By embracing the UK’s quickly growing pool of insurance technology – insurtech startups, as well as development of mobile apps, investing in digital channels, hiring tech talent and analysing customer data, the UK insurance industry is finally moving into the digital age.
Head of digital innovation at Aviva, Paul Heybourne, told Techworld: “VCs are buzzing with [insurtech] a lot more than they were a few years ago with fintech and payments. Still, we are yet to see any true disruption, so perhaps that is why we are at the top of hype cycle, but it’s only a matter of time.”
Recent research from London accelerator Startupbootcamp InsurTech and PwC, based on more than 1,300 startups across the world, shows that 75 percent of incumbent insurers “believe the biggest impact to the industry will come from building new products in order to address the changing needs of the customer”.
Here are some of the most innovative insurtech startups in the UK trying to build those products today:
1. Back me up
Back me up is a British startup offshoot of big Belgian insurer Ageas, who they describes as “a responsible parent who makes sure we do everything properly”.
The Back Me Up insurance proposition certainly looks like it was built for the millennial consumer. For £15 you get coverage for your three most valuable items (say: laptop, camera, bike) as well as phone screen, keys and travel insurance.
You simply have to sign up and send pictures of your three items to get them covered. You can also bolt on things like landlord cover, extra items and breakdown cover.
The very British sounding hourly car insurance startup Cuvva was set up in 2014. In the mobile app you simply enter the registration number and approximate value of the car you are borrowing from a friend or family member, choose the time you want to be covered for, take a picture of the car and Cuvva will get you an instant quote. Cuvva integrates with Facebook so that you can see which of your friends have cars to borrow. Cuvva queries various data sources to check driving licence data, the Claims and Underwriting Exchange and automated fraud protection to verify coverage quicker than legacy players can.
Cuvva is based in the Barclays accelerator in London and has raised a £400,000 seed funding round.
3. Digital Risks
Digital Risks is an insurance specialist built for tech companies, offering a flexible, pay monthly Insurance-as-a-Service model. A founder could start out by protecting their laptop and end up with employer liability insurance and insurance against data breaches as the company grows. When it comes to cyber security risk, Digital Risks wants to reach a point where, like with wearables and health insurance, it can use penetration testing to develop dynamic risk models depending on the robustness of a company’s security.
Digital Risks has raised £160,000 of its £300,000 funding target on Angels Den to date.
UK startup Brolly is part of the current Entrepreneur First cohort and is a “personal insurance concierge”. The app uses artificial intelligence to inform you if you are under or over insured, if you have duplicate or missing cover and can help you find better cover. You sign up once and then getting new cover only takes one tap.
Brolly also acts as a mobile wallet for all of your insurance products, including documents, to be managed in one place. Brolly is currently in beta and says it will launch on iOS and Android in 2016.
The startup that makes it easier to move house Buzzmove is leveraging its data to build a tool for contents insurance. The buzzmove value proposition revolves around the home and people’s belongings. We’re using innovative new tech to use our existing distribution channels and processes in the removals industry to collect unique and highly accurate data on what people have in their homes.
Buzzmove is building a tool that Downing says will do for contents what telematic apps did for motor insurance which “will provide household insurance companies with accurate insight into their customers’ household contents. This means that insurance companies can better correlate their premiums to risk and provide customers with a much better deal,” says Downing.
Buzzmove raised a massive £6 million funding round in August 2016, led by White Mountains Insurance Group.
The Cambridge and London based startup Instanda could be considered the most pure play insurtech company on this list. It offers a management tool for insurers and brokers to build, launch, distribute and monitor new insurance products in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take.
So what does that mean? Being tied to legacy insurance software systems means building and delivering new insurance products can be cumbersome at best. Instanda has built a tool which consolidates question sets, underwriting workflow, documentation, a rating engine and the customer journey so that underwriters can respond to changing market demands quicker than before.
Instanda raised some non-equity assistance funding from the Microsoft Accelerator in March.
Peer-to-peer car insurance was an inevitability, and Guevara looks to be one of the best operators out there. You pay a set amount up front called your Base Price. This is worked out using your age, car, location and experience etc. You are then put into a group with similar people, where the money is pooled together to go towards the group’s insurance fees. If the group keeps their claims down then the money in the pool stays there year on year, meaning you could save up to fifty percent on your renewal fee.
In terms of funding Spixii has been backed by the Startupbootcamp incubator. Spixii is an “automated insurance agent” which essentially lets you buy and manage your insurance through a chat interface. It is still in beta but essentially it promises the ability to ask Spixii, for example, to insure your bike, when your renewal date is and any other queries you may have when it comes to insurance.
Based out of the Startupbootcamp InsurTech incubator in London, Spixii was founded by a self-described “band of geeks” from technical and insurance backgrounds, with cofounder Alberto Chierici coming from a data science and actuary background and Renaud Million an actuarial consultant at Ernst and Young.
In terms of funding Spixii has been backed by the Startupbootcamp incubator.
9. Luther Systems
Blockchain specialist startup Luther Systems is working on a secret bespoke product for insurance giant Aviva around simplifying contracts. Luther promises the ability to create smart contracts using templates before securely distributing them and the receiver can even virtually sign. The insurance industry is naturally interested in how the distributed ledger technology can improve its back office processes and Luther Systems appears to be leading the way with its high profile partnership with Aviva.
Little is known about the company but it is based out of the Aviva sponsored Founders Factory accelerator in London.
Insly is a cloud based platform for insurance brokers. You can search and manage clients, policies, objects and payments in one place. It is cloud based, so brokers can access the system from anywhere. It is essentially a customer relationship management (CRM) platform – like Salesforce or Workday – for the insurance sector.
Insly is a Startupbootcamp Fintech alumni and raised a £850,000 funding round lately.
The claims process tends to be the most painful part when it comes to motor insurance, and the startup Rightindem is trying to smooth it out by giving claims brokers self-service tools for total loss claims. Founded by automotive industry veteran David Stubbs, he claims that their IT tools and call scripting reduce the average claims leakage by over £500 per claim for its pilot customers. The system is built on an automated vehicle valuation service, which helps claims handlers spend more time with customers and less on admin.
The product is currently in private beta and is working with major UK insurer Admiral. It raised a £13,000 seed round led by Startupbootcamp in December.