UC has always offered its partners insurance and debt benefits and now we are expanding those further
There’s a difference between a house and a home. A house is a place, a home is where you belong. It needs to smell like you, feel warm like you. Urban Company and its micro-entrepreneurs have worked hard with you, so you get to keep living this dream. Our partners have always been there for you and extended their services whenever you needed them. Which is why we are adding to the benefits we offer them and introducing a few new plans.
Last time, we highlighted a 12-point plan to fix commissions and cap penalties. Now, we want to discuss the safety net we provide for our partners and how we plan to strengthen it.
Long-term safety net
Taking stock of our earlier promise of assisting UC Partners, we have made some necessary changes by adding to our pre-existing benefits for our partners.
Having an accident insurance policy is vital for our partners as they spend a lot of time travelling between homes in different parts of Indian cities. Often, customers ask them to reach ‘ASAP’ and they need to navigate potholed roads and unpredictable traffic. Our Rs 6 lakh accident insurance policy — offered on a group basis — aims to give our partners a safety net on Indian roads.
How does this insurance cover actually benefit our partners? That’s a good question. The Group Personal Accident Insurance covers every active partner on our platform — an active partner is someone who has taken at least one job via UC in the last 30 days — and provides up to Rs 6 lakh insurance cover for death, disability, or accidental hospitalisation.
How can they claim it? The partner — or their next of kin — can claim insurance either through the UC mobile app or via the recently launched dedicated Insurance Claims helpline.
We’re also providing our UC Plus category partners medical insurance coverage of up to Rs 2 lakh. UC Plus partners are defined by their rating, number of jobs done every month and if they want to be part of the programme. This medical cover offers benefits of OPD as well as treatment if hospitalised. These partners also get 12 free doctor consultations in a year.
Newcomer kit loans: This is open for all partners and we underwrite all these loans. We facilitate it by partnering with non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). For their first booking, it’s great when our partners carry the best work kits — with all tools required — sourced through us. If our partners choose to leave the platform at any time, the kits stay with them.
Personal loans: We offer the option of loans in the range of Rs 5,000- Rs30,000 on our partner application. These are instantaneous loans that can be processed in a single day. The loan amount depends on the category of a partner. Since this is for emergency purposes, no questions are asked. So far, over Rs 2.7 crore worth loans have been disbursed in the past year, with a ticket size of anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 30,000.
Home loans: We have begun a pilot with NBFCs and banks, through whom we facilitate home loans for partners who have been on the platform for over a year. As many as 30 partners have been approved for the program this year, and five of them have got final disbursals to fund their home purchases. The repayment of loans is handled directly by the NBFCs.
We want to help our partners do well
At Urban Company, we want to prioritise our partners. And this culture isn’t new.
We value their time and do not have any time limits on when they should wind up their work. Everyone needs to switch off, and our partners are free to choose the number of hours they would like to work on a daily basis.
We’ve also organised a COVID-19 vaccination drive to help our partners stay healthy in these uncertain times. We’ve made medical reimbursements for UC Partners who tested positive and offered them on-tap loans.
During both the first and second waves of the pandemic, we offered our partners loans up to Rs 10,000. Loans totalling Rs 10 crore were disbursed under this initiative. All of this was done as part of Project Vishwas under the Mission Shakti programme for our service professionals.
Here’s everything we put together to stand by our partners through the pandemic:
- Covid expense fund: During the first wave, we set up a relief fund to support our service partners financially. A corpus of Rs 1.5 crore was set up with contributions from Urban Company founders, employees, and investors. During the second wave, we extended our security net for partners by setting up a Rs 1.2 crore fund — called the Mohit Agrawal COVID Relief Fund, named after our dear colleague who lost his life fighting the virus — to help partners with medical expenses.
- Vaccination drive: We ensured our partners got first access to Covid vaccines. As of 10 October, 93% of our partners have received the first dose of the vaccine, and 50% have received two doses. We will continue to finance vaccine shots until all our partners are fully vaccinated. (Read more here)
- Death benefit: The cash raised under our relief fund was used to pay compensation for death and hospitalisation expenses. While the death benefit is Rs 1 lakh, we’ve offered up to Rs 50,000 for hospitalisation.
As the pandemic eases out and India welcomes a more festive, less bleak time, we’ve stepped up our operations. Between 7–14 October — Navratri season — Urban Company has done more business and delivered more orders than in any other 7-day period in our history.
And none of it would have been possible without our dedicated partners. And a safety net is the least we can offer them.
We want to do a lot more. After all, insurance and emergency funds are all fallbacks. Lest things go wrong.
What’s coming up
We’re also thinking about how we can make things go right for our partners. The precursor to a safety net is a stage, a space where the performer — often an acrobat — can showcase their act in the best possible way.
For our partners, the act is their craft, the stage is our platform, the safety net is the insurance cover and other benefits. But we must also support them in meeting their entrepreneurial aspirations so they take centre stage. To do so, first, we need to help them create wealth.
We’re planning to put in place a convenient financial system in the near future, where partners can use our mobile application for buying savings and investment products from external providers. We will also be conducting programmes and providing financial training to equip our partners with the knowledge to save and grow their wealth. You’ll hear from us on this again very soon.