Igloo, a Singapore-based insurtech focused on underprivileged communities in Southeast Asia, announced that it has raised a $27 million Series B extension, bringing the round’s total to $46 million. The first tranche of $19 million was announced in March and led by Cathay Innovation with participation from ACA and returning OpenSpace investors.
The most recent round was led by the InsuResilience Investment Fund II, which was launched by German development bank KfW for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and is managed by impact investor BlueOrchard. Other top investors were Women’s World Banking Asset Management (WAM), FinnFund, La Maison and returning investors Cathay Innovation.
Igloo develops its insurance products and then collaborates with the insurers who underwrite their policies. Igloo currently partners with 20 global, regional and local insurers in Southeast Asia. It distributes its insurance products through partnerships and is a partner of over 55 companies in 7 countries. It now offers 15 products, including policies for gig workers, gamers, auto and farmers in Vietnam, and says it has facilitated more than 300 million policies and increased gross written premiums 30-fold since 2019.
Co-founder and CEO Raunak Mehta told TechCrunch that Igloo has decided to raise a Series B extension due to investor interest after the first tranche of funds. The extension will give the startup a multi-year runway and will be used for hiring, infrastructure, and M&A opportunities.
Mehta said the insurance penetration rate in much of Southeast Asia is low, less than $100 USD per capita in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Igloo was created to make insurance more affordable and relevant to the needs of communities in Southeast Asia. Igloo distributes insurance products ranging from 2 US cents for phone screen protection to US$600 for comprehensive auto insurance.
Igloo supplies the technology stack for its products across Southeast Asia, which Mehta says means the entire insurance value chain, from product discovery to claims, is available on a single platform. This makes it faster to market the policies it distributes and significantly reduces the operating cost of claims.
Mehta said that more than 80% of requests are currently handled in an automated or semi-automated way and that big data management, together with machine learning and artificial intelligence, has helped reduce anti-selection risks , false positives and fraudulent claims. By reducing claims handling costs, Igloo is able to offer customers a lower premium.
Examples of Igloo’s insurance policies include those for gig economy riders that it sells through its partnerships with Foodpanda in Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, and Lozi and Ahamove Vietnam. His policy for Foodpanda, called PandaCare, includes workers’ income protection, personal injury and hospitalization.
Another, more recent product is the Weather Index Insurance in Vietnam. The policy uses blockchain-backed smart contracts and automates claim payments using pre-assigned values for crop losses caused by weather and other natural events. Igloo says Weather Index Insurance is Vietnam’s first parametric insurance (or a policy that agrees to make pre-specified payments based on trigger events like a flood) and its first integration of smart contracts into insurance.
Igloo also provides products that Mehta says directly or indirectly benefit women, through a partnership with Philinsure in the Philippines. They have distributed more than 5 million policies covering credit defaults, personal accidents, family relief and natural disaster support to women micro-entrepreneurs and their families. In Vietnam, more than 65% of the agents who use Igloo’s Ignite digital platform to sell insurance policies are women, and they are also the main beneficiaries of the Weather Index Insurance product.
Insurtech’s distribution partners include telecom companies such as Telkomsel, AIS and Mobifone and e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, Bukalapak and JD.ID. It also partners with financial service providers, such as AEON, Gcash and UnionBank, to sell policies for their customer base and provides products to insure cargo in transit and protect fleet drivers through logistics platforms such as Ahamove, Shippit, Loship and Locad.
Other Southeast Asian-based insurtechs looking to boost insurance penetration in the region and have raised big Series B rounds include Indonesia’s Fuse and PasarPolis and Thailand’s Sunday.
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