Indie introduces life insurance for digital generation

Regina Pazvakavambwa
By Regina Pazvakavambwa, ITWeb portals journalist.
Johannesburg, 03 Nov 2017
Peter Castleden, Indie CEO
Peter Castleden, Indie CEO

Sanlam-backed fintech start-up Indie has introduced its first product - an online life insurance offering targeted at young adults.

The company says its offering is aimed at gaining a first-mover advantage among the growing digital generation. The life insurance is designed by Indie and underwritten by Sanlam, it adds. The offering includes income protection, debt protection, life cover, disability income, funeral as well as dread disease cover, and is bundled with a built-in investment, says Indie.

After signing up, either through the broker platform, which will be online soon, or direct via the Web or mobile interface, Indie users get rewarded with "Bounty" - real money that gets invested on their behalf to generate wealth for them over time, says Indie.

The initial amount is related to their age and premium and is invested in a money market fund by default, it adds. This sum can remain invested to benefit from the power of compounding interest, with the option to diversify the allocation of funds, until the client reaches the age of 70, says Peter Castleden, Indie CEO.

The full bounty and interest earned is then paid out. A portion can also be drawn every five years with CashDrops, should all premiums be paid during this time, he adds.

"The design is such that, through gamified 'CashDrops', the cost of life cover is almost cancelled out by the cash perks received by members."

CashDrops are released when users reach "milestones" - and it takes 60 points to reach a milestone, says Castleden. "Each premium paid, for example, earns one point, but there are numerous ways clients can earn points. They can refer a friend, which both boosts their Bounty, and earns them points towards their milestones.

"Many large corporations are struggling to innovate, but they understand that without this ability they risk being disrupted by nimble start-ups." To address this issue, Sanlam chose to fund and support a new decentralised, external start-up, which is able to disrupt the company's own business, explains Castleden.

According to Castleden, Indie is the quintessential example of how a large, established entity like Sanlam can foster entrepreneurship by dedicating resources to innovative businesses, without being weighed down with the slow-turning processes inherent within large corporate culture.

"Our first challenge is to demonstrate that buying insurance isn't the grudge purchase it's often seen as. It's about showing that insuring your greatest asset - your ability to earn an income - is one of the most important investments you'll ever make. Not only this, but being financially prepared can be more profitable than you might think."

"Rather than perpetuate the industry paradigm, where features and more options are added to differentiate, Indie has created a technology platform that simplifies both the broker and direct sales channels.

This hybrid model demands minimised underwriting requirements and offers a simple product suite to deliver fit-for-purpose life insurance."

"With Indie, young adults gain access to the financial security that enables them to get on with life. It seems obvious, but life insurance should be less about death and disability, and more about life. We celebrate all that it means to be unapologetically young and alive."