WhatsApp plans to launch insurance and micro pension products in India

WhatsApp plans to launch health insurance and micro-pension offerings in India. India’s chief Abhijit Bose unveiled WhatsApps’ roadmap to provide “critical finance and livelihood services” to mobile users in the country at the Facebook Fuel for India event. The Facebook-owned company is partnering with SBI General to bring health insurance products to market, while HDFC Pension and Singapore-based PinBox Solutions are on board to offer micro-pension products. The new developments are in line with WhatsApp’s digital payment company WhatsApp Pay.

WhatsApp is expected to offer affordable health insurance coverage from SBI General by the end of the year, Bose said during his presentation at the virtual event. Management also announced WhatsApp’s partnership with HDFC Pension and PinBox Solutions to begin piloting micro-pension products through the messaging app.

“These pilots, along with others in edtech and agritech to name a few, offer tremendous promise and would help support the Government of India’s priorities for a more digitized economy, especially for rural and underserved segments,” said Bose.

WhatsApp aims to become a competitive platform for insurance companies and firms offering micro-pension products, and with the new move, expand its presence in the Indian financial sector. Bose also stressed that the messaging app will make it easier for Indian users to offer health insurance and micro-pensions – regardless of their location or income.

“We have developed specific products that address healthcare needs in an affordable and hassle-free way, available through WhatsApp,” said Amar Joshi, SBI General’s chief business officer.

The massive user base of over 400 million people in the country makes WhatsApp attractive to insurance and pension insurers in the country.

Sumit Shukla, CEO of HDFC Pension Management, said WhatsApp enables accelerated digital and financial inclusion. “WhatsApp as a platform is multilingual, secure and revolutionizes the access and facilitation of financial services in our country,” he said.

In addition to pilot insurance and micro-pension services, WhatsApp is penetrating deeper into the Indian digital economy with its payment functionality and WhatsApp Business API. Current developments aim to adopt Google Pay, Alibaba-supported Paytm and FlipP’s own PhonePe.

Shortly after WhatsApp announced its plans to offer insurance products, PhonePe said it processed over 11 million insurance premiums through its platform last year. The digital payment platform offers the possibility to pay insurance premiums for over 30 insurers. Eighty percent of total rewards over the year came from users in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

Will WhatsApp get the killer feature every Indian is waiting for in 2020? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, Download the episodeor just hit the play button below.


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