How is Plum accelerating the adoption of organisational health insurance in India?

With CiOL, Co-Founder, Abhishek Poddar, Plum outlines how the company is transforming the insurtech segment. Excepts from QnA.

Laxitha Mundhra
New Update
How is Plum accelerating the adoption of organisational health insurance in India?

Healthcare in India is seeing a remarkable shift. Healthcare cost is seeing inflation that is two times the general inflation. We are witnessing newer and unexpected diseases every day, Covid-19 being an example. Treatments of these diseases can wipe out entire household savings. This is leading to increased awareness and penetration of health insurance, but not many Indians can afford health insurance. Most of us need our employers to sponsor our insurance. Thus, Plum is re-imagining the health insurance stack and accelerating the penetration of health insurance in India to 100%.


The insurtech startup has forged new underwriting and fraud detection algorithms to enable companies as small as 7 to benefit from group insurance. With CiOL, Co-Founder, Abhishek Poddar outlines how the company is transforming the segment. Excepts from QnA.

What is Plum about? What are your offerings?

Plum addresses the problem of the long, cumbersome insurance purchasing process by reimagining group health insurance products from the ground up. We are on a mission to fix health insurance, by building a modern health benefits company; a company that understands the needs of a corporate and guides them to smart choices. Plum is improving health benefits by providing employers and employees more flexibility, transparency in pricing, and a higher quality healthcare experience. The portal combines modern technology with robust processes to deliver unprecedented simplicity and efficiency in insurance.


L-R Saurabh Arora Co-founder & Abhishek Poddar Co-founder Plum L-R Saurabh Arora Co-founder & Abhishek Poddar Co-founder Plum

When Saurabh, my co-founder, and I started meeting organizations for group health insurance, we found that they dropped the idea of setting up insurance because they were either – denied insurance, found it very expensive, or found the process complicated. Plum brought in exceptional changes. Our tech platform eliminates the need for agents and brokers.


We enabled companies as small as 7 employees to set up group health insurance. Earlier, health insurance was only provided to employees of large businesses since there were no plans for small organisations. Plum also addressed high fluctuations in health insurance prices. Why should companies wait for the month-end to add new employee cover? Why can’t we provide real-time pricing to organizations? Also, why should companies wait for a few weeks for the final quotation? Plum is addressing these issues practically.

Plum offers comprehensive health insurance packages to businesses of all sizes. We also offer a Covid package, that organisations can take separately. Other common benefits include term life insurance, accident insurance, and health and wellness benefits including doctor consultations, mental wellness, dental care and more.

Tell us more about the COVID care package.


The Covid package includes comprehensive cover to take care of employees during Covid. This includes Covid health insurance, Covid death insurance, corporate vaccinations and doctor consultations. Covid health insurance policy for groups, designed to cover employees, can be taken separately, or as part of comprehensive health insurance. It includes coverage for Covid of up to Rs 5 lakhs. The cover starts from day one of the registration, with no waiting period. This package has cashless claims available at network hospitals, cover available for spouse and children, cover for PPE kits with a specified sub-limit, and doctor-on-call for members.

Additionally, we launched an affordable Covid life cover to provide financial protection to the employee's family in case of death due to Covid-19. It is available for employees up to 60 years of age and the nominee gets 100% of the sum assured in case of death of the employee due to contracting Covid-19 during the policy period.

We also have a teleconsultations initiative to provide 70,000 employees and their loved ones free teleconsultations with allopathic doctors. It includes Covid-related consultations for those who are experiencing symptoms. We’ve ensured free services from the comfort of home, for employees and their family members, without the risk of visiting hospitals. We are also offering corporate vaccinations ensuring full adherence to Covid protocols.


Who are your customers, and what opportunity does the market hold?

We focus on startups and SMEs. For teams with a strength of 10-30 people, or even 50 to 100, choosing Plum is a no-brainer. A tech-first approach and the offering of high-quality health benefits, like doctor consultations and curated wellness sessions have made large corporates sit up and admire the new world Plum is ushering in.

Plum aims to reach a milestone of 10mn lives insured by 2025. We have already witnessed a very strong pull from fast-growing startups in India and currently works with over 500 organisations including Groww, Unacademy, Twilio, CleverTap, SmallCase and Simpl. Plum is now building newer insurance products for SMEs who have teams as small as 5-10 employees and cannot afford to pay annual premiums. Plum is additionally looking at building deeper API integrations with leading insurers like ICICI Lombard, Care Health, Star Health and New India Assurance.


The group health insurance market in India, which is almost 50% of the total $3.5bn health insurance market, has seen an annual growth of about 25% in the last few years and is doubling every three years. Group health insurance products cover about 90mn Indians but are expected to cover more than 500mn Indian by the end of this decade.

Do you customise your offering for bulk insurance?

Yes, Plum works with multiple insurance companies to develop a customized and efficient solution. This is after understanding the needs of the companies with respect to protection for its employees. While setting up insurance we understand that the subject can be complex at times; thus, having implications on the benefits and premium.


Has 2020-21 made people more aware of buying insurance? Have you seen an upward trend?

Within the last decade, Insurtech startups have led innovations focusing on almost all aspects of insurance leading to an exponential growth of the industry. The health insurance industry has become the fastest-growing segment in the non-life insurance sector, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% in the last few years.

That being said, this is just the beginning of what can be called a transformational disruption in the health insurance industry. On one hand, this transformation will definitely impact the accessibility and penetration of insurance in India. But on the other hand, it will also make insurance more convenient for a digital audience.

Group health insurance – which includes employer-sponsored health insurance, and has twice the lives covered compared to retail health insurance – has remained largely the same in the last two decades. Given this, insurtech startups like our’s are focussing on bringing innovation to the group health insurance market.

What are your plans for 2021?

Plum is focusing on three large areas this year. First, we are building more affordable and accessible health insurance for smaller organizations. We are going to launch a health insurance plan where organizations can pay monthly premiums. Second, we are making the claims process more seamless. We recently launched a claims experience on WhatsApp. We are doubling down on that effort to make claims paper-free. Third, we are scaling and increasing the penetration of insurance in India. We aim to insure more than 2 lakh members by the end of this year.


We have raised a total of $5mn in funding so far. Major investors include Sequoia India, Incubate Fund, Tanglin Venture, and Gemba Capital.