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Women in Power: How Can InsurTechs Help Women-Run Businesses With a Little More Ease?

Zopper Team Basics of Insurance March 7th, 2024

"If you don't take the first step, you'll never discover your true potential. Embrace failure and mistakes as opportunities for growth, as they pave the way for improvement." - These are the words with which Sanchita Basu, 57, owner of House of Basu sums up her journey as an entrepreneur. 

In the history-soaked lanes of Kolkata, Sanchita Basu began her apparel business from her modest 2-bedroom Art Deco soon after her husband’s demise. “I listed my brand online and was receiving 400-500 orders daily and we were making ₹2 Cr annual turnover”, shares Sanchita. But it was in 2020 when the world and with it her business came to a standstill, forcing her to search for a financial injunction in the form of a small business loan. Desperate for financial support, she sought a small business loan with the guidance of her son-in-law, who accompanied her to a local bank. There, they secured a micro-credit and urged her to invest in a robust Loan Protection Plan from the same bank, ensuring security for the future. The claim settlement journey could be made both efficient and streamlined with InsurTech’s Renewal and Claims module as it did for Rashmi Tandon, whose family owns a heritage store dealing in chikan embroidery.

According to the Women in India's Startup Ecosystem Report (WISER), the thriving startup ecosystem has seen female founders like Sanchita Basu transform their entrepreneurial endeavours into thriving businesses, with women-led startups increasing to 18% in India over the past five years. In 2017, India boasted approximately 6,000 businesses, with 10% of them being founded by women. Fast forward to 2022, and the landscape has expanded significantly to accommodate 80,000 businesses, with the proportion of women-led startups soaring to 18%.

But the journey is not an easy one for budding women entrepreneurs. Laxmi Shetty, owner of Hyderabad-based Charter Accountant firm relied on Cyber Insurance to mitigate the possible risks of cyberattacks and data breaches. Women entrepreneurs encounter a myriad of challenges on their path to success. They often face barriers such as limited access to networks, funding, mentorship, and business support services, which can hinder their growth and scalability. As per studies, only 0.3% of India's venture capital funding was allocated to startups led by women in 2021. InsurTechs, with their innovative solutions and customer-centric approach, have emerged as catalysts for change in the business landscape. By leveraging technology and data analytics, InsurTechs are addressing the unique needs of women-run businesses and providing tailored solutions to support their growth and success. Leading a tech-enabled logistics shipping company, Abhilasha Agarwal sought to safeguard her consignments and turned to an InsurTech firm to procure Marine Insurance for an economical price.

One of the key ways InsurTechs are helping women-run businesses is by providing access to affordable insurance products tailored to their specific needs. Whether it's business liability insurance, property insurance, or health insurance for employees, InsurTechs offer flexible and customisable solutions designed to protect women entrepreneurs and their ventures against unforeseen risks. The same can be said for Swapna Kulkarni, who runs Sthiram Yoga Centre in Delhi and Anam Sheikh, proprietor of Khoobsurat Beauty Parlour located in Meerut. Both the women opted for Term Life Insurance and Group Health Insurance for their employees, respectively.

There’s more - let’s explore the story of Maryam Irani. The daughter of a folk musician and artist, Maryam spent most of her childhood travelling with her father’s artsy troupe and grew up on a steady diet of music, tales and culture, which fueled her love for travelling early on. Now a vivacious young woman of 28, Maryam runs her travelling business bringing curated experiences to her passionate customers. Having spent a vagabond childhood, Maryam was not unaware of the risks and mishaps that come with a nomadic lifestyle, which prompted her to partner with InsurTech to protect the wellbeing of her customers so she includes a nominal Travel Insurance Policy as part of her tour packages. As an additional safety measure, she also offers a Device Protection Plan or Extended Warranty Plan to gadget-obsessed travel influencers and bloggers. She views this modest yet significant step as granting herself and her fellow travellers the 'azaadi' to explore.

We share another case study with you to support our theory. No one could guess while looking at the daintily-built Jaya Prakash, 48, and her equally frail daughter, Mansi, to be able to run a small catering business so efficiently. Nestled in the pink-hued lanes of Civil Lines, Jaipur, their commercial kitchen buzzes with activity, overseen by a team of 12 women. One could completely miss the entrance to the ‘Jaya’s Catering Joint’ if not for faded flexy signage pointing the way into the lane. “Everything was going well. We were catering to soirees, baby showers and even a corporate event when a small kitchen fire temporarily paused our operations. A few of our staff suffered from smoke inhalation but nothing major - thank goodness”, recounts Mansi. Jaya attributes the incident as a 'wake-up call'. The mother-daughter duo was compelled to create a safety net for their business and employees to shield them from unexpected risks. Following thorough research and consideration, they collaborated with an InsurTech company to secure a comprehensive Accidental Cover and Group Health Insurance Plan. Taking further precautions, they also opted for an Extended Warranty for their kitchen appliances.

Women's entrepreneurial process and challenges and where InsurTech can help them

The need of the hour is fostering a culture of collaboration and empowerment, where women entrepreneurs can thrive and succeed. By addressing their long-standing underrepresentation, we could potentially see an additional 55 million women joining the workforce by 2030. Promoting women's entrepreneurship serves as a potent catalyst that could accelerate India's path towards achieving a $5 trillion economy. InsurTechs could play a pivotal role in empowering women-run businesses and facilitating their journey to success. By providing access to affordable insurance products, streamlining processes, leveraging data-driven insights and building supportive ecosystems, InsurTechs are breaking down barriers and levelling the playing field for women entrepreneurs.

Note: All the stories mentioned here are inspired by true events and any resemblance to anyone dead or alive is a sheer coincidence.

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