How employee health insurance platform, Plum, recorded 800% growth in one year

The group health insurance and wellness startup has been scaling rapidly since its inception. Here’s a look at their secret.

Plum is addressing an unmet need of early-stage startups and SMEs with a product that’s simple to set up and use. A high-quality customer experience that founders rave about is driving sales through word-of-mouth, in fact, Plum claims that 83 percent of its customers have come via word of mouth. Does its growth back the claim up?

It seems so. Plum has grown by 800 percent and served over 1,000 fast-growing organisations in just one year. The company has insured over 100,000 members so far and played a strong supporting role for small businesses and the startup community in every wave of the pandemic.

“Our audacious vision is to take the country’s health insurance penetration numbers to 100 percent. We aim to reach a milestone of 10 million lives insured by 2025, by changing the employee health insurance space,” says Abhishek Poddar, Co-founder and CEO, Plum.

Another important part of the Plum growth story is that each of their offerings is crafted as per the customer’s needs. How has this spurred product innovation?

Monthly subscriptions, instant activation

Noticing that early-stage startups, SMEs, and gig worker communities struggled to access high-quality insurance plans, Plum launched Plum Lite, a monthly subscription product for teams as small as two. By paying just Rs 85 per month, companies can get benefits like health insurance, dental and vision treatments, unlimited doctor teleconsultations, COVID treatment coverage, weekly wellness sessions, and discounted medicines and health checkups.

The Plum Lite subscription allows employers to cover employees as well as their families; it lets them pay only for members who are covered and offers flat pricing for all members. The subscription can be instantly purchased and activated in less than five minutes. Employers can unsubscribe from the plan anytime as it comes without any hassle or paperwork.

Plum is on a mission to make health benefits and comprehensive employee insurance available to the most underserved segments. We aim to create wellness-first behaviour in workplaces that care as it is our endeavour to ensure no one remains un/ under-insured due to unaffordability or lack of access, shares Abhishek.

During the pandemic, Plum also launched a WhatsApp-enabled claims system after they realised that employees were often confused about the insurance provided to them, who to contact, and in some cases even struggled to know their insurance policy number or healthcare ID.

Realising that the existing claims process in the industry was confusing for end-users and tedious for administrators, Plum created a WhatsApp chatbot to offer help in real-time, slashing claims filing time by 60 percent. But the help isn’t restricted to just claims; the company also offers integrated telehealth services over WhatsApp.

Today, over 15,000 customers access Plum through WhatsApp. 80 percent of all claims are processed through the platform, giving the customers an easy and efficient experience.

Plum uses tech to give companies of all sizes comprehensive and affordable insurance plans, which are customised as per the needs of their employees. India’s unorganised insurance sector barely had products for early-stage startups and SMEs, and this was a gap Plum successfully bridged.

Co-building benefits with customers

What started with doctor consultations has now expanded to include dental and vision checkups, thereby adding to their bouquet of health benefits. The team is routinely innovating and improving their products to give customers what they truly want, based on their feedback.

Plum has also introduced a round-the-year wellness programme for all employees, offering services like health checkups, doctor teleconsultations, mental wellness, dental care, fitness, diet, and yoga.

With dedicated account managers who gather feedback from customers, the company aims to elevate its customer experience.

Future plans

Plum focuses extensively on the claims experience, which is measured using Claim NPS (net promoter score). Its Claims NPS stands at 79 – the highest in the industry – due to their superior claims experience, which has resulted in them gaining customers’ trust.

While their happy customers are driving the organic growth at Plum, the startup has a long way to go. Abhishek expects the demand for health insurance to grow further in the next decade, with penetration rising from 20 to 80 percent in the next 15 years. “This growth will likely be driven by employer- and government-sponsored health insurance schemes," he adds.

Plum recently hired in their leadership team and is looking at investing in more high-quality team leaders and employees who believe in their mission. They want to continue working on giving employees and HR teams world-class product experience to build the brand as the most trusted in health insurance.


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