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Plum raises $4.1m to provide group health insurance to SMEs

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On a mission to revolutionise corporate health insurance, Indian employee insurance provider Plum has announced fundraising of $4.1 million, led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge and Tanglin Venture Partners. Existing investors, including Incubate Fund, also participated in the round. The funding will be used to expand into new markets, build new distribution channels, hire top talent and further develop product and tech, which is the backbone of Plum.

The company is part of the fourth cohort of Surge, a bi-annual scale-up program for startups in India and Southeast Asia.

Launched in March 2020, Plum is poised to reinvent how group health insurance works in India by making it affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes. India currently has one of the lowest penetration rates for health insurance in the world, with only 18% of urban employees and 14% of rural areas receiving coverage of some kind. Over 50 million Indians fall into poverty every year due to their inability to finance health issues.

Also read: Revamp Govt’s two key insurance schemes: PM directs officials

Plum’s easy-to-use health platform coupled with transparent pricing aims to help more businesses reap the benefits of insurance for their employees. Plum provides coverage for as little as $10 per year per person.

Many Indian businesses find the insurance purchasing process to be tedious, opaque and costly, with the entire process taking months to set up. To address these issues, Plum has negotiated and forged new underwriting and fraud detection measures with a wide range of insurance companies. This helps Plum provide businesses and their employees with more flexibility, greater customisation and a high-quality health insurance experience.

Going beyond traditional insurance coverage, Plum has partnered with best-in-class healthcare providers in dental care, fitness, diet and nutrition plans, yoga, virtual doctor consultations and mental health care.

Focusing on delivering a seamless customer experience, the startup provides companies with a dashboard to easily manage employees’ insurance and an employee app with 24/7 support for queries, claims, and other related issues.

Plum has seen 200% growth quarter-on-quarter, securing US$1 million worth of insurance premiums within just the first three quarters of launch. The platform is currently used by more than 200 companies, including large organisations such as Twilio, Label Life, Classplus, Happay and Sunidhi Group.

“One critical illness can make a family fall below the poverty line – so Plum has reimagined the traditional space of healthcare insurance to make it more affordable, simple, and comprehensive – a far cry from the complicated products and opaque pricing most businesses have to navigate. With COVID-19 further elevating the need for personal protection, companies with as few as five employees can set up high-quality health coverage in less than an hour at a discounted price previously available only to large corporates,” said Abhishek Poddar, co-founder of Plum.

“While the Indian government has several initiatives that offer free health coverage to India’s vulnerable populations, there is a sizable audience without adequate protection. The group insurance health market in India is projected to grow to USD 13.4 billion by 2025 and will see the rise of innovative insurance products not available in advanced markets. Plum hopes to provide 700 million people with employer-sponsored insurance and become the de facto health insurance platform for one million corporates in India,” he added.

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