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PhonePe turning into super app: Forays into insurance segment targeting travellers

Sandeep Soni
PhonePe, fresh capital, parent company, PhonePe Pvt Ltd

Walmart-owned digital payments company PhonePe on Thursday launched an insurance offering in partnership with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. The company has started with travel insurance for leisure and business travellers to buy while travelling abroad across 220 countries offering sum insured of up to $1 million. PhonePe, which competes with Alibaba-backed Paytm, Google Pay, etc in hyper-competitive India's digital payments market that is likely to become $1 trillion in size by 2023 as per Credit Suisse, claimed to be India's first such digital payment platform to launch international travel insurance.

"While we were evaluating different products, we found that in insurance products, the adoption of online medium in travel insurance is already quite high. Customers buying insurance on their own is becoming a usual practice. With 70 per cent of travel booking happening online, we believe this category is ready to move from web to mobile," said Gunjan Ghai, Head of Insurance, Phonepe told Financial Express Online.

The insurance product offered doesn't have an age limit cap and also customers don't have to go through medical tests before buying the product. The $1-million cover is being offered keeping in mind the older travellers who travel for longer periods. The pricing, which starts at Rs 216, said Gunjan was arrived at in order to "attract customers of all income segments and age groups. Hence we wanted to have a wide range — low insurance cover at low ticket size and high insurance cover for people who need it.".

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Insurance product is another addition to the company's growing portfolio of products offering multiple products within a single app — something known as super app phenomenon. The company currently has more than 175 million users and 8.7 million merchant outlets. Apart from sending and receiving money, customers can recharge mobile, DTH, data cards, make utility payments, buy gold apart from using services of 90 apps including Ola, Myntra, IRCTC, Goibibo, redBus, Oyo, and Treebo, etc. from the PhonePe app itself.

"We are heading in that (super app) direction because we wanted to solve consumer needs. What we see is a big trend at PhonePe. 1.6 billion times customers open PhonePe monthly which means around 5.5 crore times on a daily basis. If customers are coming that often it is important for us to engage with them," said Hemant Gala, Head Payments, Banking and Financial Services, PhonePe. The company will be launching "a bunch of financial products" this year which "we feel are very relevant for users in the Indian context on PhonePe," Gala added.