Policybazaar: Upending the Complex Indian Insurance Market with Tech

A pioneer of the insurance sector nullifying losses on a digital platform.


In today’s world, people tend to take steps in order to mitigate their losses and encourage their financial stability by binding themselves into a contract which gives them financial flexibility and encourages a better flow of trade (for business houses) even when they suffer an economic loss. This is where the insurance industry comes into motion and where Policybazaar makes its mark.

The uncertainty of events in our lives is the reason why insurance policies play a major role in securing a better future for oneself or our loved ones. A person can incur the risk of losses of life, health, asset, property, etc. It isn’t always possible to prevent the loss of any commodity, the financial sector provides us with this product called “insurance”. This helps in promoting economic growth, generation of long term financial resources, providing support in medical emergencies as well as providing safety to the business from extreme-end losses.

What is Policybazaar?

Policybazaar is an Indian insurance aggregator based in Gurgaon, India. This company helps a person compare financial services from different insurance companies on a single digital platform making it easier for people to choose the most convenient and affordable option. The company was founded in June, 2008 by Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal and Avaneesh Nirjar.

The company is now worth over $2.4 billion making it one of the most successful Fintech companies in the country. In early 2020, Yashish Dahiya told Bloomberg that Policybazaar was set to make its Stock Market Debut as India’s first Unicorn.

The enterprise has over 10,000 employees working from its headquarters in Gurgaon.
Policybazaar, now works as an insurance selling operator after switching from a policy comparison website. This move was a turning point in the company’s business run as they discovered multiple sources of income leading them to success.

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It isn't always possible to prevent the loss of any commodity, the financial sector provides us with this product called "insurance".

Policybazaar: Covering Milestones

In the mid 2000s, the Indian insurance industry was still growing and didn’t have a lot of impact on the financial sector. Policies and insurances were sold through agents via one-to-one communication. The industry back then didn’t have a lot of transparency and people were still hesitant to buy off even general policies from an agent.

But with the change of time, this perspective also changed. With more and more companies joining the insurance industry, the competition rose and trust was built between people because of the same. In 2008, when the three entrepreneurs came up with Policybazaar, it was merely an information portal which used to help people know more about different kinds of insurance policies and its benefits.

This process involved comparing insurance prices of different insurance companies, explaining about policy-programs and other useful information regarding the same. Policybazaar had a long Journey from being an information provider to a full-time policy seller agency. The website expanded enormously and became a premium hub for insurance policies.

In 2015, the company launched its own Android and IOS application which helped them grow on a bigger scale. The company made its services available to more and more consumers and sold more and more policies.

The Success Story of Policybazaar

Since its inception, Policybazaar has managed to make some good acquaintances in the financial industry. Policybazaar has managed to raise $US366 millions since 2008 within 7 rounds of funding. Major companies like Info-Edge, Intel Capital, Inventus Capital Partners, Premji Investments (Wipro), and Tokyo based Softbank:s Group of vision funds have invested in Policybazaar making it one of the most reliable Fintech companies in the country.

The owners proposed a good business model to every group of investors and were quite commendable with it. The business model of the company would be explained in the next section.

Policybazaar has also been awarded quite a lot of trophies for its consistent and trustworthy service that they’ve been providing to their customers. Some of the major awards won by the enterprise are IAMAI Indian Digital Awards for best financial website 2015, BAM award 2015, Best Marketing & PR Campaigns – India PR & Communications Awards 2018, Best Content in Online PR Campaign – Drivers of Digital – Inkspell Awards 2018, Best Consumer Awareness Campaign – Silver -Economic Times Brand Equity Kaleido Award 2019, Best bank in Fintech – Financial Express Best Bank 2019, Leading Fintech Innovator in India -KPMG-H2 Ventures Report and many more adding on to the list.

The company has proved its worth as they claim to process about 25 per cent of India’s total life insurances and about 7 per cent of the nation’s health cover. The company provides its consumers with more than 250 insurance plans and operates around 50 insurance brands on its platform.

The Genius Business Model Powering Policybazaar

Policybazaar being an aggregator of insurance policies which means that it would list out all the insurance products relevant to the search made by the consumer. They would redirect the consumer to the insurer’s platform for selling the required policy and therefore, earn commission based on the consumer traffic brought by Policybazaar on the insurer’s website. This process can only be initiated once the company has been approved of a IRDA license. Companies which have an IRDA license can directly sell insurance policies without the help of any mediator like Policybazaar. In such a case, Policybazaar sells information and leads of their customers to the other insurance companies for expanding their customer range. This is just one way of earning money.

