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The insurtech (r)evolution in emerging markets

Insurtech is transforming the insurance industry by merging cutting-edge technology with traditional insurance practices.  This innovative approach leverages the ubiquity of smartphones, advanced data analytics, and artificial intelligence to revolutionize outdated underwriting methods and distribution channels.


We believe that the application of technology to insurance has massive potential to deliver transparent, customer-centric products, boost efficiency, slash costs, and significantly enhance the overall insurance experience.  Whether operating through fully digital platforms or hybrid models, insurtech is automating claims, providing real-time risk assessments, and offering personalized policies tailored to individual needs.


Driving outsize impact in emerging markets

The global rise of insurtech is undeniable, fueled by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviors.  Yet, its impact is most profound in emerging markets.


Here, insurtech does not just improve customer experience or streamline claims processes for a niche of the market; it is truly a game-changer.  In regions where traditional insurance has only reached urban, affluent areas, insurtech is bridging the gap, bringing new products and innovative distribution channels to underserved communities.

 

If banking and credit are the essential financial services that unlock growth, insurance provides the stability and resilience to keep improving livelihoods.  With insurance penetration in emerging markets 3.3x lower than in developed markets, technology is making insurance accessible, affordable, and transparent for the traditionally underserved. 


Insurtech ensures that even the most marginalized populations – low-income households, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses – can protect themselves against risks and unforeseen events.

 

By providing critical security to both individuals and businesses, Insurtech empowers them to take calculated risks and contribute to economic growth.


Mitigating climate effects with insurance


The importance of insurtech in emerging markets is further highlighted by the urgent need to address the effects of climate change and other environmental challenges.


While developed markets contribute significantly to global CO₂ emissions, emerging markets suffer the most from climate-related disasters.  Currently, these regions face a $110 billion natural catastrophe protection gap, representing half of the global shortfall.  Insurtech is stepping up with innovative solutions like parametric insurance, which offers timely payouts based on predefined weather events.  Enhanced data analytics allows insurers to adapt policies and pricing to changing environmental conditions, providing coverage to areas that were previously uninsurable.


The opportunity for impact investors

As insurtech companies rise across the global south, it is imperative to keep in the mind the local nuances that make or break these companies: How do local regulators treat insurance, not to mention innovation in insurance?  How much education is needed for the local market to adopt insurance products?  How embedded are incumbent players, and how fragmented is the market?

 

Next Billion is uniquely suited to answer these questions and understand which types of insurtech companies are best suited for which markets.  With over two decades of experience and locally embedded teams across emerging markets, we are here to support these insurtech pioneers who are expanding the reach of insurance and enabling first-time insurance buyers to purchase products with unprecedented ease and transparency.

 

For impact investors, insurtech presents a golden opportunity to achieve substantial financial returns while contributing to a more resilient and sustainable world.  By promoting financial inclusion, mitigating climate risks, and driving economic growth, insurtech aligns perfectly with the goals of generating positive social and environmental impact.

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