Philippine insurtech gets big boost with investment into Maria Health

maria health insurance insurtech philippines
Image by aldarinho | Bigstockphoto

Maria Health announced that it has recently secured an undisclosed investment in a funding round led by InLife with support from other prominent names such as Wavemaker, Tryb, and CELO Foundation.

Launched in 2017, Maria Health aims to make it easier to select and purchase health insurance via a direct-to-consumer (D2C) online marketplace. During the firm’s inception, the Philippines had a big health insurance coverage gap, with only 5% of 100 million Filipinos having access to a health insurance plan and out-of-pocket healthcare costs reaching $25 billion.

In addition, the country’s more than 7,000 islands complicate the delivery of traditional insurance to rural areas far from Manila, Cebu, and Davao’s megacities. Through the accessible online marketplace, a team of professional agents provide virtual customer support with claims, policy benefits/administration, payouts, and renewals.

“InLife and Maria Health share the same advocacy – that of financial inclusion. Our investment is very timely as we mark our 111th anniversary in the business and move forward to meet the needs of our customers through innovation. With InLife’s stake in Maria Health, we are also spurring our digital adoption as we transform into an internet economy,” said Noemi Azura, President and CEO of Insular Health Care.

With the help of sales automation tools and direct integrations for convenient transactions with consumers and insurers, Maria Health is able to keep its business model flexible and scalable. Currently, it services 30,000 insured members which is growing amidst increased digitization in the insurance industry.

“We are excited about partnering with Maria Health to make healthcare more accessible. As the first major provider to start operating in CELO stable coins, Maria Health is accelerating our society’s path towards a digital payments future,” says Rene Reinsberg, president of CELO Foundation, a company Maria Health also partnered with for tech advancement through the use of digital payment infrastructures.

Southeast Asia in general has achieved a lot in the last decade, but the region’s healthcare system still leaves much to be desired. According to Asia One, 40% of medical spending in developing Southeast Asia is paid out of pocket, compared to just 10% in the US.

The good news is that, according to Gobi Partners, Southeast Asia is witnessing an unprecedented boom in the insurance sector, with recent investments of $9 million in Lifepal Series and $6 million in Policystreets’ Series A fundraising initiatives.

aAccording to Asia One, millennials and Gen Z consumers are also seeking greater control over their healthcare consumption and expenditure as the ‘Creator Economy’ and fractional trading apps like Robinhood gain popularity. Unlike their parents, these digital-first consumers are less likely to be tethered to employer-based health insurance.

Another insurtech firm rapidly expanding its presence in the region is Igloo, which has entered into a collaboration with Thailand’s HDmall to provide health-related micro-insurance solutions via a healthcare marketplace platform. Igloo also has offices in other Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

Outside Southeast Asia, Policybazaar, India’s largest insurance aggregator with a similar business model to Maria Health, is preparing for a $6 billion IPO listing.

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