What comes to your mind when you think of specific products like Netflix or Spotify? Have fun, right? If you’re a frequent user of these apps, your brain likely secretes a “happy” chemical, dopamine, that associates the product with the pleasure you get from good movies and songs. On the other hand, car insurance products leave most Nigerians discontented with their experiences with them. Ibrahim BabalolaAnd the ETAPIts founder is on a mission to change this narrative. With a diversified approach, the Lagos-based entrepreneur is pushing to make auto insurance seamless, fun and dopamine stimulating for Nigerians.
Ibrahim plays in an industry that most Nigerians don’t care about. In a country of more than 200 million people, meager 0.3% (Less than 1 in 10 drivers) are insured. This is in stark contrast to the law, which requires every vehicle on Nigerian soil to be permanently secured. Apparently, most Nigerians prefer to put their insurance in the hands of fate and prayer, because it is free and Automatically renewable. However, Nigerian road accidents increasing. This is where ETAP comes in, with several proposals that could eventually convince vehicle owners to say, “yes I do,” For car insurance.
ETAP is leveraging technology to digitize how Africans consume car insurance. By eliminating the bottlenecks associated with traditional insurance companies, ETAP claims its users can purchase auto insurance in 90 seconds and complete their insurance claims within a record three minutes. While some other insurance companies may have offers of similar value, ETAP takes its value by offering a notch higher by stimulating the driving experience of its drivers. With the ETAP mobile app, which uses advanced information technologies to monitor driving behaviour, drivers can log safe driving points for their journeys. These points can then be exchanged for good things like free fuel, movie tickets, concerts, shopping vouchers, and many more dopamine-stimulating foods.
“No insurance company in Nigeria has a product like ours on the market,” Babalola told TechCabal over a phone call. “We solve the issues of accessibility, confidence and comfort, which are the main pain points that people face when buying insurance. To reduce that, we make this very simple for everyone to use and motivate drivers along the way.”
“Some of the additional perks for ETAP users include the app’s ability to access local emergency services in the event of an accident. Drivers of affected vehicles can also be instantly paired with authorized auto repair centers nearby. With all this, we take auto insurance to the next level and renew Nigerians’ confidence in insurance. “.
ETAP launched its beta version in November 2021, collected feedback on its first version, iterated on it, and then launched an improved version in April 2022, to differentiate its product launched in the market.
Within these five months, the company says its customers have made more than one million kilometers of insured trips, with the two million kilometer mark expected to be crossed by the end of the year.
Like many innovative startups around the world, ETAP was born out of problems that its founder faced firsthand. For Babalola, buying auto insurance in Nigeria was just a hindrance. He had to call someone to renew his contracts every time they expired, and at some point, he started thinking, “There has to be a better way to get this done.” ETAP turned out to be the better way, and today Babalola and thousands of others are using ETAP to automate their lockouts and receive timely notifications.
As Nigerians say, show me your friend – or partner – and I will tell you who you are. ETAP has been in successive partnership with major players in the industry over the past few months. In July, it partnered with MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecom operator, to give millions of drivers access to ETAP’s driving privileges at a data-free cost. Babalola hinted that MTN workers were profligate about the ETAP product, indicating a common interest on both sides, especially as the telecom company is gradually transforming into a full-fledged technology company.
ETAP’s most recent partnership was a deal with CFAO Motors, the sole distributor of Suzuki vehicles in Nigeria. This deal translated into inline insurance coverage for all new vehicle purchases from CFAO Motors.
In addition to the unconventional experience that ETAP offers to its users, the company’s horn sounds the highest in its ability to calculate premiums on a case-by-case basis. Using a similar financial credit scoring algorithm, ETAP can assess the risks associated with each driver and calculate a corresponding premium to them in their first interaction with the company. As drivers continue to use the app on their trips, their average trip scores are factored into their profile. Drivers can take advantage of higher average scores to access lower premiums in the future.
“We are constantly working hard to open up markets and win over Nigerians for insurance. Other possibilities we are exploring are partnerships with banks that can empower drivers in our network. [to] Earn cash rewards when they drive safely. There is still a lot in our pipeline. “We’re just scratching the surface now,” Babalola said confidently.
Earlier in April, ETAP raised $1.5 million in seed funding in a round led by Mobility 54, the venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho and CFAO Group. With this increase and ambitious Babalola at the helm of affairs, ETAP hopes to expand its offerings into other African countries, starting with Ghana in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Babalola, a serial CEO with a history of building both fintech and proptech startups at scale, aligns the Nigerian insurance market with the reality of the world’s most developed countries. Like his contemporaries scattered across the continent, the young entrepreneur is contributing to the digital revolution sweeping Africa. He is well aware that he is playing in a relatively immature industry. However, this brave Nigerian is doing his best to digitally disrupt Nigeria’s auto insurance industry, one innovation at a time.
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