This Malaysian Startup Wants To Make Insurance Accessible To Everyone

By Chong Jinn Xiung

Sharian Raj, the co-founder and CEO of Senang, shares how his new product will allow his insurtech startup to launch in new markets

Tatler Asia
Sharian Raj
Cover  Sharian Raj (Photo: Imran Sulaiman)

The Ready For Launch series asks questions of entrepreneurs to get the inside story behind a new startup or product launch. 

Sharian Raj, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Malaysian insurtech startup Senang, which means "simple" in Bahasa Malaysia, says he has long dreamed of disrupting how insurance worked. "I started Senang to make microinsurance, or insurance with low premiums, accessible to both businesses and individuals, allowing them to pay what they need when they need it."

Now, Raj has decided to expand Senang's offering to a wider audience. It has partnered with payment service provider GHL Systems to launch SenangSikit, a new product that allows consumers to buy insurance for their purchased items.

Raj shares more about SenangSikit here. 

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Please introduce SenangSikit. 
SenangSikit is an insurance product that enables customers to buy microinsurance coverage of accidental damage for their purchases when they're at the checkout counter of a store. 

What is its value proposition?
Our idea is to make the process of buying insurance as easy as possible for customers. The partnership with GHL came at the right time because they wanted to offer more than just payments via their point of sales (POS) terminals and provide the convenience of buying an insurance policy on the spot. 

We have set the premium at six percent of the item's value and customers that buy the policy can enjoy one year of coverage for accidental damage upon registering their item with SenangSikit. The products we cover include electrical appliances, cameras, clothing, footwear, mobile phones and furniture. Claims are also streamlined—all a customer needs to provide are the original receipt and a picture of the damaged product. 

We wanted to tap into the offline retail market because it has not been attempted before and GHL has a sizable base of 100,000 merchants. For the merchants, SenangSikit can act as an additional source of income, as they can earn a commission from selling our policy. 

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Above  Photo: SenangSikit

How long did it take to get from idea to launch?
SenangSikit had been in development for over a year. We first discussed it with GHL in October 2020 and launched it in December 2021. Initially, we had to figure out how to collect customer data from the POS terminals to identify new customers. We finally identified a solution by having customers register their purchased product on our website.  

What did your market research tell you, and how did that inform the final product?
We conducted research with GHL and did customer case studies. The insurance providers partnering with us on this product conducted their own research too. It was a collective team effort, as all parties came together and helped shape SenangSikit. 

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What were some of the biggest challenges in getting the product to market?
There were two. The first was figuring out the systems' integration process with GHL Systems, a massive public listed company in Malaysia. This was challenging because there are so many products that are covered under SenangSikit. It took us a while, because we wanted to get everything right. 

The other big challenge we had was training all of the participating merchants. It is vital to get them familiar with the terminals and insurance policy being sold, as they will be the ones keying in the transactions. We have plans to conduct regular Zoom training sessions with the merchants until we've trained all of them.

What are your goals for SenangSikit for the next 12 months?
We target to insure up to RM1 million (US$239,000) a day by the end of this year. That might seem like a high target, but I am confident we can actually achieve it by the middle of the year based on historical data provided by GHL Systems. We also aim to have at least 20,000 transactions weekly by the end of the year. 

We target to increase the number of merchants actively selling insurance policies to about 70 percent of GHL's base as well. At the moment, the plan is to establish a foothold in Malaysia and in the future, expand regionally across Southeast Asia if our model proves successful. As GHL has many sales points around the region, this will help us to penetrate other markets. We are eyeing the Philippines next as there is massive potential to grow our product base there. 

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