Thursday, August 06, 2020

Business

Now, a 'Bima Mandi' for rural insurance products

IANS | June 27, 2020 05:16 PM

MUMBAI:A new startup venture, 'Bima Mandi' hopes to digitize and provide access to insurance and financial services for those living in rural areas, the promoters said here on Saturday.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Prashant Karulkar and finance wizard Anil Sachidanand, it will cater to the problems of low insurance penetration in rural India.

"Our InsurTech is the first of its kind focusing exclusively on the rural market by distributing rural insurance products in the GI and non-GI space besides addressing savings and financial protection needs of the village populations, " said Bima Mandi Director Karulkar.

For the venture, the promoters and founders have subscribed to the initial capital needs, and thereafter, marquee retail investors would subscribe to the pre-series capital at an undisclosed huge valuation.

The retail investors list comprises several high net worth individuals, industrialists, lending professionals from insurance, infra, tech-startups, health and pharma, businessmen and angel investors.

"India's rural landscape is extremely diversified, with local languages/dialects changing nearly every 50-100 km. The Bima Mandi's proprietary technology will help us connect with this dynamic market in their own language/dialect, through an interactive and simple user interface (using text, audio and video), " said Karulkar.

The ideator and co-mentor for Bima Mandi, Sachidanand said Bima Mandi will leverage ongoing digital village programs, village improvement program and AtmaNirbhar India program.

"We shall work closely with government agencies, to ensure last-mile connectivity with its targeted rural markets. It will encourage an understanding of savings and protection and offer products which suit each user's specific needs, " he said.

Insurance has a low penetration rate - around 3.7 per cent - in India, offering enormous scope, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance for insurance and financial protection in both urban and rural areas.

The duo expressed happiness that Bima Mandi has ignited the interest of so many retail investors and the capital raised will help in operationalising the platform.

The company has set high ambitions to leverage the current need for financial services, with a target to serve a cumulative set of more than four million rural customers across 125+ districts and 1, 000+ villages.

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