While large corporates offer group health insurance cover to their employees and this accounts for a major business segment for insurers, the steady rise in the number of startups has opened a new market opportunity for general insurers to tap in the Covid-era.
With around 55,000 startups, India is touted to be the third largest startup hub globally after the US and China.
Abhishek Poddar, co-founder & CEO, Plum, a Bengaluru-based group health insurance startup that specialises in group health cover, pointed out that startups are generally not able to access high-quality group insurance plans because these plans are traditionally built for companies with a large number of employees and are expensive. Also, startups don’t have large HR teams to help employees with the claims process.
“Plum has come up with new underwriting and fraud detection algorithms to enable companies as small as five employees to benefit from group insurance for as low as Rs 85 per month. We have built an integrated digital claims experience that allows employees to initiate their claims in less than five minutes without any help from HR,” Poddar said.
He added that Plum expects to serve around 3,000 startups by December and eventually cater to 50,000 in the next two years.
Kapil Mehta, CEO, SecureNow Insurance Broker, pointed out that startups struggle to buy group health insurance for employees because they are generally smaller than the minimum group size that insurers require.
SecureNow has addressed this issue by working with several insurers to provide health insurance to groups of as small as 20 people.
“Because of the leverage we have with insurers we are able to offer these health insurance products at affordable rates. The costs can be as low as Rs 2,500 per person insured,” he said, adding that the demand for health insurance from startups has been very high and around 1,000 startups have bought group health insurance from them.
He said during last year, the focus was to get Covid covers but now the requirement is more broad-based.
He also added that SecureNow offers startups many other value-added services such as access to doctors for one-on-one consultation.
Ravi Narayan, CEO of Telangana government-backed incubator T-Hub, said startups strive to bag funding and cannot afford to pay employees the same benefits as other companies.
“It is recommended that startups, that primarily have employees in the younger age groups, should offer flexible health benefits, ranging from gym sessions to mental health programmes with access to some insurance purchased through an aggregator.”