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MercadoLibre, Klimber Expand Insurance Policies to Unbanked Brazilians

The Argentine e-commerce and fintech giant is offering life insurance policies in Brazil through its MercadoPago app, and sees opportunities to expand the business to other Latin American countries

Photographer: Sarah Pabst/Bloomberg
By Belén Escobar (EN)
June 27, 2022 | 05:16 pm

Buenos Aires — MercadoLibre (MELI), the Argentina launched a life insurance offering through its MercadoPago, fintech app, the second step by the company led by Marcos Galperin in the insurance market.

The app-based insurance solution, developed by Argentine startup Klimber, is part of MercadoLibre’s strategy to expand MercadoPago’s array of services, having launched a cryptocurrency exchange platform in 2021.

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The offering is backed by Prudential and Swiss Re and in which users pay a monthly fee from their digital account, giving MercadoPago customers an insured sum if 150,000 reais ($28,637), attention in the event of accident, online prescription, or telemedicina, and emergency dental coverage, among other services.

Consulted by Bloomberg Línea, MercadoLibre sources said the market potential is “huge” for non-banked customers, who have little access to insurance policies through traditional means.

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“We are entering a segment that, until now, nobody has tackled”

Julián Bersano, CEO of Klimber

The company also highlighted that the Brazilian market was chosen for the launch because it is the largest market in the region, with much potential in the insurance sector.

The company plans to incorporate the service into MercadoPago in other countries in the region in the near future.

Having launched an insurance policy in 2021 for cell phone theft and damage, which was very well received, the company said the decision to launch a life insurance policy was made during the pandemic, which highlighted the importance of such a product for consumers.

MercadoLibre will also expand its offer in Brazil with a complete personal accident insurance policy and, in the future, will continue to analyze areas where there is potential to offer users an additional value proposition.

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MercadoPago adds life insurance policies to its Brazilian offering.dfd

Who is the life insurance policy aimed at?

MercadoPago emphasized that the new product is aimed at a segment, both individuals and small merchants, with low access to life insurance, telemedicine and dental emergencies, and that the policies can be customized according to the needs of each user to cover everything from death and funeral expenses to hospitalization and coverage for serious illnesses or surgeries.

The company says it sees a huge opportunity for growth in Latin America, and not just in Brazil, citing the fact that the majority of the population has never received an offer of insurance coverage, and where around 50% do not have a bank account.

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A segment “that nobody has yet tackled”

Julián Bersano, CEO of Klimber, told Bloomberg Línea that the launch of the life insurance policy represents “a very important milestone” for the Argentine company.

“We are accessing a segment that until now had not been tackled by anyone, which is to sell personal insurance to the base of the pyramid in a market such as life insurance or insurance in general.”

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“There is little interest in selling to the base of the pyramid because there is low commission”, according to the CEO of Klimber, which is the first company in the country to create an intelligent platform that allows buying insurance 100% online.

“In 2018 we launched the first digital life insurance policy in the region, and the road to that was a winding one. Achieving the launch in Brazil of such a product is a spectacular milestone. Moreover, we did it with the largest player in Latin America,” Bersano said.

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“In a few hours we had sole more than one thousand policies. It is going very well,” he said, and anticipated that Klimber’s projection, through its regional expansion plan, is to reach one million policies sold in Latin America over the next 12 months.

Although the intention is to expand in the region after the launch in Brazil, he said that the starting point in that country is the “biggest challenge for any Latin American company that is not from that country, because the language is different, the market is super large and, in regulatory terms, it is complex because each Brazilian state is a separate country”.