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Digisafe Broking: India’s local broker for rural insurance

Digisafe aims to bridge the glaring gap in insurance penetration between urban and rural areas with curated products that span motor, health, livestock, crop and life insurance

(L-R) Digisafe co-founders Ashwin Arora, Anupam Shrey, Rajat Dhar, Suman Roy Choudhury and Mallikarjun Kukunuri
(L-R) Digisafe co-founders Ashwin Arora, Anupam Shrey, Rajat Dhar, Suman Roy Choudhury and Mallikarjun Kukunuri

Pune-based Digisafe Broking, a bootstrapped local digital insurtech startup, focuses on securing rural India by reducing risks and enabling phygital solutions through a variety of insurance products. It offers simplified and affordable products that span across the motor, health, livestock, crop and life insurance for people living in the rural areas, at their doorsteps. According to Anupam Shrey, co-founder at DigiSafe, insurance penetration (premiums as a percentage of gross domestic product) stood at 3.76% in India, in FY20 compared to 3.7% in the year-ago period. “These numbers are estimated to be half the national average in rural India and it throws light on how underinsured these areas would be,” says Shrey.

Besides Shrey, the other co-founders are Suman Roychoudhury, Mallikharjun Kukunari, Rajat Dhar and Ashwin Arora. “We concluded our observational analysis in a localised survey under the Flagship Agriculture Insurance Scheme, PMFBY. The rural insurance penetration is very low as there are 833 million people in rural areas (only 3% insured). As per the insurance perspective, two-wheeler is the vehicle of choice for most Indians and health insurance is no more an urban phenomenon after the pandemic. But there is no simple and affordable product for rural India,” says Shrey.

The rural economy is majorly dependent on agriculture, which is subject to vagaries of the weather. However, only a few major crops are covered under PMFBY. Says Roychoudhury, “We understand how farmers need small ticket-sized products with low-margin premiums. We are bringing simplified and affordable products that span across motor, health, livestock, crop and life insurance for rural people at their doorsteps. Such features will penetrate deeper into the rural markets and a pull structure will help farmers reduce risks and get increased revenue.”

Digisafe started operations in September 2021, and has successfully launched DigiOne, a partnership programme in association with its channel partners that identify, train and develop a team of certified point-of-sale persons (PoSPs) for insurance distribution through a combination of physical and digital modes. This model will assist clients with pre-sales, post-sales, and claim services. “We are working towards extending this service to Tier 2 and Tier 3 semi-urban markets very soon. We on-boarded 100 agents on the first day itself and recently opened our first office in Pune. We had our focus on ‘one village, one entity’, and we have started providing insurance cover to each and every household of the village with our 1 Gram Insurance concept,” says Shrey, adding, “We are distributing this through phygital model. Our vision here lines up with that of Irdai where the idea is of adopting villages and ensuring 100% insurance to all in that village.”

Digisafe has already tied up with more than 10 insurance companies and also partnered with reputed startups such as Aquaconnect, Niruthi Technology and Ecosystem, Wingsure Inc., for co-creating insurance solutions for rural India. Going forward, it will soon introduce an app called Mera Assistant to help rural dwellers as their decision support system by gathering information from the field, community, and agricultural data. The app will provide a predictive analysis insurance dashboard that will keep the users updated with the weather, crop advisory, and government initiatives. It will also aid them with mitigating their risks and focusing more on revenue generation.

“We are on our way to becoming a complete support ecosystem for rural Indians by ensuring a high-speed claim assistance and end-to-end solutions at their doorstep, and aim to be the most trusted brand for the rural community,” says Roychoudhury. “Our practices are in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of Vocal for Local and we hope to create a measurable impact across all pincodes in the next two years by on-boarding 10,000 PoSPs and serving over 10 million farmers.”

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