Amazon-backed Acko targets 50m customers

Varun Dua CEO Acko General Insurance

Amazon-backed Indian insurtech Acko has ambitions to pick up between 30m and 50m customers over the next two years.

By focusing on “high velocity customer acquisition” through micro insurance, the firm hopes to rapidly expand its base of policyholders and the data it holds, Acko CEO Varun Dua, pictured, told delegates at Post’s Digital Insurance World conference.

As its data reservoirs and customer numbers grow, this will propel its more traditional offerings such as motor insurance.

“More ambitious and more aggressively, we can go after the entire market,” Dua said. “We don’t have to be a niche insurtech player. A lot of the evolved markets, I personally believe, have this problem of market maturity. The incumbents are embracing newer technologies faster, but in India we don’t really need to be a niche insurtech player serving one vertical.”

Most insurance buyers in India will not have used a broker or agent before, which means Acko’s digital proposition will be easily adopted, according to Dua.

“We can potentially build a very large, efficient carrier business which doesn’t have legacy mindset,” he said. “Neither from the company side, from the business side, nor from the customer side. They do not need to adopt a new way, because this is the only way they know. They’ve already been born in a country and in a time that they directly started interacting with an app.”

Acko is picking up around 100,000 customers a month by selling mobile phone cover at the point of purchase on Amazon, which invested approximately $16m in the company earlier this year. On Wednesday and Thursday this week it expects to sell around 300,000 policies over the space of two days as India holds a Black Friday sale equivalent.

It has also struck up an agreement with Uber-type company Ola, through which it sells recurring passenger protection policies. It has picked up 12m unique customers this way in the past six months, Dua revealed.

The Indian market currently has around $95bn in premiums, but this is expected to grow to $280bn by 2020, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation. Property and casualty insurance penetration is under 1%, Dua said.

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