Expanding innovative insurance in a challenging year: PasarPolis

To meet the challenge of the pandemic in south-east Asia, digital insurance broker PasparPolis launched new initiatives, including specific COVID-19 policies, providing a much sought-after safety net for their emerging consumer customer base.

As an insurance broker, PasarPolis’s customers are its partners that distribute and sell its policies to consumers. Its business model is entirely digital, instant and simple: a system designed to expand access to insurance for all walks of life, including communities in remote and underprivileged areas.

During the COVID lockdown in Indonesia earlier in the year PasarPolis’s level of premiums dropped across some sectors such as online travel services, digital lending and ridesharing. But changing consumer behaviour led to an uptick in other areas such as food delivery, e-commerce and operations in the less-affected nations of Thailand and Vietnam.

As a response to consumer demand, PasarPolis launched COVID health and life insurance, targeted predominantly at drivers and merchants, across its partners’ platforms. Sales continued to grow during the pandemic because of this increased demand — in June alone the company served more than four million new customers. It currently reaches 18 million people and households.

Chief executive officer Cleosent Randing said consumer understanding and awareness of health insurance in particular increased significantly during the pandemic.

During the year PasarPolis also piloted an agency distribution model for its policies, using rideshare drivers and merchants, which proved successful. One of the aims of that agency service was to improve income for rideshare drivers, who are typically emerging consumers and were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

PasparPolis partnered with investor PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, owner of the popular Gojek technology platform best known for its ridesharing service. By using an agency model to distribute insurance through the drivers, PasarPolis gives them another business avenue to improve their productivity and income. By September, this agency model, known as PasarPolis Mitra, had 10,000 agents, who help customers pick policies and process claims.

While PasarPolis is a technology business, this face-to-face distribution is helpful in overcoming the low insurance literacy in south-east Asia. Approximately 90 per cent of PasarPolis consumers are those who have never previously purchased an insurance policy (first time buyer) and 40 per cent of PasarPolis policyholders are informal sector workers such as Gojek drivers; couriers; and online micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

“The platform is so unique to Indonesians, that it enables anyone, from professional insurance Mitra, Gojek drivers, stay-at-home mums, and furloughed employees, to earn additional income, especially during the new normal,” Randing explained at the time.

In another 2020 initiative, PasarPolis trialed GoSure, a direct travel insurance service accessed through the Gojek app. The trial performed well in 2020 and a full launch across a range of micro-insurance categories was planned for early 2021.

The company plans to continue to build such services, making risk protection significantly more affordable for consumers, backed by a new round of fundraising late in 2020, which included LeapFrog Investments.

“PasarPolis has become the bridge for the uninsured toward insurance protection,” said Randing. “We believe that by working with these globally renowned investors, we will be able to accelerate the penetration of insurance in the region by further expanding access to fast and inclusive affordable insurance plans.”

Byron Smith

This case study was first published on June 2nd, 2021

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