Austin-headquartered insurtech startup Ethos is setting up an office in India and will be looking at hiring around 100-150 employees for its Bengaluru office in the next one year.
Valued at $2.7 billion, Ethos serves as a tech platform to provide life insurance to customers in partnership with insurance companies in the US. The company focuses on customer acquisition, underwriting, risk selection and policy administration.
In an interview with Moneycontrol, Ethos co-founder and President Lingke Wang said that the India team will serve the company's global markets, and going forward the company will assess how it can serve the Indian market.
"Our short-term target is to hire 100 to 150 people over the next year or so. This will be roughly 30 percent of our global headcount, and it's a major part of our growth plans. We hope to increase that number going forward," Wang said.
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The hiring will be done across engineering research and development, data analytics, data science and operations.
Besides Austin, the company has offices in San Francisco, Seattle and Singapore and issued $13 billion in life insurance coverage last year. Its overall revenue and users grew by more than 600 percent year-over-year in 2021.
Ethos has raised over $400 million from investors including – Softbank Vision Fund 2; Sequoia Capital; Accel; GV (formerly Google Ventures); General Catalyst; Jay-Z's Roc Nation. Its investors also include Hollywood actors Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr.
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"India’s startup ecosystem and niche capabilities such as data science and analytics have gained global recognition. In a strategic move, Ethos has established its footprint in India through a full-stacked office in Bengaluru and has also looped in high-quality talent that will provide support in product innovation and improve customer experience," "Hitesh Gossain, General Manager-Growth and Strategy, Ethos India said in a statement.
"Our aim is to hire more aggressively throughout 2022 and build a team of top-notch experts," he added.
Currently, India's insurtech space has more general insurance providers and the sector has seen immense funding interest in the past year.
The insurtech space is made up of insurance broking platforms such as Policybazaar, Paytm, Coverfox and digital general insurance companies, including unicorns Acko and Digit. Platforms such as Policybazaar and Turtlemint also help consumers compare policies before choosing the right fit.
India is one of the lowest penetrated markets when it comes to insurance. India’s insurance penetration was pegged at 4.2 percent in FY21, according to Swiss Re’s sigma world insurance report. This is in contrast to the global average for insurance penetration, at 7.4 percent.
Life insurance penetration stood at 3.2 percent, while non-life insurance penetration at 1 percent. India’s insurance density, which is the premium per capita, stood at $78 in FY21, the world average for insurance density for the period was over 10 times higher, at $809.
Commenting on the Indian market, Wang said, "It is definitely under-penetrated. In life insurance across a lot of geographies, people don't have the right amount of insurance. I am hoping that will change in the future as technology continues to improve. But I think a lot of it comes down to an education problem and helping people understand how insurance works."