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Pula: Providing Agricultural Insurance Solutions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Image Credits: Pula
By: Headliners News / April 26, 2024

Meet Pula, an insurance tech startup headquartered in Kenya, has been on a mission since 2015 to democratize access to agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers in emerging markets, safeguarding them against the perils of pests, diseases, and extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.

With a track record of supporting 15.4 million farmers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Pula is poised for further expansion following a significant milestone: a $20 million Series B funding round. This infusion of capital will enable the company to forge new partnerships, including ventures into livestock insurance.

Leading the funding round is global investment manager BlueOrchard, leveraging its InsuResilience strategy aimed at providing climate insurance access to vulnerable populations in emerging markets. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hesabu Capital, and existing investors, also participated in the round, underscoring the industry’s confidence in Pula’s vision.

Thomas Njeru, CEO of Pula and co-founder alongside Rose Goslinga, expressed their enthusiasm about the company’s trajectory, envisioning a future where insurance reaches 100 million smallholder farmers globally. Njeru reflects on Pula’s humble beginnings as an unconventional idea, now validated by its tangible impact on millions of farmers spanning 22 countries.

Pula’s innovative approach revolves around embedding insurance within the offerings of over 100 partners, ranging from charitable organizations to financial institutions and agricultural input suppliers. By integrating insurance seamlessly into products such as farm inputs or credit facilities, Pula ensures accessibility even for remote farmers, addressing longstanding barriers like high costs and limited awareness.

Each insurance product is meticulously tailored to the specific needs of clients and beneficiaries, leveraging Pula’s digital actuarial platform. Drawing insights from historical data, including weather patterns and agricultural practices, Pula designs products that mitigate risks effectively while remaining financially viable.

The startup‘s partnerships extend across various regions, with notable collaborations in Zambia and Ethiopia, where insurance premiums are bundled with agricultural essentials, reaching thousands of farmers. Pula’s impact reverberates in instances like the recent wheat rust outbreak in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, where the company is poised to make its largest insurance payout to date, amounting to an estimated $800,000.

Beyond mitigating risks, Pula’s insurance solutions catalyze agricultural productivity and financial resilience among smallholder farmers. Research conducted by the company indicates substantial improvements in investment, yields, and household savings among insured farmers, highlighting the transformative potential of agricultural insurance in emerging markets.

Buoyed by the success of its crop insurance offerings, Pula is poised to introduce livestock insurance, building on insights gleaned from a pilot program launched in Nigeria. Additionally, the company is doubling down on expansion efforts in Asia and Latin America, further solidifying its commitment to empowering farmers worldwide through innovative insurance solutions.

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