Meet the team

At the core of Democrance’s offering lie the mutually beneficial partnerships we create between insurance and telecommunications companies – two highly regulated and complex industries.

We understand and anticipate the challenges that may arise during complex projects. Years of experience in the MENA region’s insurance and telecommunications industries and building technological platforms have equipped our team with the right skills and knowledge to create and drive these initiatives hand in hand with our partners.

Michele Grosso

01 Sep 2017

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Co-Founder and CEO of Democrance

Driven by the desire to restore insurance to its original purpose of providing mutual aid for those who need it most, but can afford it least, he founded Democrance in 2015.

Prior to that, Michele worked in strategy and distribution at global insurance powerhouses AXA and MetLife in France, Egypt and the UAE.

Italian by birth, Michele holds a Master in Management / Grande Ecole from ESCP Europe in Paris and MSc in Economics from Turin University. He is also a graduate of Carlos III University in Madrid and City University in London.

Michele is a frequent speaker and contributor to microinsurance, entrepreneurship and social innovation events and publications in the Middle East and worldwide.

Alberto Perez

01 Sep 2017

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Co-Founder and COO of Democrance

Alberto is the Co-Founder and COO of Democrance.

Alberto Pérez was educated at ICAI School of Engineering and EOI Business School in Spain.

Driven by his passion to provide access to telecommunications services to underserved regions, he spent over four years reshaping the mobile Value Added Services (VAS) ecosystem in several Sub-Saharan African markets together with leading MNOs, such as Safaricom (Vodafone), Airtel and MTN.

Seeking new horizons, he relocated from South Africa to the UAE as the CEO of a newly born B2C enterprise and soon after founded his own award-winning venture, an on-demand fuel service.

Damian Dimmich

01 Sep 2017

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Chief Technology Officer

Damian Dimmich is the Chief Technology Officer of Democrance.

Founder of his own boutique software development company Tauri-Tec, throughout his career he built cutting-edge software for a diverse range of clients, including the United Nations, the UK government, a Nigerian electricity operator and a variety of startups in e-government, fintech and media.

Damian holds a PhD in Parallel Programming from the University of Kent and BSc in Physics at King’s College.

He is fluent in English, German and Polish.

Tarik Ghanim

01 Sep 2017

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Chief Marketing Officer

Tarik joins Democrance with invaluable experience in the Middle East telecommunications industry, having held key positions in some of the biggest telecoms players in the field.

Previously, Tarik was the Head of Digital Commerce at du and an instrumental member in establishing the Digital Business department. During his tenure, Tarik developed GTM strategies and innovative business models for Digital Services among others.

As a management consultant and seasoned business leader with 15+ years ICT experience across the Middle East region, his unique strengths lie in driving digital transformation and developing strategic partnerships across organisations that support new business streams and leverage on synergies in the telecommunications space and numerous vertical sectors, including finance, government, healthcare, hospitality, media, retail and transportation.

 

Keith Franklin

01 Sep 2017

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Lead Software Architect

Keith is the Lead Software Architect at Democrance.

In his role, he works closely with the technical team, providing guidance, oversight and quality control management. Drawing on more than fifteen years of technical experience, he applies a particular focus to improving the stability and usability of the Democrance platform for both business and customer users.

Before joining Democrance, Keith worked as a software developer at Tauri-Tec, a boutique software company based in the UK as well as the University of Kent. In these roles he, developed a variety of solutions including mobile phone games, psychological experiments, infrastructure management tools and web based applications. A versatile professional, he has used a range of technologies such as Python, PHP, Java (J2ME & J2EE), C#, Flex in his work.

Keith holds a PhD in Data Visualisation and a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Kent.

David Kennewell

01 Sep 2017

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Senior Software Engineer

David joined the Democrance team as a Senior Software Engineer in 2018, bringing extensive experience in numerical catastrophe modelling, web development, risk management and product design.

He began his career as an environmental engineering design consultant and has since worked with governmental bodies, engineering consultancies and multinational firms.

With a strong belief in technology’s ability to enable impactful solutions, he founded Hydrata in 2015, which is a start-up focused on building collaborative web platforms that help to solve the world’s biggest water challenges. Through Hydrata, David has worked on projects that manage water and flood risks in India, Nicaragua, Haiti, the U.S. and Australia.

Gustavo Herodier

01 Sep 2017

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Front-end Engineer & Graphic Designer

Gustavo Herodier is a Front-end Engineer and Graphic Designer at Democrance.

He is passionate about the visual aspects and design elements of web development. Gustavo has spent the past eight years at Tauri-Tec, a software development company, honing his skills as a web developer and graphic designer. His clients range from the communications to e-commerce industry.

He holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology & Philosophy, another in Art & Marketing from the University of Kent. Gustavo is fluent in English and Spanish.

Muhammad Ashad Chaudhary

01 Sep 2017

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Developer

Muhammad Ashad Chaudhary is one of the key developers at Democrance.

In this capacity, he works closely with the engineering team to support Democrance’s product development and customer integration, drawing on his experience in Application development (Mobile/Web/J2EE).

