope that these projects will make it much easier for micro-pensions & health insurance to be scaled hopefully to every Indian regardless of location & income. - Facebook Fuel for India 2020
On 16.12, WhatsApp India confirmed that it will begin distributing health insurance products underwritten by SBI General Insurance.  In addition, WhatsApp will be distributing pension products underwritten by HDFC pension arm.
For those of you who closely track Indian Tech, WhatsApp has:
Cart by WhatsApp on 09.12.2020 - an embedded shopping cart to facilitate e-commerce transactions in-app.
Got permission to expand the WhatsApp Pay beta to 20M users in November 2020.
My mental model here is:
Digital insurance is a vertical under e-commerce.
Think of WhatsApp x Insurance as part of its broader push in embedded commerce on the platform.
In the future, Whatsapp’s Cart feature may let you purchase several insurance products at one go - using Aadhaar based e-KYC and WhatsApp Pay for payments
WhatsApp is a purpose-built tool for insurance distribution in India
Since WhatsApp has ~200M+ DAU in India, offering insurance on the platform means that the app is potentially on the customer & their family’s homescreen (and, they’re checking the app multiple times per day). You need to go where your customer is - support tickets & claims on WhatsApp is a superior experience to phone-calls or downloading the insurer’s app.
Insurance policies can be easily stored on WhatsApp - send it to your family and the PDF is now saved to everyone’s WhatsApp. Better still, WhatsApp backs up your PDFs - have you ever lost your phone and been able to recover all those pictures shared by your friends?
I would love to expand more on why WhatsApp is the purpose-built tool for insurance distribution in India but I cannot do so because of what we’re doing at BimaPe - apologies for this.
Beyond insurance distribution
WhatsApp isn’t just great for distribution, it is also great for awareness. BimaPe has been running experiments on building a WhatsApp community around insurance awareness (now at ~1,500+ subscribers)
Insurance is a low engagement product and customers are unwilling to download an application for insurance. WhatsApp may just be the platform for InsurTechs start-ups to build on.
You can get a rough feel of our WhatsApp playbook by
Think of WhatsApp as a community management platform which happens to have in-app tools for document storage, payments, 1-1 chat support, live-location and much more!
This wraps up WhatsApp & Insurance in India; I’ll move to some international InsurTech topics!
Let’s take a short break - if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to InsurTech Tribe here:
Early stage InsurTech funding - great to see 4 Indian InsurTechs raise a round in December!
Late stage InsurTech funding - IPO bonanza?
Metromile is going public! This is the 2nd time Chamath (former Facebook exec & Founder of Social Capital) is taking an InsurTech public via his SPACs - Clover Health was first!
(PS - Metromile seemed to have misrepresented Root Insurance’s churn statistics in their pre-IPO documents!)
WhatsApp presents an exciting opportunity to build consumer-friendly digital insurance products in India. Both personally (as a customer) and professionally (via BimaPe), I am very excited to see how this pans out.
That’s all from me folks! I look forward to your thoughts, comments & feedback. As always, please feel free to reach out to me @Rahul_J_Mathur.
If you find this interesting, please do consider sharing it forward:
Views expressed herein are the authors own and do not represent those of BimaPe Inc, its management, shareholders or customers. Contents here are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or any other form of advice.
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We’re building on the India Stack (Account Aggregator, National Health Stack and UPI 2.0) to deliver a consumer-friendly digital insurance product. And yes, we do use WhatsApp too :-)