Investments

Dubai-based insurtech startup Aqeed raises $18 million

Aqeed, a Dubai-based insurtech startup has raised $18 million in funding. The investment came from its corporate founders, who are the shareholders behind Barents, an A-rated international Reinsurance group, and Choueiri Group, a leading media and marketing group of the region that has previously invested in Jordan’s Mawdoo3, Golden Scent, The Luxury Closet and STEP Group.

Launched last month, Aqeed claims to be the first digital insurance platform in the region that allows customers to not only buy their insurance online but manage and service it as well.

“The customer usually when claiming either directly contact the insurance company or his/her broker. In our case, we own a licensed broker and can legally help customers who buy from our portal in his claims process,” Aqeed’s Chief Product Officer Hadi Radwan told MENAbytes.

“This is one of our unique selling propositions. We are also building our portal to allow our customers to ask our licensed experts any question in real time and we are building interactive education material to make insurance simple and transparent,” he added.

Currently available in UAE only, Aqeed plans to expand to Saudi and Lebanon very soon. For now, they only offer car insurance but will be adding travel and home insurance within next few months and the health insurance later in the year.

“Our aim is to cover all lines of business that exist in the market. Health is definitely included and will be launched before year-end. Our quick wins following car insurance, are home and travel, nonetheless,” said Hadi, speaking to MENAbytes. “The funding will go to grow our market share in the UAE and to expand to the KSA market, hiring the right talent, and continue building the latest innovation in insurance technology.”

Aqeed’s¬†cofounding team is led by Rachid Abi Nader, who has previously served as Lead Consulting Director for Insurance for Middle East with PwC, and Hadi Radwan, who has worked as Head of M&A with an insurance group in Dubai.

There are already many players in insurtech but Aqeed thinks that they’re different as they are coming from the insurance industry and have better know-how than anyone else to improve interaction between consumers and insurance providers. Aqeed doesn’t only focus on the distribution of insurance but across the whole value chain.

“Our technology aims at making this interaction simpler and has been conceived as a platform where customers can easily access and manage all their insurance documents in one place, and will soon include a mobile App that will facilitate the process even further,” noted Hadi.

“We have our own insurance brokerage license, and our UAE call center allows consumers to talk to their own go-to insurance experts. We guide our customers not only through the buying process but also help in the post-sale process, i.e. in case of claims.”

Aqeed’s corporate founders are perhaps trying to do what Saudi-based Al Tayyar Travel Group has been doing with their online travel platforms Almosafer and Tajawal. Building their own digital products from scratch but what’s interesting is that they’re at least 2-3 years late in the market.

Al Tayyar built Almosafer and Tajawal when there wasn’t any regional player in that space. Aqeed’s founders have decided to do it when companies like Souqalmal and YallaCompare have already established their names and are being used by tens of thousands of people. The two have collectively raised $24 million in funding.

Another route for them could’ve been acquiring one of these startups but it seems that they’re confident about their odds of making it big in digital with their own product.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Riyadh. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.

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