Acko Insurance & The New Era of Digital Insurance Market – Manish Thakur talks about benefits & advantages

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Chief Investment Officer of Acko Insurance, Manish Thakur, CFA.

ACKO Insurance is one of India’s leading digital insurance policy providers with its entire operations offered through the digital platform. Founded in 2016 by Varun Dua and Ruchi Deepak, ACKO’s entire process is designed to provide a better customer experience. ACKO executes primarily through a digital platform with no offline hassles – zero paperwork from purchase, claims to renewals. ACKO’s innovative products and smart technology offerings make it stand out. The company uses a direct-to-consumer approach for distributing traditional products, allowing for favourable risk selection and exceptional underwriting. ACKO also offers innovative and bite-sized insurance products such as rider insurance, mobile and appliance protection, ticket cancellation etc in partnership with 18+ leading players in the internet ecosystem such as Ola, Oyo, redBus, Zomato, HDB Financial Services and UrbanCompany. In a span of 24 months of operations, the company has distributed insurance policies to over 62+ Mn unique customers and issued 800 mn insurance policies.

Q1. Why insurance is so important?

Insurance is the most important point of any financial planning. Financial freedom can not be achieved solely based on saving – insuring life, health and assets are equally important. In simple terms, insurance transfers our risk to the insurer. At time of emergency, having insurance reduces our financial burden. Medical emergencies due to COVID reinforces the need to have adequate insurance. My suggestion to everyone would be to never look at insurance as tax saving option because it provides safety net to you and your family and complete peace of mind.

Q2. How did you first get involved into the market?

I never made a conscious choice to make a career in investment. During my college days, I was more interested in making my career in sales. During 2008 crisis I was an equity trader at a hedge fund. Post subprime crisis, jobs in the investment side seemed less secured, so I again started searching for an opportunity in sales. But fate had different plans for me. I continued in investment and today I happen to be the Chief Investment Officer at one of India’s fastest growing insurance company. It has been a very fascinating journey for me. Someone rightly said, luck is underrated.

Q3. What has been your biggest learning from market?

One of the biggest misconception people have about market is “buy low and sell high”. I believe that far more money can be made in case of buying at high and selling at even higher price.

It is important to understand the difference between respect the market and fear of market. While respecting the market, it is important for preservation of capital but we can`t make money if we keep on thinking about risk. Fear may keep you away from making the correct decisions.

Q4. What should we do if we are 50 -50 about any investment decision?

Missing an important trade is a much more serious error than making a bad trade. It is easy to make system which can protect us from bad trade but no system can assure us that we will eventually get an entry. For example, if a stock is trading at Rs. 100 and we are confused, whether to buy or not. We should always buy because a strict stop loss can protect downside risk, for example exit trade below 15% @Rs. 85 but if you don’t buy and price keeps on rising 2x and 3x of initial price, it will be emotionally impossible to buy that stock at such a high price.

Q5. What is your view on the current market?

A bull run may happen because of many reasons – liquidity, central bank manipulation, irrational euphoria, and sometimes fundamental. But a bear market is always based on only one reason, “fundamentals”. For market to sustain at this level, companies have to show high profit and revenue growth.

Q6. Any suggestion for people who want to make career in investment?

Learn math, read as many books as possible and try to build an edge, as it’s an overcrowded place. More importantly, have courage to do unconventional things.

Q7. What is your most frequent one liner in market?

Fear of missing out is more powerful emotion than fear of losing money. It is not important that whether you are right or wrong but how much money you have made when you were right and how much you lost when you were wrong.

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