Before joining Democrance, Ashad held software engineering positions with Systems Limited in Karachi and Dubai, as well as Etisalat UAE.

Ashad holds a Bachelor in Computer Science with a major in Software Engineering from the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Pakistan.

Linda Luu and Oreabetse Mathlare

01 Sep 2017

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Finance and Administration

Linda and Ore are Founding Partners at The Scalable CFO, a team of Finance Professionals that is providing the first dedicated source of flexible Experts for Startups and SMEs in the United Arab Emirates. The Scalable CFO introduces customers to a new breed of CFO, and through meaningful collaboration, provides a service that is essential to an often underserved market.

Together they bring to Democrance 25+ years of experience in strategic financial management and audit experience across insurance and other industries and several accreditations including FCCA and CA(SA).

Santiago Carvajal

01 Sep 2017

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Legal Counsel

Santiago is Democrance’s in-house legal counsel.
With core experience in corporate law, he has worked with a wide variety of clients across a broad spectrum of industries of all sizes in the private, public and third sectors.

Before moving to Dubai, Santiago lived and practiced in a number of different countries including Spain, Norway, and The Netherlands.

He holds a Licentiate in Law (LLB + LLM equivalent) from the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid and a Master`s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University.

Abdel Hafiz

01 Sep 2017

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Business Development

Abdel Hafiz Fouad acts as a regional consultant for Democrance.

Well versed in both, the insurance and telecom sectors, Abdel previously represented Celltek Egypt in Sudan before acting as a marketing consultant for his family’s insurance company, The Blue Nile Insurance (BNI), and brokerage firm, Protect Insurance Services. He later joined Elnilein Insurance and currently works with The Sudanese Insurance & Reinsurance (SUDINRECO).

Abdel holds a BSc in Environmental Studies from Omdurman Ahlia University in Sudan and a Project Management Diploma from The Regional IT Institute (RITI) in Egypt.

Enrique Urbaneja

01 Sep 2017

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Business Development

Enrique Urbaneja is an independent Global Go-To-Market Executive and Democrance’s representative in APAC. Before working in an independent capacity, Enrique held numerous senior positions with telecommunications and technology companies around the world, including Atos and Baquia among others.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the mobile industry, from business development to international expansion, Enrique has an entrepreneurial mindset and founded and supported several startups, most notably Mobiadvanced, which expanded into more than15 international markets under his guidance.

Passionate about social causes, and a firm believer in harnessing the power of mobile technology for good, Enrique has supported public sector in several countries to assess and design mobile early warning systems as part of disaster preparedness.

Based in the APAC region out of Vietnam, Enrique supports Democrance in extending its footprint across the region.

Evgeniya Karavan

01 Sep 2017

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Business Development

Following more than 15 years of experience in life insurance business management and as well as direct customer marketing for world-class organizations such as MetLife, HP and Sberbank, Evgeniya has joined the Democrance team and represents the InsurTech company in Russia.

Developing microinsurance in Russia is a passion project of hers, based on her firm belief that it serves as a vital social protection tool for lower income populations.

She is also the CEO of DMGlobal, a venture focused on the optimal use of customer databases and distant sales methodologies.

 

Caroline Morilhat

01 Sep 2017

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Project Officer

Having recently relocated to Dubai, Caroline is in charge of managing of a joint project between the Luxembourg based NGO ADA, specialising in inclusive finance, and Democrance.

Funded by the United Nations, the project aims to reduce the vulnerability of low income migrants working in the UAE by providing insurance protection through an innovative remittance solution.

Having previously worked as a project officer at ADA in Luxembourg, where she was responsible for the coordination of the training activities the NGO provides to the microfinance institutions, she joined the Democrance team in Dubai to be closer to the project’s target populations as well as Democrance’ expertise and know how.

She holds a Master’s Degree in International Marketing and Management from the Institut du Management Européen des Affaires (IMEA) in France.

Michael Malek

01 Sep 2017

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Board Member

Michael joined Democrance as a Board Member in 2017, and is one of the earliest investors in the insurance technology start-up.

He is a senior executive in the medical/healthcare technology space, active mentor and angel investor.

Michael comes with years of experience in strategy, business development, management consulting, financial advisory services and hedge fund management across various industries and geographies. He is an advocate and frequent speaker for healthcare technology, entrepreneurship and personal development.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration from INSEAD, and a Bachelor in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut, and is CPA- and CISA-certified.

Samih Toukan

01 Sep 2017

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Board Member

Samih joined Democrance as a Board Member in 2017, bringing years of entrepreneurship and investment expertise to the table.

Samih is the current Chairman of Jabbar Internet Group, a leading venture capital firm specializing in Internet and technology companies. He also serves on the boards of several companies, and was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of H.R.H. Hussein bin Abdullah, Crown Prince of Jordan and is Chairman of the board for UnderMyOliveTree, a non-profit organization focused on education for the underprivileged.

In 2000, Samih founded Maktoob.com, the world’s first Arabic email service provider and largest Arab online community, which was later acquired by Yahoo in 2009. He also co-founded Souq.com, the largest ecommerce site in the Arab world which was bought over by Amazon. He is a founding investor in Oasis500, Jordan’s leading start-up incubator.

