IFC leads $17M investment in South African insurtech Naked • TechCrunch

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Naked, a South African insurtech company that helps consumers to insure their cars, homes, and valuables, has raised $17 million in Series B funding led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The round welcomed participation from the German Development Finance Institution (DEG), and earlier investors, Yellowwoods and Hollard. The news follows the Naspers-led $11 million Series A round that the South African insurtech announced in August 2021.

According to a statement, the funding presents Naked with an opportunity to improve its AI and use it to grow Africa’s insurance market which is worth over $68 billion in annual gross written premiums. South Africa makes up 70% of this market, with an annual gross written premiums market of over $47 billion. However, only a fraction of personal insurance is sold without human intervention.

But the pandemic changed the way South African millennials consume insurance products these days. While 28% of South African millennials are in the market for insurance, 60% of them would prefer communicating with their insurer via the internet. For insurers, this online automation can reduce the cost of a claims journey by 30%.

Founded in 2018 by Alex Thomson, Sumarie Greybe and Ernest North, Naked is a digital insurance platform covering cars, content, homes and standalone items. The company says it employs artificial intelligence to create new processes and experiences for its customers without speaking to a contact centre agent, it said in a statement. For businesses, it allows them to reap significant cost savings from automation and pass them on to customers in the form of lower premiums.

Naked says its tech and business model differentiates it from other African insurtechs such as Kenya-based Turaco which raised $10 million last September.

“In contrast to the traditional model where insurers’ profits depend on how much they pay in claims, Naked charges a fixed percentage of customers’ premiums. In years when claims are lower than expected, the surplus goes to communities and good causes chosen by customers,” it said in a statement. 

Adamou Labara, IFC Country Manager for South Africa said of the investment: “Improving access to insurance products is a key driver of financial inclusion in South Africa as it has the potential to preserve assets, increase incomes and reduce uncertainties. IFC’s investment in Naked will help increase the penetration of tech-driven insurance in the country and contribute to job creation and economic growth.”

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