Digital takaful for the B40.
Coming from a B40 background himself, former chemical engineer Sathiamurthi Ramanaidu sees that temporary aids are not what this group needs, especially during emergencies. There should be safety nets to provide them with the continuity for their future. GFlex40, a company he jointly founded, has come up with an eTakaful model which will make insurance cheaper and easily accessible to the common folk. The product is backed by a large local takaful operator and international retakaful companies.
As it stands, Insurance coverage for this B40 group is very low; while 32% of Malaysians have life insurance, only 10% of the B40 group is insured.
“Unfortunately, this is the group that suffers the most if the breadwinner dies; oftentimes, the children have to stop schooling and families sometimes even get evicted from their homes,’’ said Sathiamurthi, CEO of GFlex 40.
“By leveraging the power of technology and community networks, we hope to change this situation and bring this safety net to B40 families,’’ he said.
Taqafully, which will be the company’s first product, will be offered through its platform; of special interest will be its availability through channel partners such as telcos, pharmacies and chain stores. Pending final approvals, it is expected to be launched in July.
Long Time Vision.
GFlex40 has a long term vision of also working with partners to offer micro-credit and micro-medical insurance to the B40 group. Micro-credit will help these families obtain small loans at reasonable profits or interest, and they will not have to resort to loan sharks, pawn shops or even personal loans. Micro medical insurance helps these families when illness strikes the breadwinner, suddenly sinking them into severe poverty.
“Often times, diseases that can be managed with proper medical care, end up instead in loss of limbs, paralysis and even death. “Micro medical policies will help them seek treatment,’’ he said.
As a project manager and director, Sathiamurthi has worked for almost 17 years around the world, building chemical complexes in South America, Europe, China and Asia. “I grew up in the estates of Pahang, but I got lucky in life. I had many people helping me to get to where I am. “So I always have this desire to give back to those who need help most,’’ he said. His company plans to have 18 staff in various senior positions, primarily in technology and customer service. It aims to be the digital channel of choice for the B40 group for family takaful, and provide coverage to almost two million of them within five years.
“Post MCO, we believe the market will be more receptive to digital takaful,’’ he said. A start-up company, GFlex40 is backed by equity partners that include a major reinsurance broker, its reinsurance partners, and one of the largest insurance companies in Asia with a presence in Malaysia. With its digital focus on takaful, GFlex40 received strong interest at the Myfintech Week in June last year and has since converted much of this into tangible partnerships. Eventually, the company aims to establish itself as the leading digital takaful and insurer in the region for all income brackets especially millenials.
Yap Leng Kuen had a respected career as a senior business editor and widely read columnist speaking plainly, for the leading local newspaper. She continues to write Plain Speaking for The Star Online.
I am delighted to share her view points and insights, here.