He has received the Social Media Influencers Summit Award in the Private Sector category, was listed in Arabian Business’s top 500 most influential Arabs globally, and has been granted the Takreem award for Outstanding Corporate Leadership in the Arab World, among other accolades recognizing his achievements.

Newsroom

This is a section where we put up news clippings and press releases.

Democratising Insurance

23 Apr 2019

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Democrance is enabling insurers to tap into new market segments – especially the underinsured– and digitise the entire value chain efficiently, co-founder & CEO Michele Grosso tells Middle East Insurance Review.

-By Osama Noor

Download full article PDF

UAE-based Start-up Democrance Partners with Cambodia’s Cellcard and Camlife for Microinsurance Outreach

04 Mar 2019

UAE-based Start-up Democrance Partners with Cambodia’s Cellcard and Camlife for Microinsurance Outreach Expand


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The partnership aims to broaden the financial safety net for Cambodians and disrupt traditional insurance processes through digitization

Dubai-UAE: 4th March, 2019 – Insurance Technology start-up Democrance joined forces with leading insurer Cambodia Life Insurance (Camlife) to offer affordable and accessible life microinsurance products via the mobile channel.

Through the integration of Democrance’s proprietary cloud-based platform, Camlife’s entire insurance system is digitized and automated, from marketing to claims processing. This digital transformation results in substantial cost savings and enables the Cambodian insurer to reach new market segments through mobile phones.

The partnership with Cambodian mobile operator, Cellcard, means that their mobile subscribers only need their phones to buy, use and make claims for affordable life and health microinsurance product, thanks to Democrance platform. The premiums payment can be made through phone balance, and claims are paid in under four days.

Life insurance is relatively new in Cambodia, having been introduced to the market only in 2012, but it is growing rapidly fueled by innovation and digital transformation such as pioneered by Democrance. Cambodia’s total gross premiums were up 57 percent year-on-year in 2017, and up 95 percent in 2016 from the previous year according to figures from Insurance Association of Cambodia.

“It is in emerging markets that insurance is most needed and yet the protection gap is the widest, because of the costs associated with traditional insurance models and product availability for varying income groups,” said Michele Grosso, Co-founder and CEO of Democrance. “Our partnership with Camlife can become the foundation for innovation and create real social value for underserved segments. This is what will set players in traditional industries apart from their competitors.”

“We have witnessed rising demand for financial and risk management solutions in Cambodia, but unfortunately it has not been as inclusive and accessible to everyone. This is why together with Democrance and Cellcard, we have created a unique microinsurance offering that covers families from all economic backgrounds, and is delivered through the mobile platform,” said Seang Kimvisal, Head of ICT of Camlife.

Cellcard provides the channel with which Camlife can underwrite the products and access a wider customer base of all income groups. Democrance’s role is that of an intermediary who manages the entire value chain between insurer and mobile operator.

Democrance aims to change the way insurance companies view underserved markets and financial inclusion, and open up an estimated $4 billion of new insurance premiums. The Dubai-based start-up is currently working with some of the largest life, non-life and health insurers in the region, helping them digitize the front-end and back-end operations for products such as life, accident, travel, health and savings insurance.

The technology platform is currently being used by leading insurers in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Vietnam.

-Ends-

About Democrance

Democrance, founded in 2015, is an insurance technology start-up with a mission to enable partnerships that make insurance accessible and affordable for those who need it most. Democrance has created a digital platform that brings together key industries – insurance, remittance houses and telecommunications companies.

By forging new partnerships, we unlock new markets for businesses, while at the same time creating social value for those populations, which have previously been excluded from the benefits, and protection insurance can provide.

Through tapping into technology, we aim to restore insurance to its original purpose of providing mutual aid for those who need it most but can afford it least.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Magdalena Stepien
Tel: +971 56 114 2948
Email: media@democrance.com

UAE start-up makes insurance available to low-income groups

20 Feb 2019

UAE start-up makes insurance available to low-income groups Expand


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An insurance start-up in the UAE is working to disrupt the sector by digitising the insurance value chain to reach underserved customer segments such as low-income brackets.

Through digitisation, Dubai-based Democrance’s platform allows insurers to lower operational and distribution costs to offer more affordable insurance products to low-income people, even those without a bank account.

“In the Middle East and North Africa, less than 20% of the population has a bank account and only 1% can access and afford micro-insurance,” Michele Grosso, co-founder and CEO of Democrance, told Gulf News.

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Making insurance accessible to the lowest income group in UAE

15 Feb 2019

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Dubai: When used right, fintech solutions could offer the easiest way to offer products and services to low-income groups. More so when it comes to delivering insurance-specific solutions.

In the UAE, there are many “insurtech” start-ups that aggregate insurance premium quotes for customers. One company — Democrance — aims to create some disruption by digitising the entire insurance value chain and unlock new customer segments.

The platform allows insurance companies to reduce the distribution and operational costs and offer affordable pricing to low-income individuals who do not have a life insurance, personal accident cover or even a bank account.

