Indian online insurer PolicyBazaar files for IPO, seeks to raise over $800 million – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

Indian online insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar has filed for an initial public offering. It seeks to raise $809 million, becoming the fourth startup in the past two months from the South Asian market to explore public markets.

In papers submitted to the market regulator in India, PolicyBazaar said it is looking to raise $504 million by issuing new shares. At the same time, the rest will be driven by the sale of shares by existing investors.

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The 12-year-old startup — backed by SoftBank, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, and InfoEdge — said it might consider raising about $100 million in a pre-IPO round. Softbank plans to sell shares worth over $250 million, while PolicyBazaar founders are looking to sell shares worth $52.7 million, they said in the papers.

PolicyBazaar serves as an aggregator that allows users to compare and buy policies — across categories including life, health, travel, auto, and property — from dozens of insurers on its website without having to go through conventional agents. It operates in India as well as the Middle East.

policybazaar website

PolicyBazaar website

Only a fraction of the nation’s 1.3 billion people currently have access to insurance in India, and some analysts say that digital firms could prove crucial in bringing these services to the masses. According to rating agency ICRA, insurance products had reached less than 3% of the population as of 2017.

An average Indian makes about $2,100 in a year, according to World Bank. ICRA estimated that Indians who had purchased an insurance product were spending less than $50 on it in 2017.

“India’s life insurance market is expected to grow at 18.8% p.a. to reach ₹ 31.9 trillion (US$ 425 billion) in FY2030, driven by favorable macro indicators, rising awareness towards financial products and services, digitization and simplification of products and processes, online channels for distributions, innovations and customizations in products and favorable government policies and regulatory push,” the startup said in the papers.

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