Dubai: AXA in the Gulf launched new insurance services in collaboration with RISE, a financial technology (FinTech) company that democratises access to financial services for migrant workers and domestic helpers. The new offering is powered by the Democrance digital platform and supported by AXA Emerging Customers. This global initiative aims to improve financial inclusion and better serve the emerging middle class by accelerating the development of insurance and protection service offerings, catering to the needs of low- and middle-income individuals.
The solution was designed based on extensive research and RISE’s robust experience of working with thousands of migrants in the UAE. Building upon customer research conducted in the UAE, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, AXA and RISE recognised a clear need for insurance products tailored to the specific requirements of migrant workers in the UAE and for their families back in their home countries.
“Despite the safety nets which exist in the UAE, ‘not being able to send money home’ remains a top-of-mind risk. Half of the workers we surveyed couldn’t send money home at least once last year, mostly due to sickness, accidents or job loss. This stems from the fact that apart from the national health plan, the majority of migrant workers do not have any other private insurance”, said Michal Matul, senior advisor to AXA Emerging Customers. “In addition, insurance covering family members at home is a critical need. In the UAE, three-quarters of workers were faced with emergency cash demands from home at least once last year, which they have a hard time addressing, for example through expensive loans.”
The research informed the development of a two-pronged insurance solution – securing money transfers in case migrant workers cannot send money home, and leveraging remittance flows to provide transparent and easy-to-use insurance products that cover family members in their country of origin. AXA has since launched these innovative solutions across various markets in 2018, including Malaysia in close collaboration with Merchantrade, the leading money transfer operator and Bank Negara, the local regulator.
RISE has been working with financial service providers since 2017, and this product will be a new service offering for its customers. The new insurance product, covering the risk of accidental death and disability will be introduced based on a freemium model, where RISE’s tens of thousands of customers will be offered the insurance complimentary, whilst an enhanced version with additional coverage for medical expenses and body repatriation can be purchased by customers at affordable monthly rates. The products were designed to be as simple as possible, with adapted terms and conditions that can be easily understood by all, free from the traditional exclusions usually present in these policies.
“We started RISE to democratise access to essential financial services for low-income migrants. Our customers are often the sole breadwinners for their families and any event which impacts them or impacts their family back home, puts stress on the entire family unit. We are excited to be working with AXA and co-creating products that matter, which alleviate some of this potential stress and help our customers build a better future,” said Padmini Gupta and Milind Singh, Co-Founders of Rise.
The collaboration with AXA Gulf and Democrance will enable RISE’s customers to tap into an insurance product that would not be available anywhere else, and to test it first at no extra charge to assess its relevance and ease of use. The product will be integrated onto RISE’s platform leveraging Democrance’s technology, so customers only need their mobile phone to be informed, purchase and make claims for their insurance. Claims processes and documents, accessible at any time, have been simplified to allow insured or beneficiaries to get payouts quickly.
On the partnership, Michele Grosso, CEO and Co-founder of Democrance, said: “The UAE is one of the largest remittance-sending countries in the world, with India as the largest beneficiary at $12.6 billion, followed by the Philippines at $3.5 billion, according to IFAD figures in 2015. We have witnessed rising demand for financial solutions especially for low-income populations who are most at risk and require social protection. Through meaningful partnerships such as these, we can work towards closing the protection gap and create accessible financial products to form an ecosystem that supports financial inclusion.”
Freemium strategies, where insurance is offered to clients as a reward for loyalty, have already been proven in markets such as Africa and Asia. AXA has worked with over a dozen mobile network operators and mobile money operators, designing products to educate customers and clients about insurance at no extra charge.
“Our objective is to further contribute towards protecting everyone in the UAE, which is in line with our strategy of becoming a more encouraging partner for our customers. Taking stock of the role played by migrant workers in infrastructure and development, authorities in the UAE have set up essential social protection schemes such as the National Health Plan or Wages Protection System for the millions of diaspora workers coming from India, Pakistan, the Philippines and other countries. We are pleased that AXA Gulf can contribute to supplement these schemes for those that need protection the most, but traditionally have been underserved,” said Paul Adamson, CEO of AXA Gulf.