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In­no­va­tion in In­surtech: The case for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion

01 Feb 2019

In­no­va­tion in In­surtech: The case for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion Expand


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Michele Grosso ex­plains how tech­nol­ogy can be put to use to help in­sure low-in­come pop­u­la­tions

IN LOW-IN­COME POP­U­LA­TIONS, ba­sic in­sur­ance can of­ten mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween end­ing up on the streets or hav­ing a safety net when an un­ex­pected cri­sis strikes.

Many in de­vel­oped coun­tries do not need to give health, life or ac­ci­dent in­sur­ance a sec­ond thought, but fig­ures from the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion show that 55 per cent of the global pop­u­la­tion are not cov­ered un­der a so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tem.

Why is this a prob­lem? Be­cause fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion – ac­cess to fi­nan­cial prod­ucts and ser­vices such as in­sur­ance re­gard­less of in­come level – is fun­da­men­tal for vul­ner­a­ble groups to com­bat poverty and in­equal­ity at ev­ery stage of their lives. Ac­cess to life in­sur­ance can make all the dif­fer­ence for a bread­win­ner who is ex­posed to oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ards and sup­port­ing his or her fam­ily back home.

Sim­i­larly, un­ex­pected hos­pi­tal bills can eas­ily drive in­di­vid­u­als to per­sonal bank­ruptcy, and those who lose their pos­ses­sions in fires and floods are of­ten not able to eas­ily re­build their lives without some form of pro­tec­tion.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the in­sur­ance pro­tec­tion gap is widest in emerg­ing mar­kets, where only 3 per cent can ac­cess or af­ford in­sur­ance. In the GCC re­gion, one out of two res­i­dents is a mi­grant worker, and con­se­quently mi­grant in­sur­ance is an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant is­sue.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the in­sur­ance pro­tec­tion gap is widest in emerg­ing mar­kets, where only 3 per cent can ac­cess or af­ford in­sur­ance. In the GCC re­gion, one out of two res­i­dents is a mi­grant worker, and con­se­quently mi­grant in­sur­ance is an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant is­sue.

So what is pre­vent­ing mi­grant work­ers from tap­ping into in­sur­ance?

The chal­lenges are man­i­fold, but a ma­jor hin­drance to reach­ing the unin­sured is the high costs as­so­ci­ated with con­ven­tional in­sur­ance mod­els, due to out­dated ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­cesses and ex­pen­sive hu­man dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels. For ex­am­ple, the peo­ple in geo­graph­i­cally-re­mote ar­eas are of­ten un­der­served due to a lack of phys­i­cal ac­cess to in­sur­ance bro­kers.

Other bar­ri­ers in­clude the lack of rel­e­vant prod­ucts, low aware­ness lev­els by, and in­ad­e­quate ac­cess to, low-in­come groups.

Last year, Democrance con­ducted a study, en­ti­tled Life­style and At­ti­tude of Work­ers within the Low-In­come Group in the

UAE, to un­der­stand the needs and wants of low-in­come mi­grant work­ers in the UAE. We found that 43 per cent of re­spon­dents re­gard life in­sur­ance as vi­tal, and yet eight in 10 are unin­sured due to the high pre­mi­ums and lack of in­for­ma­tion. More than a third of re­spon­dents worry about job loss and be­ing un­able to sup­port their fam­i­lies back in their home coun­tries. These are con­cerns and risks that can be ad­dressed by the pro­tec­tion that in­sur­ance of­fers.

In­creas­ingly, and be­cause of gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives such as the in­tro­duc­tion of manda­tory health in­sur­ance, the in­dus­try is look­ing for ways to fur­ther fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and the democrati­sa­tion of in­sur­ance. In par­tic­u­lar, the ad­vent of new In­sur­ance Tech­nol­ogy (In­surTech) can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the costs of sell­ing and ser­vic­ing in­sur­ance poli­cies, boost ef­fi­cien­cies and ac­cu­racy, and help un­lock new cus­tomer seg­ments that were pre­vi­ously not eco­nom­i­cally-vi­able.

In­creas­ingly, and be­cause of gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives such as the in­tro­duc­tion of manda­tory health in­sur­ance, the in­dus­try is look­ing for ways to fur­ther fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and the democrati­sa­tion of in­sur­ance. In par­tic­u­lar, the ad­vent of new In­sur­ance Tech­nol­ogy (In­surTech) can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the costs of sell­ing and ser­vic­ing in­sur­ance poli­cies, boost ef­fi­cien­cies and ac­cu­racy, and help un­lock new cus­tomer seg­ments that were pre­vi­ously not eco­nom­i­cally-vi­able.

New so­lu­tions are on the rise, rang­ing from the wide­spread use of data an­a­lyt­ics to in­form in­sur­ers of cus­tomers’ needs and be­hav­ior pat­terns, to the in­tro­duc­tion of smart sen­sors to help mon­i­tor and col­lect real-time data to gen­er­ate more ac­cu­rate pric­ing and tackle in­sur­ance fraud. For low­in­come pop­u­la­tions specif­i­cally, in­no­va­tion can be as straight­for­ward as util­is­ing mo­bile tech­nol­ogy to al­low cus­tomers to eas­ily buy, use and make claims on their mo­bile phones, giv­ing even un­banked in­di­vid­u­als the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from in­sur­ance.

