WhatsApp health insurance gets green light, micro-pension products to roll-out in India by end of December

  • This move will ultimately help senior citizens to have access to their financial services via their smartphones.
  • WhatsApp is partnering with HDFC Pinbox and Pension Solutions and SBI General Buying, which will provide health insurance at a very affordable rate

The global social messaging app WhatsApp has now announced that it is aiming to launch its first micro-pension and health insurance products in India by the end of this year. Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp’s India Head announced it at the second day of Facebook Fuel for Event in the country.

The spokesperson also added that WhatsApp is forming an association with renowned financial institutions to offer micro-insurance, micro-pension, and many more. It will ultimately help senior citizens to have access to their financial services via their smartphones.

To offer these services, the social messaging app is partnering with HDFC Pinbox and Pension Solutions and SBI General Buying, which will provide health insurance at a very affordable rate and also help in savings for later use. It will ultimately help those people who do not have retirement corpus or who do not have benefits of organized employment.

At the event, Gautam Bhardwaj, co-founder of pinBox Solutions said, “Pension and social protection arrangements in India have been traditionally restricted to the formal sector salary workers. This is a gigantic problem, given that over 90 per cent of our workforce are self-employed or are informal sector workers. Without pension benefits, each of them faces a very high risk of extreme poverty.”

“The only sustainable option, therefore, is for us to enable and encourage the current, young, economically active, informal sector workers to start saving for their futures. WhatsApp platform will help us connect the supply and demand, as well as bring scale to our inclusive digital micro-pension programs,” he added.

Another aspect Bose highlighted during the event is that they are also focusing on micro and small businesses. New tools and features will be added to WhatsApp business app, which will help grocery and small businesses to grow. An investment in business API is also aimed by WhatsApp that will offer scale and profits to business entities, government institutions, and NGOs.

Although WhatsApp Pay at present is available to only 5% of its 400 million user base in India, it has laid down the foundation for the company to build its financial services ecosystem in its largest market.

This comes at a time when WhatsApp is charting out its future growth plan in India. During the event, Bose listed four key areas of growth for the South Asian nation, beyond its core messaging service. These include extending the WhatsApp Business platform to more users; partnering with local businesses and governments to offer niche solutions in the field of agriculture, trade, and education; expanding WhatsApp Pay, and scaling social welfare projects.

“UPI is a transformative service and we jointly have the opportunity to bring the benefits of our digital economy and financial inclusion to a large number of users who have not had full access to them before,” Bose added.

Sumit Shukla, CEO, HDFC Pension Management Company said, “We at HDFC Pension are also trying to play a key role in bringing critical financial services to Indians by putting affordability at the centre of our pension products. I am proud of our association with WhatsApp because it is enabling digital and financial inclusion at an accelerated rate. Also, WhatsApp as a platform is multilingual, secure and is revolutionizing the way financial services are accessed and facilitated in our country.”

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