Billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax invests $45m in Digit Insurance parent

Prem Watsa of Fairfax India Holdings. Photo: Reuters

Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Holdings has invested $45 million in the second round of funding of its portfolio company Digit Infoworks, the parent of Digit Insurance.

A significant part of the investment ($44 million) will be injected into Digit Insurance, the startup said in a statement. Digit Insurance plans to invest the funds in technology to drive its mission of making insurance simple, besides launching new lines of products and expanding distribution network across the country.

The current round takes Bengaluru-based Digit’s total funding to $94 million, the statement added.

“Our long-term investment is directed towards bringing in technology that can automate and fasten processes and resolve customer pain points. For example, 100% of our flight delay claims are automated and claims are processed in minutes; 87% of our claim approvals happen in just 24 hours due to innovations like smartphone-enabled self-inspections. We also believe that claims are the sole reason why a customer buys our policies, so for us claims are good,” Kamesh Goyal, Founder & Chairman, Digit Insurance said.

Digit Insurance has partnered with companies such as Flipkart, Paytm, Cleartrip, Sterling Holidays, PolicyBazaar and Tanishq, among others, for products related to mobile phones and flight delays. The insurer claims to have diversified into mobile, car, 2W, travel, jewellery
insurance and built a large base of over 4 lakh+ customers in a span of six months.

Digit was started by Goyal, a former Allianz executive who led the German insurer’s business in India, with backing from Farifax last year in June. The startup then started with a capital base of around 350 crore. At that time, Fairfax Holdings was holding 45 per cent shareholding in the company while the balance shareholding was with Indian investors led by Goyal.

Digit Insurance had reportedly acquired privately owned reinsurer ITI Reinsurance from Fortune Financial Services, an associate of Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi, for about Rs 500 crore last month.

Fairfax is a holding company which, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and investment management. Watsa had launched Fairfax India in November 2014. The company had sold 12 per cent of the shares in ICICI Lombard General Insurance for about $548 million as part of the latter’s IPO in September last year.

Earlier this month, Fairfax also announced that it had secured $550 million as one-year secured term loan from a syndicate of Canadian banks. In March, the company also signed an agreement to acquire an additional 6 per cent shares of Bangalore International Airport Ltd for around $67  million, making it the majority shareholder in the airport operator.

In December last year, the Indian arm said it is looking to raise up to $1.5 billion to intensify its investments in India.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.