In short, tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments have the power to drive down costs and fur­ther reach. While there has been a lot of dis­cus­sions about what in­no­va­tion can do to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and the bot­tom line, I strongly be­lieve that tech­nol­ogy is without pur­pose un­less it serves hu­man­ity.

Many of the is­sues that we face to­day, en­shrined in global com­mit­ments such as the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals 2030, are in­cred­i­bly com­plex and will re­quire multi-stake­holder co­op­er­a­tion.

To re­ally make in­sur­ance af­ford­able for all, tech­nol­ogy providers and in­sur­ers need to join hands with dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels ac­ces­si­ble to low-in­come pop­u­la­tions. While I am not sug­gest­ing that tech­nol­ogy alone holds the key to solv­ing all of the world’s press­ing is­sues, I am con­fi­dent that it is in our power to en­sure ba­sic so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tems are in place for those who need pro­tec­tion most but can af­ford it least.

To re­ally make in­sur­ance af­ford­able for all, tech­nol­ogy providers and in­sur­ers need to join hands with dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels ac­ces­si­ble to low-in­come pop­u­la­tions. While I am not sug­gest­ing that tech­nol­ogy alone holds the key to solv­ing all of the world’s press­ing is­sues, I am con­fi­dent that it is in our power to en­sure ba­sic so­cial pro­tec­tion sys­tems are in place for those who need pro­tec­tion most but can af­ford it least.

AIG MEA and UAE based Startup Democrance Partner to Disrupt Traditional Insurance Landscape

06 Jan 2019

AIG MEA and UAE based Startup Democrance Partner to Disrupt Traditional Insurance Landscape Expand


06 Jan 2019 Share link

• AIG to leverage Democrance’s tech expertise to boost distribution, administration and operational process efficiencies
• Democrance to support AIG in tapping into new customer segments through digital channels.

 

Dubai, UAE: 06 January, 2019 – Insurance Technology (InsurTech) startup Democrance entered into a unique partnership with AIG MEA (American International Group in MEA) to better serve its existing customer base, access new market segments and boost the efficiencies of AIG’s current distribution, administration and operation processes.

Under this partnership, Democrance is mandated to support AIG MEA in digitizing its operations in the UAE, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman by integrating the Democrance platform with mobile and digital channels to serve existing and new customer segments.
Democrance provides front-end solutions – digital and mobile distribution of Personal Lines insurance products – as well as back-end policy and claims administration support. Through doing so, it automates what has traditionally been manual processes and enables product sales and administration at lower cost and with greater efficiency.

Michele Grosso, Co-Founder and CEO of Democrance, said: “We are excited to establish this new synergy with AIG MEA that gives us an opportunity to shake-up the industry and help insurers stay ahead of the curve in today’s digital age. The Democrance platform enables insurance products to be delivered seamlessly to a wider audience, and unlocks new customer segments for insurers because of reduced overheads.”

Claire Ryan, Head of Personal Insurance, AIG MEA, said: “The insurance market needs digital solutions to stay relevant and drive new growth. This platform puts a whole new spin on managing the overall customer experience in the insurance industry through digitization to make the products more accessible and the processes more convenient. We are confident that this new model will enable us to better serve our existing customer base, as well as expand into new segments.”

Democrance’s platform is capable of servicing millions of customers and significantly reducing the administrative and servicing costs of insurance products. The lowered costs open up previously inaccessible markets and customer segments for insurers.

 

About Democrance
Democrance, founded in 2015, is an insurance technology startup with a mission to enable partnerships that make insurance accessible and affordable for those who need it most. Democrance has created a digital platform that brings together two key industries – insurance and telecommunications.

By forging new partnerships, we unlock new markets for businesses, while at the same time creating social value for populations that have previously been excluded from the benefits and protection insurance can provide.

Through tapping into technology, we aim to restore the original purpose of insurance of providing mutual aid for those who need it most but can afford it least.

 

About AIG
AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. This document carries summary information only. Products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of AIG Inc. including through American Home Assurance Company (Dubai br.), AIG Egypt Insurance Company SAE (regulated by the Financial Regulatory Authority “FRA”), AIG MEA Limited and its branches AIG MEA Limited (QFC Branch) (regulated by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority); AIG MEA Limited (Oman Branch) (regulated by the Capital Market Authority, Oman) and AIG MEA Limited (Kuwait Branch) (regulated by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Kuwait). Please visit our website at www.aig.com for additional information, including information regarding the registered office address of our entities.

 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Magdalena Stepien
APCO Worldwide
Tel: +971 56 114 2948
Email: mstepien@apcoworldwide.com

Microinsurance: One Startup “Insures” Better Future for MENA Region’s Poorest

29 Dec 2018

Microinsurance: One Startup “Insures” Better Future for MENA Region’s Poorest Expand


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Insurance technology (InsurTech), a new sector in the global startup scene, is attracting a growing number of companies that are revolutionizing the world of insurance using new digital technologies. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Democrance is on a mission to provide insurance to the region’s poor through mobile technology.

