Posted in The Smart CEO on 7th March 2017
Insurance broker SecureNow’s deployment of technology has changed the way insurance benefits are distributed to the small and mid-sized market in India. In this fiscal, the company aims to sell insurance premium worth Rs. 75 crore and increase its product coverage from 10 products to 25 products
In 2012, Kapil Mehta and Abhishek Bondia hit upon the idea of brokering insurance to small and mid-sized companies across India. The duo established SecureNow the same year as a company that offers customized general insurance solutions to SMEs through a web-based platform. With a strong focus on customer orientation and deriving the right product fit, the insurance broking company sold premium worth Rs. 1 crore in its first year of operations. In just its second year, the company turned cash flow positive. In the last five years, SecureNow has seen a rapid top-line growth and this current fiscal, it aims to sell premium worth Rs. 75 crore. These five years have also seen SecureNow evolve as a company; things have become a lot more systematic with better adherence to process and a greater emphasis on training within the company. The company planned for scale by instituting separate teams to handle clients and insurers in addition to creating a solid technology platform that allowed it to do business at multiple locations. “When we first started we knew each of our clients personally but as we grew, this was no longer possible. The reorganisation of our teams allowed us to create meaningful relationships with all our clients,” shares Mehta.
As he elaborates, one of the more difficult tasks with establishing scale and doing so fairly quickly, is to battle the mindset and often times, the change needs to come from within. “We have learnt to be more aggressive in the way we pursue business and this has been quite challenging for us as a startup,” confesses Mehta. At SecureNow, the team is relatively young and while that infuses great energy, it also means that the young team shoulders a great deal of responsibility, perhaps far more than they would at larger organisations. In this regard, it helps that the founding duo can draw from their prior work experience of being a part of much larger companies and knowing what it takes to grow an organisation to a massive strength of 5,000 people or more. “We know we have what it takes to get there. We also know how we are different and while there are other broking companies that target the larger companies, not many focus on the SME market,” says Mehta.
SMEs in India are typically under-insured as they lack access to organized institutional brokers. Moreover, the sector is served by a fragmented and unorganized market of individual insurance brokers and agents. “This has allowed us to develop better insight on our customers’ needs and in turn, helped us create relevant insurance solutions,” says Mehta.
Of every 100 SMEs, only 30 are technology savvy, the majority at 70 is not and this must change to drive growth.
Powered by technology
At SecureNow, technology has a huge role to play in how the company does business. “All our processes are automated on our portal or on our app, Notify, which we launched eight months ago,” shares Mehta. So far, the app has seen over 20,000 downloads and has unique features such as a hospital locator which also indicates the insurance coverage on offer and a daily attendance check that motivates higher usage. “The app has helped greatly with retention and the conversion rate has been close to 25 per cent,” says Mehta. SecureNow’s website also has an Insuropedia which answers insurance related FAQs and drives traffic. The company’s use of technology has significantly eased the process for the end-user in such a way that there are no physical claim cards required. “Our website or app stores the customer data and the entire process is digital,” says Mehta while adding that this has really changed the efficacy of distributing insurance benefits. Another factor that gives SecureNow an edge over traditional brokers is the speed with which the company’s intellectual property provides quotes to buyers of insurance. “While other players typically take a month or so, our calculators provide quotes in under five minutes,” he says.
Alongside its rich content on the web, SecureNow engages in below-the-line marketing initiatives that foster the right connect with its target audience and associations with bodies like FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) in related events.
Charting a growth plan
SecureNow started 2017 with a bang by joining the international Unison broking network. This allows the company to meet the overseas insurance requirements of its Indian clients courting expansion in the global markets. Apart from that, it also enables SecureNow to better its global reach. However, Mehta is quite keen on conquering the vast SME market in India before seeking other pastures. He sees no dearth of opportunities here, only a definite need to educate the segment on how to mitigate risk and adopt technology at a faster pace. “Of every 100 SMEs, only 30 are technology savvy, the majority at 70 is not and this must change to drive growth,” states Mehta. SecureNow seeks to be a harbinger of the change that will take this segment into the future. Mehta says the band of believers are growing and the numbers support this claim. “In January of the last calendar year, we were selling insurance to one SME a day whereas this year, we are selling to nearly six SMEs a day,” he says. Currently, the company covers about 10 insurance products and over the course of this year, it plans on increasing its coverage to 25 products. This ties in with SecureNow’s ambition of growing its top-line aggressively to hit the Rs. 100 crore mark over the next two years.
The company aims to be the go-to for commercial insurance in the SME markets. Mehta is confident when he states that no other company enjoys any sort of brand recall in this segment and his team strives to keep it that way.