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Insurtech Panorama in Portugal: 2019

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Insurtech in Portugal has been experiencing a period of development with an accelerated dynamism. Any player can bring innovation to the industry, but there is no doubt that startups bring tremendous energy to this process. I herein will focus on the important role of these small and agile business units, and also relate them to other relevant stakeholders of the process.

This momentum is corroborated by the weight Insurtech has gained in Portugal’s top 30 companies Fintech Report 2019, the largest aggregator of information and statistics on technology application in the financial sector in Portugal. Some of the key traits that characterize the ecosystem reveal that Insurtech already represents nearly 20% of these companies, with 80% being business-to-business (B2B).

When asked, 46% of the founders of these companies consider that in 2019 there were improvements in the ease of collaboration with incumbent insurers.

In terms of collaboration and openness of regulators, 50% notes a positive evolution. This may also be explained by ASF’s participation in the Portuguese Innovation Hub – “Portugal Finlab, where regulation meets innovation”. This unique feature at European level is that it brings together all financial supervisors in a single point of contact: a program that fits companies and their initiatives, whether incumbent or startups, in the light of current legislation on the principle of being “Regulated by Design”.

This movement is not born alone. It enjoys a context in which Portugal has increasingly been chosen as a European hub for the development of technology companies and startups (note: see article in the previous newsletter). The external attractiveness, coordinated with the growth of our internal startups (in which we already have three companies worth over € 1 billion, the famous unicorns), leads to a critical mass concentration that has allowed the creation of vertical infrastructures to accommodate these innovators. Insurtechs has Fintech House, the first national co-work dedicated to a single technology vertical. It will open its doors in December 2019 at the Palácio das Varandas, in Praça da Alegria, Lisbon, as a privileged place for incumbents to meet startups and develop joint initiatives.

As negative points in the Fintech panorama in Portugal we can highlight the opinion of the founders regarding the relationship with the government, where only 14% consider that the government is already doing a good job, as well as the fact that most of these startups, which have the goal to act internationally, see the decision centers of insurers outside Portugal, creating an additional barrier when compared to companies in central Europe and London.

Finally, it is important to illustrate with real examples some of the agents of this change. It is interesting to note that Portugal already has examples in most of the major ecosystems that insurers are trying to grasp to take their relationship with the customer beyond the times of insurance payment and claims handling. Having numerous good cases, we may refer for example:

  • Home Ecosystem: Habit Analytics is an insurtech responsible for the technology base of Allianz’s home offering in France. This company has created a layer that allows the insurer to connect various IoT (Internet of Things) equipment, such as cameras and sensors so that it can act faster if there is a problem. This way the insurer gains freedom from the hardware vendor and has a single connection to Habit.
  • Car Ecosystem: Drivit allows any insurer to create insurance that charges its customers according to the risk of their driving, pay how you drive. This offer is based on telematics, within the insurer’s application, without hardware and directed to fleets. It is also interesting that it has created more value for the end-user, the insurer’s customer, by providing important information such as fuel prices and the best route there, updated four times a day.
  • Health Ecosystem: Sword Health makes it possible to democratize access to proper home-based physiotherapy. This allows numerous advantages of convenience for the patient but also brings advantages for the insurer in a logic of prevention and savings.
  • Life Ecosystem: Coverflex delivers flexible, optimized insurance for SMEs. It has a package offering that is very simple to understand, subscribe, update and maintain.

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