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Digital Interaction with Varun Dua , Co-founder, Coverfox.com

There are more than 50 insurance companies registered with IRDA and all of them give quotes based on various factors. I asked myself which company should I go with and who is gives the best deal. Coverfox.com takes your details and gives you quotes from all these insurance companies. The best part about this startup is that they do not require your contact details to give you this information. We connected with Varun Dua, Co-founder, Coverfox.com to know about him and the startup.

About Varun Dua, Co-founder, Coverfox.com

Varun Dua has extensive and diverse experience in the insurance industry spanning over 10 years. He’s worked on Sales, ROI based marketing, built tech solutions for insurance companies amongst other things. Started his career as an advertising and marketing professional and worked with leading insurance and financial services firms including Tata AIG and Franklin Templeton. Prior to Coverfox, he has co-founded 2 firms Enser Communications and Glitterbug Technologies which have brought in good technology and practices to the Insurance Industry in India. Below is the interaction we had with him over email.

1) What gave you the idea for Coverfox.com?

Devendra Rane and I started off in 2011 with Glitterbug technologies, where we were building middleware technologies for leading insurance companies. At that time, Insurance companies worked with legacy technologies trying to cater to new age online customers. We created middleware and web experiences for them to facilitate online transactions. We saw a conspicuous pain point – that in a world customers are using gmail, Facebook like advanced interfaces on one hand, insurance online was still a broken experience. We decided to take the challenge head-on and became online insurance brokers with Coverfox.com Insurance Broking.  With E-commerce catching up fast and customers willing to buy complicated electronic gadgets online, we believed that if presented well, customers would find it easier to buy insurance online too. Read interview of Myles CEO.

2) What were your initial challenges?

Insurance is a regulated sector and our plan was to create an e-commerce portal for insurance. Given this, we had challenges that not just e-commerce players faced, but were compounded with regulatory clearances from IRDA. The regulation requires a minimum net worth for the applicants, so we had to raise investment with zero business, since we couldn’t have sold without a license. Finding angel investors who understood insurance and regulatory norms was a big challenge.

Our experience with running a insurance services setup helped us get the platform and the product right. Investors and the regulatory body (IRDA) liked our product-focused approach and the business plan, which helped us mount all these challenges.

3) Insurance is a complicated industry says a common man, at Coverfox.com are you doing anything to uncomplicate this process for your customers?

We agree that there has always been this gap between the insurance companies and their customers. From jargon-laden policy documents, to complicated product, to opaque systems. There had been minimal tracking systems for claims, unclear answers on policy wordings and premium pricing. At Coverfox.com, as an online insurance broker, we are trying to fill in all these gaps. Our product has been designed in such a manner that a customer can check quotes, customised for their requirement, in real time. The premium breakup, offering, plan features etc are all available at the click of a button. And if need be, our experts handhold customers through the entire process with unbiased advice. Our objective to deliver the right insurance to our customers in a transparent manner. We are working towards the same kind of transparency on the side of insurance claims too. Our end-to-end claims assistance team closely works with the insurance companies to ensure that our customers get their claims settled swiftly.

4) Why do you show only top insurance company policies at Coverfox.com?

We have tied up with almost all insurance companies in the market to give the most comprehensive offering to our insurance customers. Through our internal algorithm and analysis, each insurance company is rated on various parameters, including demographics and premium price. This helps a user narrow down on the right insurance plan, suitable to his/her needs, much faster.

5) How unique is your Startup from Policy Bazaar?

Online insurance is in its early stages in India. PolicyBazaar has been the largest incumbent, and we give them credits for opening up the space. However less that 2 percent of insurance is bought online in India. We are preparing for a time when 30-40 percent of the market for insurance products will be online. We have been around for 2.5 years and I think we are well-prepared for the game that will be played out in the next decade. Compared to any other player in the market, we have better technology, great talent and the right timing working in our favor.

6) If every salaried employee starts a startup there won’t be any people left to hire, what would you say to that?

I think it will be great for any country if the top 1% of skilled people are keen about starting their own startups. It will be great for technology and business innovation, while providing employment opportunities to millions. At Coverfox.com, we encourage talented individuals to understand more about company level challenges and various functions across the organization. Hopefully, training them for a future when they are ready to start their own ventures. I don’t think hiring is going to be a problem if this happens, because with more opportunities, the talent pool will only increase benefiting the complete ecosystem.

7) Any advice to budding entrepreneurs who would want to enter this industry?

I believe that quite a few entrepreneurs find it glamorous to raise funds and become a CXO. Given then we recently had a bubble, the few who survived did not survive because of the funding but because they have a business model which they have validated and are passionate about. Funding is just an event and doesn’t guarantee success.

Instead of getting influenced by the glamour, young entrepreneurs need to realize that a startup eats up the bright years of your life if the business idea is not validated fast. Funding will just elongate the misery in that case.

8) Any tips to entrepreneurs about funding for their startup?

Don’t raise till you accept the fact that you will have to run this business for at least 8-10 years. Don’t raise it till you have a clear idea on how to make the business profitable and have a timeline to do so. Read more Indian Startup Stories.

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Digital Interaction with Varun Dua , Co-founder, Coverfox.com
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