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SoftBank-Backed Policybazaar Is Aiming For 2021 IPO

CIO Insider Team

Policybazaar platforms users for comparing life, health, auto, travel and property policies from 40 insurers on the website without intervention of conventional agents that sell policies on incentives.

Now, the online insurance platform is aiming to go public in 2021 at a valuation worth $3.5 billion. Through this it can become the first Indian mega-startup debuting as digital economy increases.

Policybazaar has plans of securing about $250 million in a round of financing at a $2 billion plus valuation before September 2021 initial public offering as reported by Yashish Dahiya (Chief Executive Officer, Policybazaar, parent ETech Aces Marketing and Consulting Pvt.) to Bloomberg News. As per Dahiya, Policybazaar at present is selecting two-three IPO lead underwriters from a roster which has several Wall Street Banks.

Dahiya also said, “We have global interest and will be raised in the coming weeks.”

Policybazaar counts SoftBank Groups Vision Fund, Tiger Global and Tencent among the largest backers, is set to become India’s upstarts to go public. Similar to Ola, Flipkart, and Paytm, Policybazaar firm had upswell of internet and mobile use that spurred digital services in India. It might have plans of coming-out party of another SoftBank-backed insurer – Lemonade that soared

on the U.S. debut previous month.

Policybazaar plans to list in Mumbai, however, Dahiya said that he is considering a dual listing if rules change.

India is also helping companies to list overseas and many startups have incorporated in countries like Singapore and the U.S. due to friendlier public listing rules than other countries. Though there is prohibition for sensitive sectors like the financial services sector. SoftBank and Singaporean state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte each hold around 15 percent stake each in the startup while Tencent and Tiger have 10 percent and 8 percent respectively.

Policybazaar falls under the clutch of fintech startups which seek to upend the stranglehold of state and bank-backed insurers in a tightly regulated financial services segment. Similar to Amazon and Alibaba Group-backed Paytm, Policybazaar is trying to go large by intervening in the huge population of under-insured and non-insured Indians. Government has recently pushed health insurance plans to the less privileged and the overall insurance penetration hovered at less than 4 percent in 2017 (IBEF report).

In times when economic conditions are facing uncertainties, this young insurable population is growing in middle class and creating awareness for the need of retirement planning. The industry is supposed to touch $280 billion in revenues this year and expand by 14 percent to 15 percent yearly in the next three to five years (IBEF).

Policybazaar is helping to sell about a million policies every month. Policybazaar’s customer service reps help users settle claims, redeem paybacks and amend policies. Policybazaar’s sister unit Paisabazaar facilitates loans, credit cards and sells mutual funds tapping an adjacent Indian digital payments market forecase by Credit Suisse to cross $1 trillion by 2022.

Policybazaar’s insurance is creating India’s middle classes that never had health or life insurance facilities to explore the market as per Dahiya. Only less than a fourth of the 45 million India’s population are currently subscribing to an individual health plan and get insurance for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dahiya said, “The rest of the population has ‘a’ plan, however, the middle India has no support.” In the recent years, a government-funded program has covered half a billion of India’s underprivileged.

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