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Invitation to beta-test Bi-me, the digital broker for small business 

Most small businesses and start-ups in South Africa don’t buy insurance because it’s too onerous, costly and time-consuming, forcing them to gamble with their future. Until now, that is.

Bi-me, a digital broker that specifically provides business insurance to small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs), is about to launch in the South African marketplace. Modelled on its parent, the Australian success story that is BizCover, and partnered with leading short-term insurance brands, Bi-me is set to change the face of business insurance in South Africa.

Michael Gottlieb, founder and CEO of BizCover says, “With Bi-me entering the South African market small businesses are set to reap the benefits of a platform that provides them with a transparent way to compare their insurance options and empowers them to cover the risks they want to cover with the insurers they choose.

“The high calibre of partners already on the platform and a market where businesses are open to adopting innovative propositions provides Bi-me with a massive opportunity to disrupt a very traditional and sizeable industry that has not yet embraced technology.”

An invitation to try out the Bi-me platform

Bi-me is so confident in its platform, which is currently undergoing beta testing, that it invites small business owners, early technology adopters and the media to try it out.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” says Bi-me CEO Francois Potgieter. “Rather than trying to persuade people that our platform can do what we say it does – in other words, provide small business owners with quick, easy, relevant insurance – we would rather have it speak for itself.

“So we invite small business owners, early adopters and the media to explore and use our platform. Interested parties will be given the opportunity to create a test account and ‘buy’ insurance.

“We’re so confident that our platform will stand up to rigorous testing that all successful test users will be entered into a lucky draw, where several cool prizes will be up for grabs.

“Our small disclaimer is that there is a possibility that you may run a business or have a profession that doesn’t yet have a risk assessment profile. In that case, you’ll need to talk to a human, but you will be doing everybody else in your sector a solid favour by helping us to train our artificial intelligence.”

The (small) business case for Bi-me

“Fewer than half, and possibly only a third, of South Africa’s 750 000 formal small businesses are insured. Yet in a sector where cash flow is king, it takes just one unforeseen calamity to upset an SMME’s balance sheet and spell disaster,” says Potgieter.

“Just as BizCover’s founders were bothered that time-starved small business owners had to jump through hoops to get their dream ventures insured, putting up with big players who don’t really cater to them, time-consuming paperwork and processes, lack of transparency and poor service, we believe that South Africa’s entrepreneurs deserve a better deal.

“The bottom line? Insurance for small business should be easy – hence the Bi-me brand: Business Insurance Made Easy.”

The Bi-me platform, at www.bi-me.co.za, provides small business owners with the information they need to grasp their exact insurance requirements, compare products, and easily and conveniently buy insurance, backed up by strong claims service.

Bi-me is already underwritten by three of South Africa’s leading short-term insurance brands: Hollard Insure, iTOO and Discovery, with more in the offing. For Hollard Insure CEO Willie Lategan, Bi-me is a new broker partner, albeit a digital one.

“Hollard Insure’s business model is a broker-facing one. We believe passionately in partnering with brokers, and in the value – in terms of the expert advice and service they provide – that only brokers can offer our policyholders.

“Bi-me, therefore, fits perfectly with the way we do business: it provides customers with the knowledge they need to make sound insurance decisions, backed by great products and strong claims support, on a platform that is easy to use, quick and convenient,” says Lategan.

Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip says that helping small businesses protect themselves against unexpected losses is not only good for them, but the South African economy as well.

“More than a fifth of the South African economy’s turnover is generated by small businesses, which also employ millions of people. SMMEs are thus a major driver of our economy, yet they are the most vulnerable to shocks.

“Insurance exists so that economies can function properly, and that extends to those vital smaller economic players, too. Entrepreneurs start businesses because they have a great idea and a passion to make it work, and there should be no reason why they have to bet that passion against the hope that everything will be OK,” Ossip says.