Australian insurtech startup Upcover has announced a new pay-by-the-month insurance payment option for its customers, designed to allow greater financial flexibility in accessing and maintaining insurance for small businesses and sole traders.
Fresh from a successful $4.7million seed raise, Upcover is continuing to pursue its goals of breathing new life into a long stagnant small business insurance industry and better support small businesses and startups looking to launch and grow in times of financial uncertainty.
Billing itself as a first-of-its-kind, Upcover’s aim is to provide a platform for small businesses and sole traders to more easily access jargon-free, streamlined insurance offers. For small businesses and sole traders in the space of e-commerce this importantly extends to Cyber and Privacy Liability, in addition to the more standard Public & Products Liability insurance, offering businesses entering and emerging in the e-commerce space protections against threats such as hacking attempts and other cyber crime threats.
Upcover’s latest initiative to offer a pay-by-month insurance option is a well considered next step for the startup, responding to increasing demand in the local business market for greater access to and variety in insurance options.
According to a recent report from Deloitte, response to the challenges of COVID-19 has resulted in as many as 57% of SMEs indicating their plans to access more insurance options. The primary reasons, the report suggests, include anxieties about future losses, feelings of financial vulnerability and an enhanced awareness of risks faced.
And while industry demand for increased insurance cover is apparent, Deloitte’s data also suggests that even greater demand exists for enhanced flexibility in accessing and paying for insurance options, with as many as 81% of surveyed SMEs in Australia indicating a desire to have options to pay for insurance via variable monthly fees.
“Alongside offering quick, jargon-free insurance, our top priorities at Upcover are affordability and accessibility. We’re now enabling more small businesses and sole traders to access the insurance they need without being left out of pocket,” says Anish Sinha, Upcover co-founder and COO, “We know that times are tough for all business owners right now, the last thing we want is someone not protecting themselves or their business because they can’t afford the annual insurance premiums upfront.”
The recent seed raise success for Upcover further suggests that appetite for greater access and diversity in insurance options is high for Australian businesses, perhaps particularly so amidst a business climate where capital flowing to start-ups has seen a decline from previous years, with numbers raised by Australian start-ups for August at a level 50 percent lower than the same time last year.
The results for August according to Cut Through Venture, saw a total of $244million raised by Australian start-ups, notably also a 70 percent decrease from amounts raised as recently as March this year. With retailers increasingly concerned about tumultuous developments in the economy, both current and predicted, protection against damages and losses has fast become increasingly front of mind.
“Compared to the global figures, in Australia, there are not a lot of venture dollars going into insurtechs,” Upcover co-founder Skye Theodorou said in July, “But we see a shift happening and think we’re sitting in a really exciting space that’s going to see rapid growth and some really incredible innovation.”
The latest month-to-month insurance payment offering is a fresh example of such innovation, identifying and responding to a need in the business market catering particularly to the most vulnerable businesses. In the e-commerce space, particularly, flexible and adaptive insurance cover will only grow increasingly more important as technological capabilities continue to develop simultaneous to a climate of financial uncertainty.
Making any step forward in providing more options and flexibility in accessing business protection a welcome breathe of fresh air.
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