Current insurance offerings for freelancers
Traditionally, insurers have offered freelancers insurance products related to their business needs. Such insurance products include workers’ compensation, business owner policies, general liability, professional liability, and cyber insurance. There is a growing trend of digital versions of these products being offered by insurtech companies.
In the U.S., Coverdash’s digital insurance experience enables business owners to quote, bind, pay for, and actively manage insurance policies in a matter of seconds. The company is also working on an embedded insurance proposition.
In Europe, Insify offers business insurance in a digital-friendly, streamlined fashion. The startup targets small businesses in the e-commerce, leisure, construction, and IT sectors, among others. Moojo is introducing liability coverage for IT professionals in partnership with Hiscox Germany, with plans to roll out the product to other groups, such as influencers, bloggers, and marketing professionals. Also, in partnership with Hiscox Germany, Hamburg-based freelancer marketplace, Junico, is introducing a new insurance offering. Freelancers accepting and completing projects through Junico will automatically receive professional and business liability insurance at no extra cost. The company’s service fee for completed projects ranges from 10-15%, and users have three coverage options: Basic, Plus, and Complete. The Plus package offers additional protection for anything related to cyber security, and the Complete package includes coverage for work-related belongings such as cameras, computers, and phones.
Bunker, an online instant business insurance platform for independent contractors and businesses, allows workers to purchase insurance for the term of their work contracts, enabling more flexible and meaningful coverage. For example, the company’s occupational accident insurance covers on-the-job accidents that otherwise may not be covered by traditional policies.
Insurtechs have also started to embed these offerings, including Alicia, Jove, and Insured Nomads:
- Alicia partnered with digital bank Knab, which offers banking for the self-employed, to offer a variety of insurance products on the bank’s site.
- The Headfirst Group, a staffing agency, now offers an insurance solution on its platform, available in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
- Jove is building a bundle of insurance products, including business, car, health, travel, and gadget insurance for drivers, freelancers, and consultants, delivered via an embedded model. Jove is set to launch in January 2024 with car insurance before entering the business and health insurance space.
- Insured Nomads has plans for travel insurance, short-term cross-border medical insurance, health insurance, and individual/group device and protection plans. Partnership with neobanks that serve the new modern citizen is a strong value add for financial industry collaborations.
Health insurance for the freelancer community
Freelancers now find more digital health insurance products that offer a simple sign-up process without the need for medical checks. Some insurers even provide the option for customers to choose their health and dental insurance coverage. These flexible plans encompass a range of benefits, including dental care, mental health services, massage and physiotherapy, prescription drugs, as well as accidental death or dismemberment coverage.
Freelancers, also known as digital nomads, often work abroad and can now find specialized travel medical insurance products tailored to their needs. These products allow them to access comprehensive health insurance that is valid in any country they are stationed in. Examples in the U.S. include Topcoder and Safety Wing’s Nomad Insurance and Remote Health, which offers a product for remote teams and entrepreneurs. Options like Genki World Resident: International Health Insurance for Digital Nomads and Canada Life offer customizable health and dental plans to this growing segment of freelancers.
Asia is witnessing a rise in flexible health plans. In the Philippines, the startup Kwik.insure has recently introduced KwikCare Health Subscriptions, a healthcare plan targeting freelancers in the country. This new plan starts at P995 per month, with a maximum benefit limit per illness ranging from P50,000 up to P150,000.
Additionally, Gigacover offers employment benefits to Filipino freelancers, contributing to the growing accessibility of healthcare options for this group. Gigacover partners with freelance marketplaces and other companies to provide sponsored benefits and insurance for their freelancers. GigaHealth, the firm’s health insurance plan, offers flexibility and the ability to break down the annual coverage into monthly issuances.
Meanwhile, in India, Plum launched a specialized plan targeting early-stage startups, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and gig workers/ freelance consultants.
Other insurance solutions for the freelancer community
Additional insurance solutions for freelancers in Asia include MSIG Insurance’s Freelancer CashPlus in Singapore, offering income protection with daily cash benefits for prolonged illness or injury.
In the Philippines, InLife, along with its HMO subsidiary InLife Health Care, combine term life insurance, hospital income, and healthcare solutions. The insurance package offers three main benefits: six-month term life insurance, daily hospital income for six months, and a one-time emergency care health plan.
Gigacover has expanded beyond Singapore and is now operating in the Philippines with strategic partnerships involving several insurance companies. This move aims to reach the grassroots economy and cater to the needs of millions of workers in micro, small, and medium enterprises. Collaborating with partners Etiqa Philippines and MAPFRE, Gigacover provides a range of life insurance options, including GigaOne for life insurance, GigaWork for income and parcel insurance, GigaHealth for health insurance, GigaDrivefor motor excess reduction insurance, and GigaBundle, a comprehensive insurance package for businesses, including essential care coverage, life and accident insurance, and earnings and income protection. Additionally, Gigacover is exploring the development of products focused on mental health.
In India Reliance General has launched a product for freelance workers, providing coverage for health, personal accident, accidental death, and mobile phone damages. Through partnership with the country’s on-demand convenience delivery platform, the insurance plan extends to cover 300,000 delivery partners nationwide. The insurance plan covers several essential benefits, including OPD treatment, medical hospitalization, maternity cover, and other features based on the eligibility criteria of the master group health insurance policy.
The contribution of freelance workers to the economy is significant. In the future, addressing the insurance needs of freelance workers requires solutions that go beyond just business-focused coverage. Life and health insurance solutions should be designed to cater specifically to freelancers’ chosen lifestyle and individual needs, with a focus on flexibility and customization, preferably offered via a digital channel to enhance accessibility and convenience.
According to gig workers, freelancers face challenges in future financial and retirement planning. More than half of the gig workers (53%) surveyed lack effective access to retirement and savings plans. The disconnect between relatively high levels of financial literacy and concerns about retirement among freelance workers can be attributed to their lack of financial planning, lack of access to retirement savings plans, and often, their young age.
To bridge this gap, fintech innovations can play a vital role, such as investment apps that automatically save small incremental amounts of the user’s choosing. Additionally, offering affordable insurance offerings tailored for freelance workers would be beneficial. Insurers need to closely monitor this space to meet the evolving needs of freelancers in the gig economy.