The insurtech helped with the design and creation of Za Teb, an app made to support victims of domestic abuse in Bulgaria — one of the world's most affected countries
London-based insurtech PremFina has helped develop new app to combat domestic in Bulgaria — a country with one of the highest rates of the crime worldwide.
The Za Teb app was launched by a Bulgarian not-for-profit company, of the same name, founded by fashion model and social media influencer Ivelina Choeva.
As CEO, she accepted help from PremFina — admitting she was surprised to find the insurtech was keen to be included in the project’s development.
“As an insurance premium finance company, you would assume this is of no interest for them. But they care about social issues and wanted to help,” she said.
PremFina’s interest in Za Teb was part of a plan to increase its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) impact along with its growth into Bulgaria, where it has an office and 20 staff members.
PremFina chief technology officer Nij Saha said: “We’re an antidote to the status quo.
“Our company promotes financial inclusion by making insurance more affordable.
“Za Teb’s mission of empowering women fits our ethos of emancipation, so we became ready supporters.”
Bulgaria’s domestic violence problem
According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner worldwide.
However, research from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights found this figure increased to one in two across of Eastern Europe.
In Bulgaria specifically, 19% of women claimed to have been victims, but FRA’s report also found low levels of understanding around what constitutes the crime, which is something Choeva hopes her app will help tackle.
She said: “Something had to be done. The statistics about severe domestic abuse in Bulgaria were simply shocking.
“Support groups exist for victims, but they are disparate and disconnected. Our app is both a voice for victims and a platform to connect them with social workers, NGOs (non-government organisation) and the police.
“While there are many organisations to reach out to — the voice of victims has been muted.”
To make matters worse, Choeva believes the laws designed to protect women from violence at the hands of their partner are ineffective because many are too scared or embarrassed to seek help.
“A plane on the ground is of little use — to be effective, it must take flight,” she said.
“Nearly 150 countries worldwide have laws against domestic violence, but without enforcement, they are ineffective.
“Our app connects people at the grassroots level to educate and empower people in order to fight this social disease.”
How does Za Teb help domestic violence victims?
For victims of domestic abuse, Za Teb’s app provides information that can help them recognise abusive behaviour from their partners, as well as highlighting the nearest safe places and emergency helplines should they need them.
PremFina also helped design the app to appeal to the friends and families of people they suspect could be victims.
In this case, it provides similar information on identifying abusive behaviour towards others, as well as guidance on how to report it and contact details to do so.
The app connects all domestic abuse help organisations in Bulgaria, making the process of finding help and information easy.
It also allows victims to create a record of their abuse, enabling them gather evidence to show police or present at trial should they decide to take legal action.
The app is available to use in Bulgaria for iOS and Android users as of today.