Dubai-based insurance technology startup Aqeed has launched cloud-based tools Aqeed Sales and Aqeed Brokers to help insurance brokers go online, the startup announced in a statement to MENAbytes last week.
Aqeed Sales, according to the statement, is a Shopify-like platform (SaaS) to help offline insurance brokers set-up their own digital stores to sell insurance online, without investing their resources in the software. Aqeed Broker, on the other hand, will supplement the front-end store as the back-end tool, enabling insurance brokers to manage policy issuance, verify documents, update insurance plans, add new products, and manage renewals.
Aqeed that was launched in 2018 with $18 million of funding from its corporate founders has been selling insurance itself as well through its marketplace but when asked if launching a software product to help brokers go online is not a conflict of interest for the company, Hadi Radwan, CEO of Aqeed told MENAbytes that their marketplace is licensed to a local broker and they just send them the leads.
“We don’t own any data or transact with customers as it is illegal to do that. The licensed broker is using our leads only and they usually contact the customer and close the sale. Today, with our white-label technology, any insurance broker can set up their e-commerce store, use our marketplace technology, and sell online with zero IT or development cost from their side,” said Hadi, in a conversation with MENAbytes.
The company doesn’t want to be an insurance aggregator anymore anyway. We’re not sure if we could label this a pivot as Aqeed’s platform still allow customers to request quotes for insurance but it is a big change for a platform that was launched to sell insurance online, nevertheless.
“We are moving away from being an insurance aggregator and we are positioned more as an insurance technology company whereby we provide insurance-as-a-service solutions across the whole value chain. That was always our goal, not to compete but to enable,” explained Hadi, speaking to MENAbytes.
“Our vision was always to make insurance simple. However, we started with Aqeed Marketplace as our hook into the market and noticed that the right direction is to enable other players rather than compete. We believe the new suite of tools will help all insurance players become more efficient and open new distribution channels for them,” he added.
Aqeed in the statement said that insurance brokers and offline insurance aggregators [in the UAE] continue to offer their customers a limited number of insurance quotes through email which is an inefficient and slow medium of communication for something like this, “In a world of instant gratification, customers are always looking for solutions for their problems instantly, rather than back-and-forth communication. With Aqeed Sales, any broker can now become an online insurance aggregator bringing real-time pricing, unlimited number of insurance options to their clients, and the ability to capture payments online in seconds.”
Hadi, explaining it further, said that insurance distribution in UAE and in the region is still sold primarily by traditional, offline insurance brokers, who are looking to become digital players, “We saw an opportunity to enable insurance brokers to capture that opportunity in e-commerce without wasting time and money on developing their own solution and focus on what matters most – selling.”
“We opted to create this white-label end-to-end e-commerce insurance platform to enable brokers to grow through multi-channel integration such as their own website, or through their existing sales force, who will now be digitally enabled to quote and bind in minutes rather than hours, or days,” he added.
Aqeed did not share the exact pricing details of these new products but told us that their solution is a Platform-as-a-Service where they charge a fixed fee per policy or quotation from the brokers, “It is a simple monthly subscription that you can cancel at any time with no commitments. Consider us the “Shopify for Insurance”. We don’t have the rate public as it varies by the broker and their size.”
Aqeed earlier this year had also launched an HR SaaS well for SMEs, enabling them to manage their HR, payroll, medical insurance, and employee benefits.