More than half of the world’s population does not have access to essential health services, according to a 2017 report from the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Currently, 800 million people globally spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child, or other family members, according to the report. These expenses drive many people—the report says almost 100 million—into extreme poverty, forcing them to survive on $1.90 a day, or sometimes even less.

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The Next Frontier For Telcos: Embracing Innovation Through Purpose-Led Value Propositions

24 Jul 2018

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24 Jul 2018 Share link

Nearly every traditional industry has faced some form of disruption in the past decade, and the pace of change is picking up. The telecommunications space has been one of the most impacted, with over-the-top (OTT) players offering services directly to consumers via the internet. Innovation has led to telcos seeing intense pressure on their core business –local and international voice calls and SMS– while revenue growth remains led by data services.

Many players are now defending their businesses while trying to enhance the customer experience through digital transformation. A PwC 2017 Telecommunications Trends report revealed that the average revenue per user (ARPU) in the telecommunications industry has been falling in nearly every region. Having faced stagnation in the past few years, telcos are exploring opportunities across verticals to diversify revenue streams

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Generation Start-up: Dubai's Democrance to help region's poorest access insurance

23 Jun 2018

Generation Start-up: Dubai's Democrance to help region's poorest access insurance Expand


23 Jun 2018 Share link

A Dubai start-up plans to give the Middle-East’s low-income population access to insurance cover – one mobile phone user at a time.

About 99 per cent of the region’s low-income population cannot afford or secure protection, according to insurance technology firm Democrance, and large companies do not serve them – much to the frustration of the company’ s co-founder Michele Grosso.

“Unfortunately in emerging markets, a lot of social security isn’t efficient and public healthcare may not exist and that’s why we started Democrance,” says Mr Grosso. “Insurance companies sell policies in a traditional way where you need to talk to a broker, review and sign pages of a contract that’s hard to understand and pay with a credit card; these are all barriers to entry for the low-income population.”

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Closing the Protection Gap

15 Mar 2018

Closing the Protection Gap Expand


15 Mar 2018 Share link

 

Swiss Re estimates the world protection gap at more than US$1.7 trillion, based on the di erence between current levels of insurance coverage and the value of assets and lives at risk.

• Nat-CAT protection gap in the Middle East is among the biggest in the world, and the recent disasters draw a ention to the wide gap. To make things worse, there is substantial underinsurance in life and health cover.

• Nat-CAT gap has increased during the past 25 years, and the global property protection gap has almost tripled over the past four decades.

“Nowhere in the world is insurance more needed and yet the protection gap is the widest than in the emerging markets. While global insurance penetration rate stands at 6%, that of emerging markets reach only half that gure,” said Mr Michele Grosso, Co-founder and CEO of Democrance, an InsurTech startup based in the UAE.

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Bringing insurance benefits for everyone

28 Feb 2018

Bringing insurance benefits for everyone Expand


28 Feb 2018 Share link

Current insurance penetration levels are low across emerging markets despite huge demand and greater awareness. In the Middle East and North Africa region, only one per cent of the low-income population can access and afford microinsurance.

Michele Grosso – who has worked with some of the largest insurance companies in France, Egypt and the UAE – realised that the industry lacked innovation and technological readiness to scale their products to emerging consumers. He launched Democrance in 2015 to help insurers address this market and make insurance accessible for those who need it most but can afford it least.

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USD 500,000 Grant Secured to further Develop Sustainable Microinsurance Model

18 Dec 2017

USD 500,000 Grant Secured to further Develop Sustainable Microinsurance Model Expand


18 Dec 2017 Share link

The project, in collaboration with IFAD, a specialised agency of the United Nations, the European Commission and Luxembourg based NGO ADA specialising in inclusive finance, aims to harness technology to reduce the vulnerability of migrants working in the UAE by providing insurance protection for those who need it most but can afford it least.

Dubai, UAE, 18 December, 2017 — Democrance, a UAE based insurance technology startup, has entered a partnership with ADA, an inclusive finance specialist NGO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a United Nations (UN) specialised agency, to develop a sustainable microinsurance model that provides insurance protection to low income group migrants working in the UAE. With remittances being key to financial inclusion for a large part of the global population, the project involves the usage of money transfer operators (MTOs) as insurance delivery channels, a truly innovative approach to inclusive finance which has never been explored before.

The project aims to achieve greater financial inclusion of migrant workers, with a focus on UAE-Philippines and UAE-India remittance corridors. Following the launch of a Call for Proposals by IFAD, the funding, which includes contributions from IFAD, the EC, ADA and Democrance, was awarded at the end of a highly competitive selection process.

Michele Grosso, Co-Founder and CEO of Democrance, said: “At Democrance, we use technology to make insurance accessible and affordable: by digitizing the value chain, we substantially reduce the operational costs of insurance providers, passing on the benefits directly to the end customer while creating value for all those involved. Through this grant, Democrance will be able to draw on the invaluable support and wealth of microinsurance expertise from both, IFAD and ADA, allowing us to further develop a user friendly and well defined product, which for the first time will use remittance houses as the insurance medium to the benefit of migrant workers.”

