Facebook-owned instant messaging and UPI-enabled payments platform WhatsApp has announced plans to launch micro insurance and pension products by the end of this year.
“WhatsApp has proactively been working on several pilots to help ensure that every adult has access to the most basic critical financial and livelihood services through their mobile device. By the end of this year, we expect that people will be able to buy affordable sachet sized health insurance through WhatsApp,” said Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp India Head at the Facebook Fuel for India 2020 event.
“The ability for people to get insurance covers life and health can protect the financial security of households from unforeseen expenses especially during the pandemic,” he added.
WhatsApp will tie-up with SBI General Insurance for affordable sachet-sized health insurance coverage while the messenger platform can be leveraged for saving and retirement schemes. The latter will be done in partnership with HDFC Pension and pinBox solutions.
WhatsApp has been expanding its products beyond messaging for consumers as well as for businesses. With over 400 million monthly active users or MAU in India, it recently rolled out UPI-based payments feature for users across the country (currently available for 20 million users). The company took more than two and a half years to launch its full-fledged peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer feature after the pilot in early 2018.
On Wednesday, WhatsApp also included three more banks — State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank — to handle and expand its UPI-based payments feature. ICICI has been the partner bank for WhatsApp Pay since the beginning.
It’s worth noting that WhatsApp Pay, which began its rollout for more users from November 5, recorded just 3.1 lakh UPI transactions worth Rs 13.87 crore in the month.
While WhatsApp-based insurance and pension products will be a new thing for the Indian market, e-commerce enabler and payments platform for micro-businesses Instamojo had launched a pilot of a sachet loan via the messenger app in May.
Going forward, it is expected that WhatsApp may launch loan products for the Indian market as well.