Pula Secures $20 Million in Series B Funding for Agricultural Insurance in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Pula, an insurtech based in Kenya, has since 2015 been keen on enhancing the access to agricultural insurance by small-holder farmers across emerging markets, shielding them against losses from pests, diseases and/or extreme weather events like floods and droughts. “Partnering with this group of like-minded investors to boost the growth of Pula globally is a very exciting milestone in driving our triple 100 vision, through which we intend to bring insurance to 100 million smallholder farmers. Pula embeds insurance in partners’ productsInstead of selling insurance directly to farmers, Pula has built a distribution channel of over 100 partners, including charitable organizations, banks, governments and agricultural input companies, to serve even the hard-to-reach farmers, by embedding insurance, for instance, in farm input costs or credit. Each product Pula offers is customized to suit the demands of its clients, and the needs of the beneficiary farmers. Pula, through insurance partners, has been offering rural families in Nigeria comprehensive coverage against banditry, disease and death of animals.

Pula: Revolutionizing Agricultural Insurance Across Emerging Markets

“Partnering with this group of like-minded investors to boost the growth of Pula globally is a very exciting milestone in driving our triple 100 vision, through which we intend to bring insurance to 100 million smallholder farmers. What started nine years ago as an unconventional idea that many deemed un-scalable is now a proven solution that has solved real needs for millions of smallholder farmers across 22 countries,”

said Pula CEO Thomas Njeru.

Founded in Kenya in 2015, Pula is a leading insurtech company dedicated to improving access to agricultural insurance for small-holder farmers in emerging markets. Their goal is to protect farmers from potential losses caused by pests, diseases, and extreme weather conditions such as floods and droughts. So far, Pula has successfully insured over 15.4 million farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The recent $20 million series B funding round, led by global investment manager BlueOrchard through its InsuResilience strategy, will enable Pula to establish new partnerships, including livestock coverage, and expand its reach to even more farmers.

The IFC, through its $225 million venture capital platform, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hesabu Capital, and existing investors, also participated in the round.

Embedded Insurance: Pula’s Unique Approach

Unlike traditional insurance companies, Pula does not directly sell insurance to farmers. Instead, they have built a distribution channel of over 100 partners that includes charitable organizations, banks, governments, and agricultural input companies. This allows them to reach even the most remote and hard-to-reach farmers by embedding insurance in products such as farm inputs or credit.

Each insurance product offered by Pula is tailored to fit the specific needs and demands of its clients and the farmers they serve. These products are underwritten by insurance and reinsurance companies and are designed, including premium setting, through Pula’s digital actuary platform. Utilizing historical data, including weather patterns and previous events, Pula is able to create customized insurance products for their clients.

Pula has formed successful partnerships with governments and organizations in countries such as Zambia and Ethiopia, where they embed insurance premiums with fertilizer and seed packages and input voucher schemes. Their impact has been demonstrated through a recent insurance payout of $800,000 to farmers in Ethiopia affected by wheat rust disease.

Empowering Farmers and Driving Growth

Pula’s innovative approach to agricultural insurance has shown significant benefits for farmers in emerging markets. Their products have led to increased investment, yields, and household savings. Additionally, their partner insurer’s payouts have totaled over $40 million to 900,000 farmers since Pula’s inception.

According to Pula CEO Thomas Njeru, their research has shown that agricultural insurance can help smallholder farmers increase investment by an average of 16%, improve yields by 56%, and increase household savings by up to 170%. Encouragingly, 80% of farmer groups and aggregators that purchase Pula-developed insurance products from their partner insurers renew their coverage the following year.

“Lastly, our impact is reflected in our renewal rate and growth. Eighty percent of the farmer groups and aggregators that buy Pula-developed insurance products from our partner insurers renew the following year, which is above the industry average, and reflects our customers satisfaction with our comprehensive products,” said Njeru.

Expanding Coverage: Pula’s Future Plans

Building on the success of their crop insurance products, Pula is now looking to introduce livestock coverage in countries like Kenya, after a successful pilot program in Nigeria last year. This comprehensive coverage protects rural families against risks such as banditry, disease, and animal death. Pula is also expanding its reach to Asia and Latin America, markets they entered in 2021.

As Pula continues to revolutionize agricultural insurance and empower small-holder farmers in emerging markets, it’s clear that their unconventional and innovative approach is making a real impact.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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