LeapFrog sells its stake in insurance platform, BIMA

19 Dec 2017

LeapFrog Investments, the dedicated investor in financial services and healthcare for emerging consumers, has sold a major stake in BIMA to Allianz X – the digital investment unit of the global insurer and asset manager, Allianz Group – as part of a $96.6m transaction. Allianz will now partner with BIMA to drive its next stage of growth.

BIMA is the leading emerging markets mobile insurer. The company harnesses mobile network infrastructure to deliver low-cost but quality insurance – to people in markets with low penetration of financial services but widespread mobile telephone usage. Seventy-five per cent of BIMA customers are experiencing insurance for the first time.

Operating in 14 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, since being founded in 2010 BIMA has rapidly expanded provision of insurance as a safety net to individuals and families. Currently, one in ten life insurance policies in Ghana are by BIMA, whilst in Cambodia, BIMA became the largest life insurance provider within just one year of launching. This has been achieved by partnering with mobile operators with vast customer bases such as Millicom, Digicel, Axiata and Vodafone. To-date the company has sold 30 million insurance policies.

We knew early on that emerging markets and financial services could be transformed by mobile technology and data,” said Stewart Langdon, the partner at LeapFrog Investments who led the investment. “BIMA is a stellar example of a digital financial services firm that has scaled quickly and profitably. We are proud to have supported management in their incredible journey to develop an emerging consumer insurance footprint that is unmatched in the industry. The investment from one of the world’s great companies recognizes this success and cements our conviction that BIMA has a bright future.”

LeapFrog supported BIMA’s growth over the past four years through specialist capabilities such as product design and market expansion. Notably, LeapFrog worked with BIMA to co-develop the company’s first health insurance product, as well the roll-out of its pioneering telemedicine consultation service, now used by more than one million subscribers in Ghana and Bangladesh.

Dr. Andrew Kuper, Founder and CEO of LeapFrog Investments, commented: “Mobile technologies have fundamentally reshaped the future of financial services, creating an infrastructure to reach billions of first-time consumers in emerging markets. BIMA has demonstrated the potential of this model to impact the lives of millions of people, providing essential services that enable their rise into prosperity. We exist to back companies like BIMA, fueling an economic transformation in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

According to the World Bank, over 2 billion people in low- and middle-income countries have mobiles but limited access to financial services. Over 95 per cent of BIMA’s customers live on under $10 per day, with 75 per cent of BIMA’s total customer base never having previously had access to insurance.

LeapFrog expanded its stable of digital financial services businesses in 2017, with several key investments. It recently led a $40m investment round in the digital money transfer leader, WorldRemit, to support its plan to serve 10m customers in emerging markets by 2020. LeapFrog invested in Cignifi, a fintech firm that has built vital credit histories for more than 150m emerging consumers through mobile data alone. LeapFrog also acquired a stake in Fincare, one of India’s largest and fastest-growing digital banking platforms. LeapFrog will retain 10% of its stake in BIMA.

Gustaf Agartsson, co-founder and CEO of BIMA, concluded: “LeapFrog’s strategic support, specialist insight and incredible network were fundamental to our ability to grow sustainably. The LeapFrog team were great allies as we expanded into new territories and develop new financial products for the emerging consumer. It was a true partnership which achieved, as LeapFrog promised, profit with purpose”.

“Overall, our investment in BIMA underscores Allianz’s commitment to digitalization, supporting the growth strategy of the Group in emerging economies, as well as enabling us to serve the next billion customers,” said Oliver Bäte, CEO of Allianz SE. William Blair acted as the sole financial adviser to the Company and shareholders.

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