Graduation day for Startupbootcamp’s class of ’16
London played host to two contrasting InsurTech events last week. One saw the graduation of the InsurTech cohort of startups at the Startupbootcamp demo day. The other saw six of the best from the insurance alumni in a “reverse pitch”. One talked about customers and innovation. The other talked about operational efficiency and systems. Rick Huckstep was at both.
The Startupbootcamp team must be absolutely made up.
Sabine and the whole team have run a great InsurTech programe over the past 6 months. And the culmination of all their efforts came together with the class of 2016 giving well-drilled investor pitches in the marvelous Christ Church in Spitalfields, London.
I had seen all of the ten startups back in December at the selection weekend (see here for the article I published at the time). So, for me it was great to see the acceleration that the teams have made, thanks to Startupbootcamp, it’s partners and the mentors.
The thing that struck me was the energy and creativity of the teams, as well as their ingenuity and sense of innovation. The embodiment of InsurTech was plain for all to see.
The startups spanned Life and Non-Life;from distribution to underwriting to claims; for personal lines as well as commercial. Both Pickaxes and Miners (see here to understand).
I have been fortunate enough to work closely with two of the startups throughout the program in Fitsense and RightIndem. So I can tell the readers from first hand experience, they all work extremely hard to make it look this easy!
Innovating from within
As it turned out, the timing for these two events could not have been better.
Because, on the day before Startupbootcamp’s demo day, the InsTech_London meetup held a “reverse pitch” (and if you’re new to InsTech_London and not signed up yet, then you’re missing out).
The idea was for an insurance alumni of “incumbents” to take stage and pitch to the startups about what was important to them. Anyone attending both events had a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the established with the emerging worlds of insurance and their attitudes towards innovation.
The most obvious difference was that the demo day pitches talked “external”; about customers and markets. The incumbents talked “internal” and how they would improve the way they did business.
Both talked the language of innovation. Both valid in their own worlds but also different at the same time.
Both were simple illustrations of the two ends of the innovation spectrum, coming at it from a very different perspective.
And, I suspect, both ends are looking at each other with some degree of innovation envy.
The startups would love the customer base and resources of a large insurer. And the large insurer would love the legacy-free agility, entrepreneurial spirit and freedom of a startup.
As I reflected on the train out of London, I tried to figure out why these events were so different. Why was I uplifted and inspired by one of them, but not both?
Of course, the incumbents have built huge battleships of capability and armoury. But they don’t turn quickly in the water. Which, of course, can be said for just about every commercial industry. And look what’s happened elsewhere.
Take hotels and taxis. Both disrupted by AirBnB and Uber. Yet the combined market size for both these sectors is nowhere near the sheer scale of insurance. Just look at how those industries have changed when no-body saw it coming. The hotel incumbents have had to adapt to the new competition just to stay in business. Which is great for us all, right? After all, who pays “rack rates” anymore?
The technology innovation agenda has to be more than replacing paper with digital and green screens with iPads.
Innovation is as much about attitude and culture as it is about tech. And the two events held in London illustrate how innovation means different things depending on where you start from.
The Startupbootcamp InsurTech Cohort 2016
I must declare an interest in Fitsense as a member of their advisory board. I first met JP a year ago and saw then that they were approaching this differently to most in the wearables/protection space.
Fitsense have built a data aggregation platform for just about any wearable device on the market. They combine this with smartphone data to build a personalized customer profile. The result…greater engagement between the insured and the insurer.
These guys are absolutely on the money! They’re addressing the two key issues with claims; first, it’s a not a great experience for customers, and two, it’s horribly inefficient for insurers.
RightIndem eliminate claims friction through a self-service platform that puts the customer first. The result is a win-win for both parties. Customers get a better service and insurers have lower costs and build brand loyalty (not destroy it!).The three amigos could not have timed their demo day pitch any better! In the week when Facebook open up Messenger to chatbots, Spixii unveil their automated insurance agent.
Totally customer centric, Spixii start with a chatbot so that a real-life human can converse with a real-life machine to buy insurance.
(Interesting fact, Spixii is a type of parrot)
One of the biggest challenges in distribution is matching consumer’s needs with insurance products. This is where Massup come in.
They’ve built a B2B platform that offers 150 specialty and short term insurance products for everything from travel to pet to surf boards! The SaaS solution plugs into any digital sales channel and enables cross-selling of insurance into an eCommerce platform.There is a massive advice gap in the UK market when it comes to pensions. This is the unintended consequence of recent regulatory changes called RDR. And this impacts millions of workers who have accumulated several, modestly sized, pension pots.
Myfuturenow address this issue with a pension consolidation platform that uses machine learning and AI. Built with the customer in mind, the platform makes the consolidation process simple and helps customers understand exactly what they are doing.
Income protection provides financial security for someone on long term sick. And Life insurers will tell you that the longer someone is off-work, the lower their chances of returning. Not good for the individual and an increasing expense for the insurer.
Quantifyle address this issue with the customer in mind. They’ve built a well being app that helps people achieve fitness goals. This is measured in a Momentum Score that can be used by both Group and Individual schemes to improve the overall well being of their employees and customers.
The levels of under-insurance in the mass markets in Sub-Saharan Africa are enormous. This is partly due to demographics and income levels. But mostly, it is because Western insurance businesses don’t know how to address this market.
bimaAFYA have launched a mobile app to provide a micro-health insurance product. Theirend-to-end insurance admin process, from policy to claims, is delivered through a mobile app.
This is a great example of a business moving into an adjacent market. Buzzmove are a price comparison site for the moving industry. What they realized is that they were collecting valuable data about home contents in a digital record.
By building a detailed personal inventory as your home is packed into boxes and moved, they provide insurers and consumers with the information they need to better price contents insurance. And, should a claim be made, there’s evidence that your stuff existed in the first place.
They’re a “pickaxe” for the removals business and have become a “miner” for the insurance industry.
UK Insurers have spent £3bn on Solvency II. And that’s not the end of it. The cost of compliance is a substantial overhead with little value returned, other than satisfying mandatory regulations.
Covi Analytics is the Google for compliance.
By using artificial intelligence and visualizations, Covi enables insurers to extract value from the mountains of reports that otherwise sit idly in an online folder.
The Internet of Things and the connected home offers much to insurers and consumers alike. And it changes the game for insurers too. Because now, they can become risk mitigators, and not just risk takers.
Imagine leaving the house and your insurer sends you a text 10 mins down the road that you left your kitchen window open! Domotz have built a platform for the connected home that gives consumers peace of mind and insurers greater insight.
All of the pitches from the Startupbootcamp InsurTech 2016 cohort can be found here at the Startupbootcamp microsite.
Footnote: Links to previous articles related to this piece
Wearables – Fitsense
Claims – 360Globalnet
Claims – Claimable
Claims – Vis.io
The author, Rick Huckstep, is an InsurTech thought leader and editor of InsurTech Weekly for The Digital Insurer.