This week our Spøtlight is on Gbenro Dara, Founder and CEO of Octamile Inc. Octamile is an all-in-one insurance infrastructure platform that helps underwriters, brokers, and tech businesses to enable the digital distribution and management of insurance products seamlessly.
Hi Gbenro, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your career leading up to Octamile?
My name is Gbenro Dara, the Founder and CEO of Octamile. We are simplifying access to Insurance for Africans by digitising and automating the entire value chain of insurance – from customer onboarding to claims management.
Before launching Octamile in December 2021, I had spent the last 10 years building high-performance teams across e-commerce, online Marketplaces and Fintech businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. I’m also a 2nd-time Insurance Founder, having Co-Founded an online comparison platform for Motor Insurance in 2014.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Insurance and an MBA from the Lagos Business School. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute in Nigeria.
Octamile enables insurers and non-insurers alike to simplify access to insurance and protect Africans from financial loss. Tell us more about your embedded insurance APIs, and how they benefit the insurer.
Mobile phone technology has exponentially grown over the last decade in Africa, with an estimated 650 million users. According to GSMA’s report, “The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2020” the mobile phone market will witness a 50% growth by 2025.
Our solution is helping insurers meet these consumers’ needs with their current tech stack. At Octamile, we understand that digitisation is a costly venture. Hence we build solutions that deliver Insurance to individuals who traditional Insurers can’t reach and customers can now purchase a policy along with their everyday transactions such as buying a phone, car or sending a parcel, while Insurance providers can manage their policies through the platform’s back end with minimum effort.
Octamile focuses on helping the underserved communities – how do your insurance APIs specifically help them?
We work with underwriters to develop affordable and flexible insurance products across auto, health, credit insurance and other insurance products for informal workers and small business owners. We leverage our technology partnerships to create a seamless user journey and embed these products into ecosystems with a large user base across different sectors including logistics, automotive, Trade, financial services and more. Our technology allows us to maintain a low cost distribution model and we in turn transfer these savings to the consumers in the form of more affordable products.
On that note, you recently partnered with Jamborow, which provides financial services to un- and under-banked populations across Africa, to provide embedded insurance products and services via Jamborows’ system. How did this partnership come about, and what do you hope will come from it?
This is an example of one of our partnerships where we leverage technology to embed Insurance services to existing user bases. By reducing frictions in the Insurance value chain we are able to reach previously untapped customer bases.
Jamborow, required a partner that understands their needs with a customisable product that can easily be plugged into their existing solution and I like to think it was a match made in heaven (laughs). Both our teams were super aligned on our goals and worked together to develop a product that meets the insurance needs of the un- and under-banked in Jamborow’s system.
Women are adversely affected, and we hope that this is one step closer to protecting consumers who will have access to Jamborows solutions and protect them from financial loss.
Octamile also offers a ClaimsTech solution, could you share more about the fraud detection and payment fast-track technology that powers it?
For certain insurers, 10% is marked out in the annual budget of insurers across some countries in Europe to combat fraud; from our research, the numbers are higher in Africa. It was a no-brainer that we needed to build an intuitive solution to help the growth health of African insurers and build trust and seamless experience with the claims process.
Our FastTrack claims technology is powered by AI developed by our engineers and works with specific business rules set with insurers to combat fraud; we have recorded a fraud-proof detection rate with over 5,000 claims processed in the last 1 year.
Octamile is looking to raise a Seed round soon – can you tell us more about your plans and any timings around that?
We have just opened up our Seed round and have been encouraged by the amount of interest we have seen. The funds will be used to expand our team and efforts in Nigeria and launch into other Sub-Saharan African markets.
What are your plans for Octamile over the next 12-months? Any key targets or milestones you can share with us?
Insurance penetration in Africa has been below 3% over the past decade; however, ourselves and many others are predicting it could become one of the fastest-growing regions globally. We are very bullish on the need for financial protection and the gap which exists in the market.
Our goal is to provide access to 1 million users across Africa over the next year. This will require expanding our current product offerings and partnerships as well as launch in other markets across Subsaharan Africa.
Finally, what do you think the African insurtech market will look like in 10 years? What are the coming opportunities and threats?
It will be a space where incumbent and challenger brands thrive and partner to serve the next billion insured Africans. It would be one where emerging technologies such as telematics, AI and all other insurtech innovation will be leveraged to create competitive advantages. I also expect to see 1 or 2 unicorns emerge from this space.