gigacoveragea Singapore-based fintech company that provides construction workers with access to benefits, announced on Dec. 3 its expansion into the Philippines, which has a 1.5 million informal workforce.
It offers the self-employed incentives associated with regular employment.
“Benefits and insurance are the two main areas where Gigacover seeks to create and add value to Filipinos who lack them,” said Amerson Lin, co-founder and CEO of Gigacover, in an e-mail. email to Business world. “The team is also exploring financial products that would give these workers access to capital – to get the tools they need for their jobs or to access their income faster.”
The Philippines has one of the youngest and largest casual labor force in Southeast Asia (SEA), according to Lin.
The gig economy refers to technology-based temporary work with independent contractors or freelancers. This type of project-based work includes computer programming, social media management, graphic design, virtual assistance, and carpooling.
Based on World Bank 2019 estimatesSEA’s informal workforce has seen consistent annual growth of 30% – which has been further accelerated in 2020 by the pandemic.
Mr. Lin, who was an IT freelancer, founded Gigacover after realizing he couldn’t even get a credit card application approved due to the nature of his job. .
Gigacover works in partnership with gig markets and other companies that intend to sponsor benefits and insurance for their gig staff. In keeping with the nature of gig work, he co-creates benefits and insurance programs that allow for flexibility – such as breaking down annual insurance plans into monthly shows.
Workers who want to increase or extend their company-sponsored coverage can also do so through the platform.
Its first customers in the Philippines are filipina moms at home, an entrepreneurship and freelance group for Filipino mothers; and GogoXpressa cargo and freight business.
“[Individual] workers will only be able to register [for our products]if their marketplaces or businesses partner with Gigacover,” Lin said. “The team is working hard to open direct channels soon for workers to buy on their own.”
Gigacover’s partners include Etiqa, a Malaysian insurance companyand Aventus, a provider of medical services.
The fintech company, whose country manager for the Philippines was himself a former Uber and Grab driver in Singapore, aims to cover 100,000 gig workers in the country by the second quarter of 2022. – Patricia B. Mirasol