Democrance will act as the technology and implementation partner for this project with ADA (Appui au Développement Autonome), a non- government organization dedicated to increasing the financial inclusion of populations excluded from conventional banking channels in developing countries.

Among the Gulf countries – with 20 million migrants – the UAE, with an estimated 8 million migrants, has been selected as the right country to pilot this project. It has a favourable payments system environment and a well-developed remittance industry, with more than 139 registered and authorized foreign exchange and remittance companies, with 835 branches across the UAE. Within the UAE, the target groups will be the represented Indian and Filipino communities with 2.3 and 0.9 million people, respectively.

Arnaud de Lavalette, Senior Digital Finance Officer, ADA, said: “The migrant workers in the UAE have access, through governmental plans, to basic health insurance coverage, but this is still a limited offering. If they are affected by a mishap and cannot send remittances for a period of time, their own families can descend rapidly into poverty. The objective of this project is to reduce this gap in risk coverage by leveraging on an already established financial transaction, the remittance, and providing insurance to the migrant workers.”

The UAE is one of the largest remittance-sending countries in the world. According to IFAD figures in 2015, USD 30.1 billion was sent from the UAE to other countries, with India being the largest beneficiary with USD 12.6 billion (#1), and the Philippines with $3.5 billion (#3). Insurance, together with credit, savings, remittances and, in general, payment systems is an instrument to achieve financial inclusion among unbanked persons.

ENDS

About Democrance
Democrance, founded in 2015, is an insurance technology start-up with a mission to enable partnerships that make insurance accessible and affordable for those who need it most. Democrance has created a digital platform that brings together two key industries  – insurance and telecommunications companies.
By forging new partnerships, we unlock new markets for businesses, while at the same time creating social value for those populations, which have previously been excluded from the benefits, and protection insurance can provide.
Through tapping into technology, we aim to restore insurance to its original purpose of providing mutual aid for those who need it most but can afford it least.

About ADA
ADA, Appui au Développement Autonome, is a Luxembourg based NGO created in 1994.  Its mission is to develop and promote inclusive finance as a means to alleviate poverty throughout the world and primarily on the Less Developed Countries. ADA has focused its activities on the support of microfinance institutions.

About IFAD
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided over US$18 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 462 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Magdalena Stepien
Email: media@democrance.com
 

Press Release: USD 800,000 in Seed funding led by Jabbar and Eos Venture Partners

22 Oct 2017

Press Release: USD 800,000 in Seed funding led by Jabbar and Eos Venture Partners Expand


22 Oct 2017 Share link

The first investment in a social enterprise led by Dubai based investment fund Jabbar and London based Eos Venture Partners 

Dubai, UAE, 22 October, 2017 — Democrance, a UAE based insurance technology startup with a mission to enable partnerships that make insurance accessible and affordable for those who need it most, raised USD 800,000 during its first round of funding.

Leading regional and global individual and institutional investors participated in this round, including Jabbar Internet Group, one of the most prominent investors in internet and technology companies in the Arab World and Eos Venture Partners, a global InsurTech (Insurance-Technology) Venture Capital investor based in London.

Other investors included Turn8 from the UAE, F-Horizon Group from Saudi Arabia, Seedstars from Switzerland and several angel investors from the UAE and broader MENA region, Europe, South Asia and the United States.

Michele Grosso, Co-Founder and CEO of Democrance, said: “We are excited to implement ground breaking technology through a social enterprise model and provide insurance to income groups that need it, but face numerous barriers in attaining it. Democrance is the first regional insurance technology platform of its kind, and this important first investment will enable us to further develop our technology and broaden our reach.”

Democrance is set to pave the way in developing the InsurTech industry along with educating the public about its usages and benefits. The digital platform brings together insurance and telecommunication companies, allowing users to get access to insurance through their mobile phone, without even having access to a bank account.

Samih Toukan, Chairman of Jabbar, said: “Investing in Democrance aligns with our vision to embrace entrepreneurs in the Arab World who are willing to innovate and take risks to create something great. The technological advancement that Democrance has brought to the market is not only pivotal in terms of developing the insurance industry but critical to society’s welfare as it is inclusive and covers the working class that would typically not have easy access to insurance.”

Sam Evans, Founder and General Partner of Eos Venture Partners said: ” At Eos we have a strong focus on developing markets where we believe the impact of new technology, like Democrance, can have a profound impact. Our focus as a global InsurTech specialized fund is to bridge the ‘digital chasm’ between InsurTech start-ups and traditional insurance companies. Democrance embodies this principle perfectly.”

Worldwide insurance penetration stands at 6%, while emerging markets reach only half of that figure. In the MENA region, only 1% of the lower-income population can access and afford microinsurance. Democrance has set itself a target to provide access to basic life and health insurance to 15 million low-income people across the MENA region by the year 2020 – a population segment in which majority have never been insured before.

Ends

About Democrance

Democrance, founded in 2015, is an insurance technology start-up with a mission to enable partnerships that make insurance accessible and affordable for those who need it most. Democrance has created a digital platform that brings together two key industries  – insurance and telecommunications companies.

