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How Turtlemint built India’s largest Insurtech Community

May 11, 2021
Company Building

Insurance, one of the most traditional and highly regulated industries in India. Despite being a massive $280Bn industry, it has achieved only a tiny fraction of its potential with only 4% of the population having an insurance cover to date (global average 6%).

The big reasons why insurance has been slow to gain traction are access & understanding. A growing number of insurtech companies have looked to close this gap by connecting in-market consumers with the insurance offerings & streamlining the buying process.

However, still, 95% of insurance in India is sold through an in-person consultancy because insurance fundamentally is a complex product. Consumers find it difficult to make a decision themselves, hence rely on an expert / in-person consultancy, eg financial advisors to help guide their purchase.

It was in the strength of this understanding where Turtlemint founders, Anand Prabhudesai & Dhirendra Mahyavanshi, saw an opportunity. Instead of using technology to change how people buy insurance, they chose to radically challenge how it is sold. Not by cutting out the middle man but by empowering them.

Turtlemint created a tech platform designed to help financial advisors to distribute insurance to their community of customers. The platform instantly made it simpler for financial advisors to match each customer with the best product & to close the deal without the burden of endless paperwork.

Their community today has 100k insurance advisors today who have been selling more than $250Mn worth of insurance using the Turtlemint platform.

The platform represented a fresh new way to help financial advisors generate business momentum. But win-wins don’t automatically win.

So how did the Turtlemint team persuade 100,000+ relationship-led financial advisors, all across a hugely diverse market, to move beyond paper & pen towards a digital future? How did they earn the trust of experienced professionals & show them a better way to do business?

Find that one true believer and prove your MVP

Iterate and improve the MVP with your power users. Once there is demonstrated value with your initial customer(s), only then expand.

Disrupting decades worth of accepted practices with a radical new technology solution was never going to be easy. To build their user base Turtlemint team needed to find those true believers who understood their vision for the platform.

So they started small. Very small. In the course of travelling the country & studying the market, they found a single financial advisor who for months was the only user of Turtlemint’s MVP. Listening to him & studying how he engaged with the platform was critical in getting the platform ready to scale and informing the expansion plans from there.

Solve for trust

India is a low trust market economy. You don’t join communities or brands or any cause about which you don’t know. Solving for awareness & trust at early stage of your business is critical for expansion.

Turtlemint solved the trust and awareness issue in there ways.

  1. Power users became influencers- In markets where Turtlemint already had presence, their power users started spreading the message and the company was able to grow organically through WOM and references.
  2. Promotions & events- In addition to digital promotion, Turtlemint hosted a packed calendar of intimate, on-ground events at which the team set about converting advisors into users, users into power users & power users into vocal champions.
  3. Endorsements- Getting the big insurers on board was equally and if not more important. These would instantly lend Turtlemint credibility & show financial advisors that they could now access a broader range of products and the big brands also served as a secondary endorsement for Turtlemint.

Slowly Turtlemint was able to generate a critical mass of positive word of mouth that challenged decades of muscle memory & brought thousands of advisors onto the platform.

Solve for faster recruitment

You need to make it easy & rewarding for people to join your cause/community.

One of the first things that Turtlemint did after proving its MVP, was to digitise the journey of getting onboarded on the platform. Through their platform they digitised the process of training, licensing, verification, and more. As a result, advisors were able to download the Turtlemint app, go through the regulatory requirement, and complete the process in a faster, efficient manner, and start selling in an efficient manner.

Result- 100k insurance advisors acquired in the last 3.5 years, which in the normal course of things would take 20 years.

Develop customer intimacy to iterate & evolve

From initial days of getting real-time feedback from your early power users, to even at the later stage, the platform built was very iterative. Platform transformed completely from being a transaction platform in the initial days to a knowledge platform today. This was owing to the fact that as Turtlemint grew, they realised that different users had different needs- regional differences, to experience in selling insurance. The platform had to accommodate all. The team developed multilingual educational content — The Turtlemint Academy — that helps aspiring & ambitious professionals refine their skills & keep pace with regulatory changes.

Turtlemint has played an important role in removing the traditional barriers to career entry & now they are empowering thousands of determined entrepreneurs to thrive as financial advisors. The team has built a community of passionate agents who owe their careers to the ingenuity of the founders & the determination of the wider team.

Turtlemint has grown not by digitising human relationships but by enhancing them. They never imposed technology on the category. They built a technology solution around the inalienable truths of the category in India.

This is insurtech at its best.

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