Delhi-based startup GramCover is providing agri insurance to rural India with affordable products


Intending to increase the penetration of financial products and services, and to help farmers guardthemselves against uncertain financial losses, Jatin Singh, a resident of Delhi, founded GramCover, an agricultural insurance startup.

The startup has partnered with insurers such as Bajaj Allianz, Royal Sundaram, LIC, ICICI Lombard, GIC Re, HDFC ERGO, Aviva, among others, to provide insurance products for crops, livestock, health, motor, and life to farmers for as little as Rs 35.

These insurance products cover financial loss-causing events such as droughts, fires, death of livestock, crop damage due to landslides, weather, and floods; loss or theft of two-wheelers; and general life and health.

Jatin, Co-founder of GramCover says, “Our mission statement is gai (cow) se gaadi (car) tak, and we want to become the center of all risk and insurance in rural India”.

GramCover was founded in 2016 by Jatin and Dhyanesh Bhatt, a dairy technologist and management-degree holder in agribusiness and operates in 3,000-plus villages across 28 districts.

To date, more than 1.7 million Indian farmers have purchased insurance on GramCover. The startup is presently operating in Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Uttarakhand.

GramCover operates like any other insurance company — its agents educate residents in rural areas about the products it sells and then sign up those interested in purchasing insurance.

The startup’s understanding of the biological processes of production, how geography affects production and the way it underwrites those insurances after making its assessments helps GramCover’s acceptability in rural areas.

The startup’s website states that “Difficulties in crop underwriting mainly arise because of the nature of the risk, asymmetries of information in underwriting, the geographical dispersion of agricultural production. and the complexity of the biological processes of production”.

To solve the issue of evaluating agricultural lands to underwrite an insurance policy, the platform uses technologies such as remote sensing, UAV, and others to assess risks and decide an acceptable policy price.

GramCover tailors its insurance policies, making them more affordable for farmers and ensuring partners don’t get overburdened with excessive risk.

“Although farmers’ incomes are relatively less, we can create value in their insurance purchases by insulating them from a risk for which they otherwise would have had to self-insure, and consequently suffer from significant financial impact in the case of any adverse or calamitous event,” Jatin says.

“At GramCover, we leverage technology and bring access to insurance for rural customers, through relevant products that they can purchase easily at affordable prices,” he adds.

GramCover earns most of its revenue from the premiums it disburses and the policies it underwrites. Its insurance partners shell out between 10% and 16.5% in brokerage for its services, and the ticket sizes of insurance products on the platform usually range from Rs 35 to Rs 2,000. Sales are done through the startup’s digital platform and its point-of-sale partner network.

The startup is profitable and expects to remain so in FY21. Jatin expects the company will surpass Rs 100 crore in gross premium this year, as well as expand into new markets such as Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

GramCover has acquired nearly Rs 1.2 million in funding from investors including EMVC, Flourish, and Omidyar Network India, in a seed and a pre-Series A round, and is now moving towards its Series A.

Insurance in India is still a growing sector, advanced in recent years only because of the penetration of fintech startups that have digitized the process of insurance buying and premium top-ups.