By forging new partnerships, we unlock new markets for businesses, while at the same time creating social value for those populations, which have previously been excluded from the benefits, and protection insurance can provide.

Through tapping into technology, we aim to restore insurance to its original purpose of providing mutual aid for those who need it most but can afford it least.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Magdalena Stepien
Email: media@democrance.com
 

Democrance ranked among Forbest Best Startups for the second year in a row

03 Oct 2017

Democrance ranked among Forbest Best Startups for the second year in a row Expand


03 Oct 2017 Share link

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2016: 50 UAE Startup to Watch [link]
2017: Top 100 Startups in The Arab World [link]

Singapore: UAE InsurTech firm receives award from MetLife

23 May 2017

Singapore: UAE InsurTech firm receives award from MetLife Expand


23 May 2017 Share link

UAE-based startup, Democrance, has received the “Judge’s Selection” award from LumenLab’s inaugural corporate-startup engagement programme, collab.

LumenLab, MetLife’s Singapore-based innovation centre, announced this after Demo Day last Friday that took place in Singapore.

Democrance is the first mobile microinsurance partner in the Middle East and Northern Africa. It aims to make insurance available to a wider population by working as a strategic partner with insurance companies on one side, and telecom operators on the other, to utilise the mobile phone as a tool to reach the low- and middle- income segments, which can then just use their mobile phones to “buy, pay for and use insurance products”. The startup, founded in 2015, focuses solely on the MENA market for now.

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Startup Democrance Makes Insurance Accessible For MENA's Low-Income Population

05 May 2017

Startup Democrance Makes Insurance Accessible For MENA's Low-Income Population Expand


05 May 2017 Share link

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Sindhu Hariharan

In the MENA region (and perhaps the world over), ask fintech entrepreneurs about their startup’s core business, and chances are that it’s likely to be around digital payments, peer-to-peer lending, or blockchain. While these fintech businesses have dominated investor and funding action for a while now, one can’t exactly say the same for innovations happening in the insurance space. However, globally, upstarts are emerging to change this scenario, and the insurance industry is seeing increased collaborations between the old and new guard.

According to CB Insights data, the annual deal activity in the insurance-technology (insurtech) space clocked US$1.69 billion in 2016, with the number of deals rising 42% on a year-on-year basis. Not just that, in a positive sign for aspiring insurtech entrepreneurs, “two of every three deals in 2016” took place at the early-stage. Be it through the application of artificial intelligence in insurance, or by facilitating microinsurance, this new breed of fintech startups are beginning to make their presence felt. One such entrepreneur who has entered the MENA region’s insurance sector is Michele Grosso, founder and CEO, Democrance, an insurtech startup based in the UAE. Given his passion for microinsurance (a model focused on insuring low-income people) and its impact on society, Grosso was surprised to learn that the concept was “simply not available” in the region.

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Fincluders Startup Challenge

07 Apr 2017

Fincluders Startup Challenge Expand


07 Apr 2017 Share link

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And the Winner is…

After 15 exciting pitches and demanding questions by the high level jury, a very difficult choice had to be made to select the three winners of the Fincluders Startup Challenge prizes. Out of the all round excellent field of contenders the following startups were awarded prizes at the thrilling award-ceremony.

The main sponsor of the event, the SANAD Fund for MSME’s Technical Assistance Facility, congratulates the winners of the pitching competition and expresses its gratitude to everyone who contributed in making the Fincluders Event such a success.

Third place and its cash award of USD 5,000 went to UAE-based Democrance, a micro-insurance provider for low-income populations. The prize was sponsored by ZAIN, the leading mobile and data services provider in MENA. The trophy was presented by ZAIN Jordan CEO Ahmed Hanandeh.

Democrance’s mission of making insurance accessible and affordable for the lower-income population through the power of modern technology convinced the jury in nominating this promising fintech as the third startup on the winners’ podium.

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Making insurance accessible for everyone

03 Apr 2017

Making insurance accessible for everyone Expand


03 Apr 2017 Share link

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There are 350 million low- to middle-income people in MENA who do not have access to any sort of insurance. For this segment, risk protection tools such as life insurance, social security, public healthcare, personal and family savings would be life-changing.

Recognising the opportunity, Michele Grosso, founder and CEO of Democrance (www.democrance.com), decided to do something about it. He has spent over seven years in the insurance industry, first with AXA and then with MetLife, across Paris, Cairo and Dubai. He has seen first-hand how providing insurance to the masses could solve social challenges in the region. He decided to channel his knowledge and passion for this business and convert it into a profitable and meaningful venture.

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Microinsurance - Protecting migrant workers from risk

01 Sep 2016

Microinsurance - Protecting migrant workers from risk Expand


01 Sep 2016 Share link

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With one in two residents in the GCC being a migrant worker, there is much that insurers can do to protect their interests, say Ms Annalisa Bianchessi of the Microinsurance Network and Mr Michele Grosso of Democrance.

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Our Supporters

Democrance is indebted to a number of supporters, who continue helping us on our journey: