Interview with Sushant Reddy, Founder, AskArvi.com
AskArvi is an interactive fintech platform for insurance buyers. Started with an idea to provide personalised experience to customers, AskArvi breaks down the complexities of insurance and helpsthem understand its intricacies in simplest way possible. Furthermore, they improve the purchase experience of customers by directing them to the relevant insurance plan as well as helping them through the sale process via mobile chat feature.
AskArvi leverages new capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Data to fix the flaws that are prevalent in the Indian Insurance Industry. It intelligently uses the attribute of “mobile chat” based medium to understand the customers’ need and recommend them a product matching to their need. By building a friendly Virtual Insurance Assistant, it intensively reaches out to the customers by automating their pre and post sales experience. The vision of the company is to make insurance agents completely redundant in a few years time.
In September 2017, AskArvi successfully raised an early stage funding from a group of American angel investors. Moreover, it has also partnered with tweleve leading insurers in the market including Bajaj Allianz, HDFC Ergo, Apollo Munich, Reliance, Aditya Bilra and more.
It is founded by a team of IITians who have gained significant experience in their respective nature of work. Led by Sushant Reddy, the entire team at AskArvi is highly professional and dedicated to work with a structured approach for achieving business goals. They work hard on offering personalised mobile chat experience to their customers for their ease of understanding.
AskArvi visualises to become one of the most preferred insurance buying platformsamong the young population. Therefore, it has adopted the approach of simplifying the way customers buy insurance.
Presently, AskArvi works around health and travel related insurance plans. However, it is in full swing to expand into life and motor products and investment-linked insurance plans in the near future. In addition, it is extensively working towards discovering new ways to improve customer experience in buying insurance by making the relevant information and products accessible to them.
Sushant Reddy is the brain behind the idea of setting up an interactive platform for insurance buyers.
He is a digital enthusiast who is always on the hunt for finding smart solutions to provide an incredible experience to the customers. Moreover, he is a self- motivated entrepreneur who has a positive attitude towards work and personal life.
He is capable of finding immense potential in every individual which helps him in finding right people for his team. He also foresee AskArvi as one of the most trusted and transparent insurance platforms in India.
Prior to starting AskArvi, Sushant was the Co- Founder & CEO of Quantum Phinance, a Fintech company dealing in B2B space. It is his diligence which has helped him build a track record of running a successful enterprise by offering cloud based pricing, risk monitoring and automation solutions for leading banks, NBFCs, insurance and Asset Management companies. He is an entrepreneur with proven track record of building a successful B2B business in the fintech space as the software built by him in the previous organization is currently deployed at top Banks, corporate treasuries and Asset Management companies in India.
Sushant holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Mumbai and an MBA degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School.
In his free time, he likes to read and write blogs on topics related to behavioral economics, investing, anthropology andhindu mythology.
Tell us about platform and founding members. How it started and what were the motivations behind taking the plunge?
AskArvi.com is India’s first AI powered insurance marketplace that provides personalized recommendations to millennial Indians over a mobile chat. Customers can ask Arvi, our virtual insurance assistant, everything related to policy features, coverage details, insurer claim settlement track record. Startup is using data analytics, natural language processing to provide smart, data-driven recommendations to customers looking to buy health & travel insurance.
AskArvi.com is started by alumni of IIT Bombay and Columbia Business School, New York. Financial products sold online do a poor job in providing an interactive and informative engagement to customers. That is rapidly changing with the latest advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Our team got together with a vision is to make insurance agents largely redundant. We want to leverage technology to provide a consistent, data-driven and intelligent platform to customers.
- Founding Date: 23 Jan 2017
- Founder – Sushant Reddy (CEO)
- Co-Founders – Ashwin Narkhede (Product Manager) and Mandar Zope (CTO)
- Location – Mumbai, India
The idea for AskArvi began after Sushant attended a Microsoft conference where Satya Nadella unveiled his vision for #Chatbots and #LUIS platform for natural language processing. Getting impressed by his vision and commitment to the new technology, it made me clear about my vision and brainstorming after 6 months of industry research and brainstorming with Mr. Alok Tiwari.
In October ’16, Sushant met Alok Tiwari to finalize a plan for my new venture on how to use #AI to sell financial products.
Give us an overview of the products as well as service portfolio of your firm.
AskArvi currently focuses on serving the health, international travel, Bike and car insurances and have partnered with 14 insurance companies namely Bajaj Allianz, HDFC Ergo, Apollo Munich, Reliance, Aditya Birla and others.
We have evolved the system using proprietary services to embed voice based assistance, Natural language processing, computer vision, hosted using cloud infrastructure services like AWS.
Arvi is also working with leading insurers to innovate on new micro insurance products that leverage on latest technologies like Blockchain.
Arvi makes insurance buying smart, simple and social.
What are the pain points you are addressing through your platform? Share your USP.
Most young Indians consider insurance to be complex and confusing with a lot of fine print – that is why currently most sales happen via call-centers and agents. When we looked at current selling model, we noticed that agents and call-centers are very aggressive, provide limited options to customers and often provide ‘vague’ and ‘inconsistent’ responses, and in some extreme instances, resort to ‘mis-selling’ practices.
Also, current online platforms have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – whether it’s a home-maker or a professional, single or a young mother, customers see the same plans if they fall in a same age group.
We envisioned a ‘mobile chat’ based platform that can understand customer profile and provide a smart, personalized and data-driven buying experience. We planned to use AI to provide an ‘agent like’ buying experience that keeps customer’s need the ‘only’ priority.
Key USP of the platform:
- First insurance intermediary with a ‘mobile first’ approach
- Our entire engagement is personalized chat – users chat with Arvi, our virtual assistant, to understand best insurance products that fit their need
- Platform extensively uses AI and data-analytics to help customers – for eg., based on customer profile, age and region, Arvi tells them the likely reasons of claim, costs associated with those reasons etc. Users will be able to make much more informed choices post the engagement
- Arvi keeps everything simple & engaging minus the complex jargon.
What is your business model?
The company gets a commission from insurance companies based on sales. Currently the company sells health, international travel insurance plans, car and bike insurance on the platform and is looking to expand into life insurance soon.
Shed light on competition market- competitors and market size of the segment.
Insurance penetration in India is one of the lowest (less than 0.8% of GDP is paid as insurance premium when the global average is 4 times that number). Online channel is one of the fastest growing distribution channels in insurance industry. According to BCG-Google Report 0f 2014,digital channel is set to grow 20 times by 2020. We see a huge potential of online insurance over next decade and Arvi, using AI and data-analytics, is looking to tap into that growth.
What are the future plans of the company?
AskArvi is looking to close another round of funding in the next 6 months and plans to expand to a team size of 20.
We are expecting to make revenue of minimum 6 lakhs by the end of the year by selling around 6000 policies.