Nigerian healthtech startup, Wellahealth has emerged as runner-up of the Swiss Re 2021 Entrepreneurs for Resilience Award.
Tied in second place with Wellahealth was Uganda’s clinicPesa. Mexico’s Clinicas del Azúcar won the top prize after being selected from among the finalists by a jury of Swiss Re senior executives, an academic representative and a Swiss Re client at a live virtual event.
Wellahealth had qualified for the competition’s last stage as one of the top three finalists.
The top 3 finalists were selected from among 245 applicants worldwide, which submitted entries of their tech-enabled solutions making healthcare more accessible to underserved communities.
The Swiss Re is the world’s largest reinsurer as measured by net premiums. Its 2021 Entrepreneurs for Resilience Award focused on innovative solutions that increase financial access to healthcare in low-income communities.
As runner-up, Wellahealth will now have access to its share of a $700,000 grant and benefit from coaching plus technical advice provided by Swiss Re employees.
Wellahealth wants to leverage the new funding to further execute its growth strategy by financing product development and distribution via mobile money agents with upfront investments in supporting and training. The startup is also looking to speed up the technology build-out for a crowdfunding product set to launch this year.
Founded in 2014 by Dr Ikpeme Neto, Wellahealth provides affordable health insurance plans for patients with common illnesses such as malaria by leveraging pharmacies as points of care.
Traditional health insurance covers less than 10% of Nigerians, mostly those with formal employment.
Wellahealth targets lower-income households usually with no insurance coverage by offering health insurance plans starting from just N450/month. Insured households then get access to telemedicine consultations, chronic disease screening, drug discounts and cashback for hospital stays.
The wellness startup operates in all 36 states across Nigeria and has partnered with up to 1,200 local pharmacies nationwide.
Having launched its first microinsurance product for malaria treatment in 2019, Wellahealth says it has sold 3,000 plans and paid out 800 claims as of December 2020.
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