The Ultimate Underwriter
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Dua, 34, along with his IIT-Bombay Co-founder Devendra Rane, started Coverfox around March 2013 as an online insurance broker out of a two BHK flat in Mumbai that he took on lease. The duo had earlier developed apps to assist online insurance sales of brands such as ICICI Prudential, and HDFC Life
under the brand GlitterBug Technologies in 2010 which they morphed into Coverfox. Dua sold his old
office furniture at GlitterBug Technologies in Navi Mumbai on OLX for around Rs 9,000. With Rs 10 lakh of savings, he and Rane initially spent around Rs 30,000 on buying half a dozen of big wooden tables, a second-hand window AC from a local electronics repair shop and having maintenance work. “Since GlitterBug’s office was in Navi Mumbai and I live in No. of partner insurance companies: Over 35
No. of insurance products: 250+ Highest selling category: car insurance Month-on-month growth: 30%
Total funding raised: $16mn from SAIF, Accel Partners & Catamaran Ventures The Ultimate Underwriter
Juhu, it was tough for us to commute for two hours every day, so we took a small office in the Andheri West area on rent, which was nearby to my place. We used to have our daily breakfast from outside but hired a maid for lunch which we also ate in dinner. We often worked till 2 am without going home for several days,” says Dua. Coverfox allows user to compare and buy policies for categories – car, two wheeler, health, travel and term life.
Surviving the fall
However, despite the opportunity, Dua admits of surviving a near shutdown situation. Immediately after starting the website, Dua and Rane applied for a license from the insurance regulator, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). The fear of around 18-month time period to get the license left Dua in a fix with only Rs 2 lakh left to survive for next six months. “I wasn’t aware of the required time to get the license. We required the license so that we could start selling policies and later approach investors for funding. I wasn’t able to find a way out, but we focused on working very cohesively with IRDA, gave them our credentials and business plan. Also, one of our angel investors, a former CFO of Bharti AXA, helped us convincing IRDA of our efforts. Eventually, we got the license in around six months,” says Dua.
Dua makes sure that his sales team in particular is motivated enough that they don’t need to force on people to buy policies if they are not interested. “Only after we see a customer wants to buy a policy, our sales people talk to him/her. If he is just researching, we send him lots of information on the policy. So, sales team feels motivated that they are not being forced to sell. Even for those who want to buy, our sales team helps them in decision making rather than telling them why they should buy that policy. Since it is a thankless job at the end of the day, we pay them really well,” says Dua. Within two years, Coverfox quickly scaled to working with 40 insurance brands as their partners and raised Series B funding of $12 million from Accel Partners and SAIF Partners. Dua claims to be leading car insurance ve rtical and is looking to capture other verticals within two-three years.
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (March 2016 Issue).