In conversation with Yash Gupta, the co-founder of Nova Benefits, we find a refreshing perspective on employee health on the company’s growth and how he has brought relief to both parties with his initiative.
Since the industrialization era, the state of the workforce has been changing every decade. From labour laws to employee benefits, we are progressing towards a win-win situation for all.
However, we are rather rushing to get to the solutions through arduous processes. And from Yash Gupta’s perspective, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
What do Nova Benefits Do?
Nova Benefits was founded by Saransh Garg and Yash Gupta in the year 2020. It’s a B2B corporate health insurance platform where employees can easily customize their insurance and health benefits with minimal workflows and paperwork.
A placeholder that found its permanency
We were curious to know how Nova Benefits got its name. Everyone has a great philosophy attached to the name they pick -or that’s what we believed so.
Dispelling our assumption, Yash revealed that he and his friend had an enthusiastic rush of entrepreneurial spirit that they couldn’t hold back any longer. Since they were going to present something new to the industry, they settled on a placeholder name Nova, which means “new” in Latin.
As their focus grew strongly on corporate and employee benefits, they started to like the ring of the placeholder name and added ‘benefits’ as its suffix. And lo and behold, we have Nova Benefits!
Solving human experience
Often entrepreneurs feel dejected when their initial plan doesn’t work out. But, sometimes, a million-dollar idea comes after a million times effort. Yash is no stranger to the struggle. After researching and pursuing hundreds of ideas to no end, it finally clicked.
Having previously worked as an employee in different companies, Yash knew the heavy loads of paperwork that goes through to avail of one or two benefits. Sometimes, an employee entrusts their HR to do all the paperwork for them. One is at their mercy and discretion to get the right help at the right time. There is virtually no one to walk you through each of the benefits, let alone find the best ones that you can make use of.
Case in point, the reward coupons you get after making an online payment. Wouldn’t it be better to just have some cashback or some coupons that we can actually use?
And that’s the same with insurance and employee benefits. We can barter one for another which is suited to our needs.
While the other competitors such as Policy Baazar and others do suggest to a consumer on what policies they can take, they don’t take a holistic account of the corporate-employee benefits.
Rather than going through two separate loads of paperwork, why not reduce the load, and make it swift and accessible in one? And that’s where the million-dollar idea started to take shape!
Taking human experience forward with empathy
The pandemic shook people’s priorities from burning out under piles of work to taking care of their health and those around them. Knowing how to manage and use your money is as important as earning it. And as the old saying goes, “No wealth without good health”, it finally sedimented into people’s consciousness.
Yash has clearly emphasized that an unhappy employee is an unproductive employee. He explains his stance:
“It made a lot of sense to go into this space and see what can be solved there. Take note of problems and there are a lot of things to solve for. And eventually, we realized what we’re solving is a bigger problem for companies. How do they take care of their employees? How do they make sure they are productive? Happy? How do they stand out in a talent market to attract the right kind of people?”
A sense of affordability changes from situation to situation. Affordability changes from person to person and according to their need. How do we solve this in a corporate eco space?
“So we are basically a platform where we try to get all sorts of health and wellness benefits which companies can offer to their employees for different kinds of people. Someone might be 25 years old and they would need a gym membership. But maybe a 35-year-old needs some kind of consultation for the kids, health issues and things like”
Nova Benefits get the employees the exact same thing they need with the flexibility to change their benefits and insurance plans. With the online portal, you find everything you need on your dashboard with minimal paperwork.
A major surgery, huge hospital bill and rows of consultations can make up for a stressful time. This is when the streamlined support of Nova Benefits comes as a help for the employees seeking monetary relief and benefits.
Projections for the years ahead for the insurance industry
We asked Yash about his insight on the industry – how will it change and how would the industry adapt to it?
“Just ten years back, even insurance was very new for companies offering insurance for employees. Only a few MNCs did that and that was the norm. Not everyone got their health insurance from their employers. But if you look at any developed economy like US or China or even other countries, mostly the companies take care of your health insurance and things like that. So that has now slowly started happening in India.”
Looking at the trends, he believes that having insurance for all employees will become a standard in India soon, regardless of the size. The focus would be more on preventive and interactive health care than just treatments. This means more and more companies would offer mental health counseling sessions, gym memberships and chronic programs.
“Healthcare is getting more and more expensive each year, growing by almost 15-20% each year. Whereas maybe your salaries might be rising at, or the retail inflation is, only 7%. So that gap is widening. That makes insurance also more and more important. And in the next five years, you can easily expect this to be three times, four times bigger market than it is today.”
He also admits that currently, the primary focus of insurance companies is on white-collared employees. But firmly believes that it will eventually reach blue-collared employees and cover more parameters.
Creating an everlasting impact on people’s health
Wellness is a consequential result of taking proper care of oneself. But it’s easier said than done. We often encounter problems that delay essential care. Sometimes it’s monetary, sometimes it’s procedural, and sometimes it’s the time frame.
On exploring how Yash views how his initiative has moved human experience forward, he was very humble and unassuming in his answer.
“That’s very ambitious and probably somewhere we would want to be. The human experience means we packed enough humans to really call it the human experience. But at least for a few people, I think we have done a good job.”
He illustrates how satisfied he feels when people feel helped by their services. Be it hand holding them through a claim or automating processes for them, Nova Benefits have indeed, effectively assisted people with their diligence.
Musing on his experience, he adds:
“After having two and a half years in this space, how do we make workplaces happier and healthier? That’s what we think health insurance does. It makes workplaces healthier in some way and also happier because you don’t have to have the stress of dealing with huge insurance, and hospital bills and then that’s where the wellness bit also comes in.”
A prized advice to entrepreneurs
Getting to the heart of the matter, his advice to entrepreneurs of every age would be to not be blinded by ideas and to focus on existing problems. Address the elephant in the room and ride it!
“So rather than thinking in terms of ideas, think in terms of what problems can be solved. Because if you want to make money and you want to make an impact, you need to solve some problems for someone. Ideas don’t pay bills.”
Rapid fire round with Yash Gupta!
This fun section tickles our guest’s minds to ferret top-of-their-head answers to the questions.
- Describe yourself in three words – Techie, Problem-Solver, Curious
- If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be? -Drama
- What’s your favourite hobby? – Keeps changing, but for now – gardening.
- What is one thing every online brand should do? – Understand their target audience and talk their language.
- How many books have you read this year? – 15 so far
- What is the best advice you ever got? – Continuously be a better version of yourself and surround yourself with like-minded people.
- And the worst advice? – I have already forgotten it
- What is your lifelong dream? – Create something big and impactful
- What would you do if you didn’t have to work tomorrow? – Read books, go for a walk, and something like that.