A bootstrapped insurance broker from Pune, Digisafe, is working towards bringing large sections of rural India under the insurance umbrella. Founded by Mallikarjun Kukunuri, Suman Roy Choudhury, Anupam Shrey, Rajat Dhar, and Ashwin Arora, who have worked with several leading companies in the insurance sector for more than 15 years, Digisafe is targeting 3,000 villages over the next six months.
They received licence from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) in August and are already associated with more than 100 villages. Their products offer insurance for life, motor, health, livestock and crop.
Earlier this year, IRDA had spoken of the importance of increasing insurance penetration in rural India catering to agricultural and allied needs. The organisation had added that the majority of the rural population was not aware of the concept of insurance, its advantages or how to go about it. “The penetration level in rural India is around 1-2 per cent. If we subtract flagship programmes from the Government of India, it would be around zero per cent. What we realised is that there were demands in rural India to be insured but they wanted a simple and affordable product. We are working with insurance companies to co-create such products,” says Roy Choudhury.
The target villages are in UP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at present. “If you look at states such as UP and Maharashtra, there are deep rural populations that are untouched by insurance,” says Kukunuri. Digisafe calculated the number of blocks in each state and, now, their manpower is present in 65 blocks. Slowly, they plan to move into other states and villages.
“Digisafe will empower rural people including farmers by supporting them to make informed decisions and increasing employment opportunities and revenue. It has been conceptualised on the decade-long extensive research and analysis done by its founding team who explored the crop insurance segment across several states in India and concluded their observational analysis in a localised survey under the flagship agri insurance scheme,” says Shrey.
The company’s provisions include DigiOne, a partnership programme between Digisafe and channel partners that will identify, train and develop a team of certified point-of-sale persons for insurance distribution through a combination of physical and digital modes; 1 Gram Insurance, which aims to extend insurance cover to every household of a village; and the Mera Assistant App for rural people. Through these instruments, the company aims to become “a complete support ecosystem for rural Indians by ensuring a high-speed claim settlement and end-to-end assistance at their doorstep”.