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Flipkart enters insurance business, offers smartphone protection

Walmart-backed online retailer Flipkart said on October 7 that it is foraying into insurance after securing a corporate agent license. To start with, the company said it will offer customised insurance solutions to power its ‘complete mobile protection program.’ It will do this for all leading mobile brands being sold on its platform in partnership with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Flipkart said the programme will offer both cash payout option or free pick up, service and drop convenience to customers.

“We want to put this choice in their [customers] hands and give them the chance to soothe their worries by protecting their valued purchase,” said Ravi Garikipati, senior vice-president and head of fintech, Flipkart.

The announcement comes at a time when Flipkart’s rivals Amazon and Paytm are also eyeing Indian insurance industry which is expected to grow to $280 billion by 2020, according to a joint study by industry body Assocham and research firm APAS.

The insurance will be available from October 10, 2018, the start of Flipkart’s festive season sale ‘The Big Billion Days’ (TBBD). India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China, overtaking the U.S last year, according to research firm Canalys. Flipkart said its share of online phone sales is currently about 65%.

“We together are starting with…complete protection plan for mobile phones, in a category that Flipkart leads, adding value for millions of its customers,” said Tapan Singhel, MD and CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.

Flipkart said that estimates suggest about 36% of mobile phone users in India own smartphones. The company said the biggest worry for customers is damaging their screens or having their phone stolen, both of which are prevalent. Other than the warranties offered by manufacturers, there are no large-scale microinsurance offerings for customers, “who may not even know where to begin looking for one,” said Flipkart.

The company said that customers will be able to purchase the insurance plan at the same time as they buy the mobile phone, at a nominal price point starting from ₹99.

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