Insurtech in India with Mr. Varun Dua
In this conversation with Mr. Varun Dua, CEO and MD at ACKO General Insurance, he discusses his journey in Insurtech in India. ACKO is the pioneer of digital-native general insurance in India. ACKO has unlocked many opportunities in unexplored India’s insurance sector.
The key highlights of the discussion are:
Addressing the gap
According to Mr. Dua, even digitally-native consumers currently lack experience in the financial services area. It is this gap that Acko is trying to bridge in the insurtech sector.
At present, the traditional models include heavy expenses on commissions, distribution, branch operation, etc. So, ACKO has chosen to “manufacture the product” from scratch. This helped in achieving cost efficiency, instead of focussing only on insurance distribution. The resulting savings makes Acko less inclined to cut on claims. This builds trust in the system.
Customer Acquisition and Partnerships
New investors like Accel, Munich Re, Amazon, and Binny Bansal have come on board. They agree with the patient direct-to-consumer approach adopted by ACKO. According to Mr. Dua, building scale and adding distributors is easy. However, the company’s thesis is to build a direct relationship with the consumer for long-term success. Acko’s partnerships and collaborations with other online platforms like Ola, Redbus, and GoIbibo are driven by the goal of meeting customers where they are. This allows them to best serve the digitally native consumer market by offering insurance at the point of purchase of related products.
Effect of lockdown on Insurtech
The lockdown was a complex time. Car insurance purchases fell sharply. However, Mr. Dua explained, the number of online insurance buyers is now far greater than pre-March figures. The pandemic has accelerated people coming online. Therefore, in spite of the lockdown being a dampener in the short-run, medium-term, and long-term prospects are looking very good.
5. Future growth plans
Going forward, auto insurance will continue to be Acko’s flagship product. For larger products like auto and health, Acko focuses on offering meaningful experiences and, in addition, offers smaller coverages that solve customers’ daily lives.
6. ACKO’s social media initiatives –
In the form of outreach initiatives like “Parked Cars” and #BlindDate social campaign, Acko has tried to engage with customers meaningfully, through topics relevant to them. This is an effort to bust the myth of insurance being “boring” and break the classic mold of “preachy” insurance advertising.
Finally, Mr. Dua shares that his entrepreneurial journey has taught him that everything that matters takes double the time expected. For success, one has to be in it for the long haul.