The founder of the insurance company talks about reimagining products and restructuring processes to provide simple and transparent insurance solutions that matter to consumers
Kamesh Goyal, Founder, Digit Insurance
Founded in December 2017, Digit Insurance has a straightforward aim of making insurance simple. Spotting the biggest need gap in the insurance sector – complexity of instruments leading to mistrust amongst customers – the company aims to make insurance easy enough for a 15-year-old to understand. In a talk with Forbes India, founder Kamesh Goyal takes us through the vital role technology plays to enable their entire ecosystem and streamline processes, running a paperless insurance firm, and more. Edited Excerpts:
Q What was the core idea and vision behind setting up Digit Insurance?
When Digit’s initial team got together, we were very bothered by just how much people mistrusted insurance instruments. We asked ourselves a question: ‘Why does this industry that should thrive on trust be so full of agony and discomfort?’ This introspection led to us Digit’s mission – ‘Make Insurance Simple’.
We started operations in December 2017. It has been nine months and we already service five lakh happy customers and have settled more than 5,000 claims so far. We have also tied up with 12 institutional partners, including e-tailers like Amazon India, Flipkart, mobile wallet provider PayTM, online ticket booking platform Cleartrip, and have a network of more than 1,500 strategic partners which includes agents and brokers.
Q What is the company’s competitive advantage? Why do you think you have a sustainable model?
Our mission to ‘Make insurance simple’, is our biggest differentiator and advantage. It is what the customers have been crying hoarse for, to reduce complicated insurance for them. Every department and employee at Digit imbibes this in their daily work.
We have simplified our processes end-to-end – from documentation to claims. Our long policy terms & conditions is only two pages, compared to the longer ones other providers use. Smartphone-enabled claims process allows 87 percent claims to be approved in 24 hours.
For us, technology and simplification of processes is a win-win situation for both the consumer and the insurer, ensuring a sustainable business for us.
Q What are the main challenges you face?
Simplifying something like insurance is easier said than done. When we try to de-jargonise our policy terms and conditions, every word has to be reviewed, multiple discussions happen between the actuary, the marketing team, and the legal team to come up with the simplest possible version we can provide our customers.
When we tied up with Flipkart and Amazon India to provide an insurance cover option for mobile phones to customers, we also automated the activation process. This meant, the insurance cover is activated [without the need of an activation link] as soon as the phone was delivered. It caused some confusion with customers who were looking for an activation link – now that’s when things got so simple that it led to doubt.
Q What is unique about Digit Insurance? Can you give me some examples of your success stories?
Simplification across touch-points is our unique selling point. We have simplified our products, documentation, distribution and processes. We have also come up with some unique products. We launched India’s first 75-minute flight delay insurance cover compared to the industry average of six hours. We handed out our policy documents to 8-15 year olds; we were delighted to find 15 year olds could understand them. Our self-inspection policy shifts the control to the customers’ hands – removing the need for insurance personnel to check damage – and makes the assessment and claims process seamless. The smooth process has ensured customers don’t deem insurance claims a task and keep coming back to us.
Q Who do you count as your key investors?
We’re backed by Fairfax. We raised $45 million in the second round of funding Go Digit Infoworks Pvt Ltd, which has Fairfax as an investor. This is the largest seed round in the Indian general insurance ecosystem. With this, Digit’s total funding is at $95 million.
Q What are the technologies used by Digit Insurance?
We are a digital-first company so technology plays an important role in enabling our entire ecosystem, across distribution, buying and claims process.
We are the first insurance company in India to be fully on the cloud. This enables us to scale extremely fast and faster disaster recovery. We have application programming interface (API) integrations for all our partners, including Policybazaar, Amazon India, and so on.
Apart from this, we also have a huge focus on data science which helps us develop customised products for our customers. Machine learning helps us do faster reconciliation, float management, fraud management, and claims settlement. We use image analytics to decipher the damages to say, a car, which quickens the claims process.
Q Can you elaborate on the customized products? Any tie ups with companies?
Our travel product has flat benefits like the 75-minute flight delay cover, two-hour delay of checked-in baggage cover, and loss of checked-in baggage cover.
The international travel product, covers adventure sports too, one of the first companies to do so. Under our mobile insurance basket, customers can buy ‘Screen Damage’ cover, or go full-hog with the ‘No Tension’ plan covering theft, accidental and liquid damage.
Q How is Digit Insurance different from conventional companies?
Some of the key ways we have challenged norms are: For us, exclusions are as important as inclusions. In our policy documents, everything is transparent and clear. We do paperless insurance. All the documents and proofs we need can be submitted digitally. Claims can be initiated without filling any forms. We also accept audio claims. For us, claims are good. With our smartphone-enabled self-inspection method, we’ve empowered customers to quicken the claims process.
Q How much revenue have you clocked so far?
In nine months, we’ve clocked a revenue of over Rs 200 crore. IN June, we did Rs. 43 crore in retail premium and Rs 50 crore in July this year. Since we haven’t completed a year yet, growth rate cannot be calculated.