Thai insurtech startup Roojai may bag up to $7m equity investment from IFC

IFC/World Bank HQ. Photo: IFC

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has proposed to invest up to $7 million in Thailand’s online insurance platform Roojai, according to a disclosure.

Established in 2015, Chon Buri-headquartered Roojai offers users real-time quotes and the option to purchase insurance through its web portal, mobile application and call centre. It currently focuses on motor insurance services and later plans to diversify into other areas.

IFC’s financing will help improve “market competitiveness through sophisticated underwriting models and policy design that incentivizes users to engage in behaviour that is associated with lower claims”, the development finance institution noted in its disclosure.

The fresh capital infusion is also expected to improve insurance accessibility and affordability through the collection of additional risk factors, user-friendly online platforms and the introduction of instalment payment plans, IFC added.

Roojai claims to have covered about 15,500 vehicles last year, more than triple the number covered in 2016. It is led by CEO Nicolas Faquet.

Primary Group, a privately owned holding company, and a local Thai investor are the main shareholders of Roojai, besides its founding team and employees. The company works in partnership with local insurer Krungthai Panich Insurance, a subsidiary of Krungthai Bank.

“IFC’s investment brings Roojai global and technical knowledge, as well as its relationships with insurance companies around the world, to transfer knowledge of global markets, identify benchmarks and comparisons, and introduce Roojai to international best practices,” IFC said in its disclosure.

As of September 2017, Thailand has 55 non-life insurance companies and four health insurance companies. Last year, the country experienced liberalization in the insurance sector as it allowed foreign companies to control 100 per cent of the shares of the domestic insurance firm, up from 49 per cent earlier.

Prior to Roojai, IFC has placed several other bets in the insurance technology space in recent years. Two months ago, it led a $22-million Series C round for Mumbai-based online insurance portal Coverfox.

In September last year, IFC, together with Bamboo Capital, made a $14-million investment in ComparaOnline from Chile, an insurance brokerage site that has over 1 million active users.

It has also invested in Hellas Direct, a Greek startup aiming to make car insurance more widely available.

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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.