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Bima raises $97M from Allianz for microinsurance aimed at emerging markets

Bima raises $97M from Allianz for microinsurance aimed at emerging markets
From TechCrunch - December 19, 2017

On the heels of Lemonade raising $120 million from Softbank for its new peer-to-peer spin on insurance services, another company aimed at disrupting the insurance market is announcing a major round of its own. Bima, a European startup that builds and sells microinsurance services for low-income consumers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, has raised $96.6 million in a strategic investment from Allianz X, the digital investment unit of the insurance giant.

The new funding will be used to expand Bimas existing productsprimarily life, accident and health insurance, as well as a teledoctor serviceacross the 14 markets where it already operates, as well as move into new countries. Currently, Bimas biggest markets currently areGhana, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and it has24 million customers in total globally.

The funding$30 million of which is in equity, and the remainder as secondary transaction to buy out shares primarily from LeapFrog, another investorwas made at a pre-money valuation of around $260 million and gives Bima a post-money valuation of around $300 million, deputy CEO Mathilda Strom said in an interview. Bima, which has headquarters in London and Stockholm, has raised over $150 million in funding to date, according to CrunchBase.

Similar to financial services, the insurance industry has been eyeing up developing markets as its next big growth area at a time when more developed economies are oversaturated competition and existing services.

On one hand, its a large opportunity: Swiss Re estimates that the microinsurance market is currently worth some $40 billion globally, primarily in the areas of life and health insurance, potentially covering around 4 billion people.

On the other, its a very important geographic and economic area to address.

People in emerging markets are often described as being on the wrong side of the digital divide, lacking basic access to working capital to build businesses and take up other opportunities.

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