The South African startup working on a programmable bank account is bringing you “Insurance as an API”

A South African startup that's working on bringing to market a programmable bank account called Root, has announced it is working on "Insurance as an API." The first product to come out of this is Hero Life - a low-cost life insurance product for young parents.

The team says the idea of "Insurance as an API" came as a result of working with the team at MMI Holdings as well as co-hosting an insurance hackathon.

Insurance as an API Hero Root
Hero - a life insurance product for young parents that's easy and quick to get.

"Like the world of banking, insurance is a highly regulated industry. To get a product to market can take months and literally require millions of rands. But in collaboration with insurance experts, we’ve been building an API that will take care of the complexities of insurance licenses and legal compliance. That means makers can focus on their product and customers, leaving the red tape to us. We’ve been running user tests on two different types of insurance products: long-term insurance (like life insurance and funeral cover) and short-term insurance (like gadget, household, and vehicle insurance) on the platform. We decided that the next few apps will be focused on life insurance, allowing us to optimize the platform in one area first," said Louw Hopley, Co-Founder at Root.

As far as the programmable bank account is concerned, the team at Root says that they have been getting a few things in place, considering how regulated banking is, such as migrating to Kubernetes and optimizing their know-your-customer onboarding flow, and building simple features like 3-month bank statement exports.

"A few cool features are coming to Root accounts in Q1 this year, including scheduled RootCode (think: AWS Lambda * cron + bank account). Now you can easily program your bank account to do things like send recurring dynamic payments (that ever-changing electricity bill!) or send yourself weekly usage summaries by email. We’re also working on tools to prevent yourself from accidentally transferring funds out (for when you misplace that bracket)," said Hopley.

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