The company has connections with various and different kinds of insurance operating companies. This network helps Policybazaar compare and analyse the price, benefit, insurance cover and reliability of different insurance plans. This information is provided to the customers in a more organised manner in order to research and buy. Policybazaar is in a tie up with companies providing car insurance, life insurance, corporate insurance, health insurance and travel insurance. This opens up a lot of options for a customer within the same platform.

One of the most important and toughest parts of the job is to convince people to buy insurance. With a lot of competition being around, this task was made nothing but more complex. Selling off insurance to an optimist might be seen as a hurdle because of the long term investment. Policybazaar made sure they maintained a reputable goodwill in the market and were very transparent with their work.

Founders: Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal, Avaneesh Nirjar

How Policybazaar Stared down the Competition

The major competition faced by Policybazaar is from Fintech companies like Bankbazaar, Acko, Coverfox, Easypolicy, etc. The insurance industry has grown to be very competitive and hard to survive with various other companies hanging around. The company had made their business model featuring the cost and services of the policies available to its customers increasing the company’s reliability. The insurance companies have started to adapt to the needs of their customers and have attempted to reshape the policies and their business models according to their target customers. This has opened up a lot of options for a person looking for a good insurance program.

The company has stayed afloat in a very competitive Fintech industry for more than a decade now. The company deals with millions of customers every year where they have to convince more people everyday to buy off insurance policies from their portal. In a country like ours, people tend to do a lot of research and analysis before buying an insurance policy. Policybazaar already provides the customers with such analysis making it easier for the customer to choose any policy from the given insurers.

There’s a huge traffic of policy-buyers everyday on the Policybazaar website already and now, the main focus of the traffic handlers is to increase the positive and more active network by encouraging people to buy policies or do any other kind of activity on the portal. The company is responsible for the privacy of the information shared by any customer as well as the legitimacy of information provided to the customers.

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Policybazaar is one of the clutch Fintech startups of the country looking forward to flexing the tightly regulated financial services segment enjoyed by state-held and bank-backed insurers.

The Road Ahead

India’s fast moving tech-industry has attracted numerous investors with huge investing capabilities. This is a great opportunity for well-established businesses to expand their wealth as well as reach. Subsequently, even Policybazaar announced that the company was going to go public and would be a part of the stock market from 2021.

The Soft-bank backed company would be filing for an IPO (initial public offering) that would raise upto $500 million for the insurance company. This would raise the value of Policybazaar to an estimate of $3.5 billion and would consist of new stocks of already existing or familiar shareholders.

Policybazaar is yet to announce their final decision regarding their IPO draft and is set to be India’s first mega-start up to go public this year. Yash Dahiya, Co-founder of the company, told Bloomberg last year that the company would mostly go public in 2021. The plan is to secure $250 million in a round of financing at a $2 billion valuation before September. The reports emerged stating that the company is enlisting themselves in the Mumbai IPO but Mr. Dahiya told Bloomberg that they were also looking for dual listings if there are any amends in the rules.

Policybazaar is one of the clutch Fintech startups of the country looking forward to flexing the tightly regulated financial services segment enjoyed by state-held and bank-backed insurers. The idea is to make these policies available to the middle class uninsured and under-insured Indians. The target customers can still be expanded in a country like India with most Middle classed men and women would not have insurance. The company has made goodwill in the market and is now considered as one of the best insurance aggregator companies in the country. With the IPO registration, the company obviously becomes public and the profit margin of the same has expanded indefinitely. Through this, the insurance company can support the incoming policyholders while still working as an aggregator.

Amidst all of this, the mobile app of Policybazaar plays a criminally underrated role. The app service launched by the company back in 2015 works for both Android as well IOS users and hence, increased the number of customers. This also made buying insurance online much easier and reliable. In 2018, Policybazaar adopted Amazon Polly and developed an AI system in order to improve their customer satisfaction. This proved to be very helpful as Policybazaar received a lot of complaints regarding excessive phone calls to their consumers.

Since 2008, the company has been a major part of the Fintech industry as an insurance aggregator and later witnessed a massive turnover. This just proves how deep the Fintech industry is in terms of the money involved.

The company still hasn’t reduced the intensity of the amount of work done and has already listed out targets for the upcoming year. These involve expanding their customer base to 1 crore, underwriting premium worth Rs. 10,000 crores, increasing revenue to Rs. 1500 crores, expanding across the globe and finally launching its IPO soon. All of these targets are to be achieved before the end of 2021.

Aviral Srivastava
Aviral Srivastava
Aviral is an intern at Dutch Uncles, technology and new venture excites him. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from CHRIST.

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