Oluwaseun Ayegbusi is the co-founder and CEO of Insurpass Technologies, an insurtech startup that helps service providers across sectors embed insurance products into their mobile and web. In this interview by ENIOLA OYEMOLADE, he discusses how the journey has been so far.
What is the rationale behind Insurpass?
Insurpass is an Open Insurance Application Programming Interface (API) built on an insurance Infrastructure as a service platform that aggregates insurance products from leading insurers and delivers them through single API access to enable developers, fintech, banks and other service providers across all sectors to easily embed insurance backend components and insurance products into their mobile, web or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform in order to offer insurance services to their customers many of whom are uninsured.
What necessitated Insurpass was the need to deepen insurance penetration and foster inclusive insurance in Nigeria, as there are still a lot of financially unserved and underserved individuals who do not have access to insurance coverage.
How has the journey and patronage been so far for Insurpass?
The journey so far validates the need for the insurance technology solution we are building, as the responses we have been getting indicate that we have built a solution that various organisations need, as a number of leading insurance companies have already been onboard our Open Insurance API, with their products already been embedded into third party platforms. Likewise, other companies which seek to offer insurance services directly on their platform to their customers have been reaching out to us to integrate our API to embed insurance products into their applications.
What is the goal?
The goal of Insurpass is to democratise access to affordable and innovative insurance products for emerging customers in Africa. We seek to help our customers access insurance services anywhere, anytime, directly on existing platforms or channels they already engage with other services. Our goal is also to deepen insurance penetration in Africa and foster insurance inclusion for the base-of-the-pyramid consumers.
What are the challenges you’ve faced since the inception of insurance tech?
Some of the challenges I have faced since I ventured into insurance technology would be getting senior insurance executives and stakeholders to inculcate a thorough digital insurance transformation strategy into their corporate agenda. It is no news that the insurance industry is a late bloomer when it comes to the use of technology as compared to the banking sector; hence it is quite a challenge to help insurance stakeholders, who are mostly people of older generation to make sense of new technology use or innovative insurance models that would impact their businesses.
However, to overcome this challenges, I have over the years published several industry-focused articles and spoken at various industry events educating insurance stakeholders and operators on the advantage and benefits their organisation stand to gain through insurance technology.
What are some of the lessons you’ve also learnt?
Some of the valuable lessons I have learnt so far is that the simplest of ideas or solutions win most times. Hence, I have learnt not to bring complexity into whatever innovative procedure I am working on. Another lesson I have learnt is to solve the problem that most matters each time. With this, I get to prioritise how I deploy resources to solving various problems, even as the core of what I do as an entrepreneur is solving problems.
What do you think is the level of awareness of people and even digital platforms to insurance? If low, how do you intend to turn it around?
The level of awareness of digital platforms to embedded insurance products into their platform is actually quite high. As a company we have had various companies reach out to us to request access to our API. These companies are convinced that micro and retail insurance would be the next biggest thing to drive the financial inclusion in Nigeria and they are ready to be an early player by extending their current business vertical through embedded micro and retail insurance.
What are the benefits of integrating with Insurpass API?
Insurpass, being an intermediary insurance solution, is beneficial to both insurance companies and third party service providers across various sectors.
Insurpass API helps insurers to extend their distribution playbook by helping them plug their products into the point-of-sale of various digital platforms. With this, insurers are able to bundle their insurance products with the services or products of other companies as a complementary offer and sell it directly to the customers of these companies.
To put this in context, Insurpass API will be useful to cross-sell a credit life insurance plan to any customer who is taking a loan on any online loan platform by suggesting to the credit life insurance into the customer journey. In essence, insurers who make use of Insurpass API will be able to intelligently maximise their distribution playbook to gain more customers, increase their gross written premium and market share.
Some of the other benefits of Insurpass API to third party service providers who want to play in the retail and micro insurance space are that Insurpass enables them to rapidly launch an insurance platform or build an insurance feature into an existing application in no time, just with a simple integration. In other words, Insurpass saves them the several months of hectic work and associated cost in building a digital insurance web or mobile app from scratch or building an insurance features into your existing application.
Aside from this, Insurpass API allows third party service providers supercharge their value proposition either by embedding insurance risk mitigating proposition into their product or customer journey or just by becoming a platform to offer insurance coverage to their customers.
Another benefit on the list is that Insurpass API helps companies avoid the complexity of navigating insurance underwriting partnerships by layering on our partnership with top-tier insurance underwriters. Last on the list is that Insurpass helps companies harness a new revenue generation opportunity as they will receive a substantial commission for all insurance products they sell on their platform to new and existing customers.
What is the future of Insurtech companies in Nigeria?
There will be more entrants into the insurtech space in Nigeria in a couple of years from now, as insurtech presents the next phase for the financial industry innovation in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Therefore, Insurpass has positioned itself to support various future Insurtech solutions with our insurance infrastructure-as-a-service platform which will provide the base Insurtech infrastructure other insurtech companies can rely on to bootstrap their platform and build new solutions within the insurance space.
What would you do in a possibility whereby regulations appear to be stringent towards fintech startups and businesses in the country?
For us, there is no shying away from the possibility of stringent regulations which could come up towards fintechs and insurtechs in the near future. However, we are prepared to align with all regulations from the regulators. Just to drop a hint, we have our eyes on micro-insurance license which would grant us an underwriting capacity.
How would you rate local support for startups such as yours?
Local support for startups like Insurpass has been tremendous. The Nigerian startup ecosystem has various structured programs as incubation programmes, acceleration programmes for startups at different stages. Even some state governments have also shown support for startups with their own incubation programs as well.
Where do you see Insurpass in few years to come?
In the next few years, Insurpass aims to become the largest embedded insurance and micro-pension provider in Africa, building a strong infrastructure as a service platform that would power the distribution, management and core operations of various digital insurance and pension platforms in Africa.