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.