Wanting to know how this works, Vulcan Post spoke to the co-founder of Senang, Sharian Raj, and the co-founder of Maideasy, Meriza Anna Mustapha, to learn more about it.
Making Insurance More “Senang”
Sharian’s experience comes from his involvement in his family’s insurance business that’s over 20 years old.
Alongside co-founder and “tech-guy” Ezekiel Michael, they were pre-seeded and named one of the winners at 1337 Ventures’s Alpha Startup for Fintech programme 2018.
The result was Senang’s establishment in August 2018 as a tech-enabled insurance platform for micro and small businesses in the e-commerce sphere.
Their API management systems streamline the process of purchasing and claiming insurance, making it hassle-free.
Currently, they’ve insured almost RM150 million’s worth of insurance transactions, and 65% of this sum was for low and middle-income Malaysians.
Sharian claimed that Senang’s on-demand social benefit insurance can cater to any gig economy industry, whether it’s online like Maideasy or offline like farmers’ cooperatives.
Besides the on-demand cleaning insurance that they already offer on Maideasy, they also have these 5 products:
- On-demand shipment insurance
- On-demand personal accident insurance
- Extended warranty all-risk insurance
- Monthly life insurance packages
- Annual business insurance
At the time of writing, these other products are not yet viewable online as Senang’s website is being revamped.
By Q1 next year, customers can purchase insurance and obtain API documentation in real-time, eliminating the need for salespeople or face-to-face interaction for policy designing.
Talking Over Coffee
Maideasy is actually one of Senang’s earliest partners. Their cleaning insurance has been protecting Maideasy’s cleaners from the accidental damage of items while on the job.
Now, Senang offers claims up to RM2,500 daily for medical expenses to treat injuries suffered while working.
“The idea to offer on-demand personal accident insurance was formed during a normal coffee discussion where we both realised that there was a big gap of protection in case cleaners had medical expenses,” Sharian revealed.
But with the number of B40 within the cleaning industry, isn’t that something mySalam could address?
In reply, Meriza said, “The mySalam scheme started with the right intentions, however, its implementation is not effective for high adoption rate.”
Because mySalam requires voluntary participation for eligibility, it is not effective for the adoption of these types of schemes, as many in the B40 community aren’t able to self-register for the program.
Recently, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong also said that the scheme was too complicated and requires a lot of paperwork.
Meriza believes that if an automatic registration system was implemented, adoption rates for the program may increase.
“The first step is making sure that those who work in the gig economy have some sort of safety net, such as automatic registration for personal accident insurance based on the number of jobs they take,” she shared.
She also suggested implementing automatic deductions from the bank accounts or e-wallets of the workers, and this concept of automation is at the crux of Maideasy and Senang’s collaboration.
Red Tape 2.0
With Senang’s API integrated into Maideasy’s platform, the on-demand medical insurance is issued automatically to all active cleaners.
Cleaners just need to pay RM1, which is deducted automatically from their earnings.
The collaboration’s intent is to provide some sort of medical expenses coverage which SOCSO doesn’t provide to gig economy workers.
“Currently, there are no social benefits for freelancers. This insurance covers from the time the cleaner accepts the job, when they are on the way to the client’s site, during the job, and until the job ends,” explained Sharian.
Launched on November 10, 2019, this service will be available for at least 6 months so that they can gauge the results in terms of claims payouts, which Sharian said has been good so far.
In a planned Phase 2, Senang will look into introducing income replacement insurance in the case of hospitalisation.
Keeping Up With The Gig Economy
The problem is not the gig economy itself, rather these safety nets haven’t evolved as fast as the advances in the way we work.Meriza Anna Mustapha, Co-founder of Maideasy
“People choose to work in the Gig Economy because they can control their time as well,” explained Meriza, “However, working in the Gig economy does leave out other social benefits such as medical, savings, etc.”
On Senang’s part, they work closely with insurers to eliminate unnecessary questions and streamline the insurance buying process.
Even though the insurance companies are willing to co-create the product as they are aggressive nowadays, the majority of the time, they are unable to cater to the gig economy players.Sharian Raj, Co-founder of Senang
As he put it, gig economy players are all about being able to switch things up, on and off. This is what insurer legacy systems are unable to cater to.
He revealed that the insurers working with Senang are actually keen to serve low and middle-income Malaysians, by relying on the platform’s tech-based distribution which helps reduce management expenses.
Sharian claimed that Senang directly solves the B40 problem by targeting them with on-board insurance plans for the first time and then upselling more annual, higher coverage policies.
“Meanwhile, the government are subsidising these insurance policies at a cost of RM400 million a year of taxpayers’ money with little to show in terms of traction,” he said.
Sharian might be referring to numbers shared by the finance ministry, where Great Eastern, the insurance giant, paid out just over RM1 million out of the RM400 million committed by the government, as of July 22, 2019.
This brings into question: who actually profits from the scheme, the insured or the insurer?
As of now, it seems like fingers are pointing to the latter.
While the government continues to deliberate on what can be done for the gig economy and B40 communities, it’s heartening to know that private ventures like Senang and their 17 partners (such as Maideasy, Signature Hotel and ServisHero) are working to address these issues in the meantime.
- You can read more about Maideasy here.
Featured Image Credit: Malaysia Tatler / Sharian Raj Facebook