Pay-as-you-use insurance app slashes the cost of premiums


Bimaleo CEO, Shreyas Patel in his office in Keystone Park, Riverside Drive, Nairobi. PHOTO | PETER CHANGTOEK | NMG

When Covid-19 pandemic hit Kenya in mid-March 2020, it came with various challenges that greatly affected various operations, including businesses.

As a result, people had to be innovative, in order to remain afloat. One such innovative entrepreneur is Shreyas Patel, who partnered with George Richard, to establish a company that offers pay-as-you-use/drive motor insurance services to private and commercial vehicle owners.

“The idea came to us in 2020 when Covid-19 hit and numerous fleet owners had their vehicles grounded and subscribed to telematics services that could benefit from pay as you use/drive motor insurance, by allowing the data generated from the telematics units installed in the vehicle to pay for insurance only when using the vehicle,” says Mr. Patel, who is the company’s CEO.

“We noted that corporate fleet owners were paying for an entire year of comprehensive premiums while using their vehicles for half the year thus the compelling reason to purchase insurance based on use came to mind,” he says.

The co-founder of Bimaleo is based out of Palo Alto, California. “He has extensive experience in the startup sector and growing businesses across various industries in Africa and Southeast Asia,” reveals Patel.

“With over 14 years of experience in the tracking and fleet management business, we both identified that the insurance industry required digital disruption in the motor sector, and taking a leaf from markets that have successfully implemented embedded insurance using technology, we could provide a platform where clients would be able to purchase insurance based on use with cost savings in mind. Underwriters would also benefit from the data we gather in the case of an accident and help with speedy claims processing,” explains the Patel.

He says that Bimaleo offers private and commercial drivers, real-time, personalised auto insurance policies. “Bimaleo ‘as needed’ and Bimaleo ‘by the mile’, instead of the industry-standard full-year premiums based on approximations and estimates that have historically made prices unfair. ‘Bima’ means insurance in Swahili, while ‘leo’ means today. We felt naming the service Bimaleo allows customers to remind themselves that they can purchase insurance on the day of use. And it is catchy.”

He says that Fidelity Shield Insurance was the first underwriter, they worked with to actualise the service and KK Security (part of Garda World) as channel partners, that can offer the service to their existing tracking clients. He adds that onboarding further underwriters and channel partners is ongoing.

The CEO says that a client can easily subscribe to their services by going to their site and creating an account. Once the account is activated, they will be taken through a simple KYC process, where they require details of the vehicle, like vehicle registration number, make, model, chassis number etc.

“Once this information is provided, we require that the client has a trusted tracking device installed in their vehicle. Data from the tracking device will allow us to speed up claims with our underwriter partners when an accident occurs. We have partnered with trusted tracking providers in the market and if you have a device from one of the partners, the client can then proceed to purchase insurance for the day/days in question from a list of underwriters in the market," explains Patel.

"Purchase of the premium is made via M-Pesa and the policy note is emailed to the client. Clients can also purchase Third party insurance on the platform for the year as required by law. If they have a tracking device from a provider that is not on our partner list, they are free to contact us, and we shall advise them on how they can purchase insurance through the platform. As an added advantage, through Bimaleo, clients can purchase comprehensive premiums from us while retaining their existing third-party insurance from any underwriter they currently subscribe to.”

He says that since their launch last month, they have had "steady interest on our services and are currently on boarding numerous corporate clients in various industries."

“Through the telematics data gathered from the tracking device installed in the vehicle, if a client accepts to receive benefits from our premiums discount package, we can evaluate how good a driver is on the road by taking into consideration data such as speeding, harsh braking, sever cornering etc. This translates to a daily score. If a client’s score is high based on good driving practices, the next premium purchase they make through the platform will have a reduction on the premium rate. This service is to encourage safe driving on the roads and promote cost savings,” he says.

He says that Bimaleo is an authorised insurance agent under Bimaleo Insurance Agency Ltd and therefore adheres to strict practices regulated through IRA. “We provide clear transparency of service on the platform and empower the client to choose which service suits their needs.”

Patel says that onboarding underwriters to the platform is a challenge.

“Insurance providers are notoriously slow in making a decision when it comes to adapting new technologies. The platform is mobile-friendly. However, we are in the process of developing an app that will soon be available on Google Play and the Apple store,” he adds.

Patel reveals that they intend to launch the services in the next six months across the region provided “we meet all the regulatory requirements.”