InsurTech Futures: Eight UK insurtech start-ups to watch

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Earlier this month Oxbow Partners produced an interesting infographic on where Insurtech startups are concentrating their energies.

It found that "distribution" made up the largest percentage with 56%; followed by vendors with 34 percent. The peer-to-peer space made up 8% and insurer just 2%.

In terms of product focuses motor made up 15 percent; health 11 percent; commercial 9 percent; with the sharing economy just a mere 3.5 percent. Whilst location wise, 27 percent were based in Europe compared to 56 percent in North America.

At the start of the year I wrote a Blog Post listing a number of insurtech start-ups to watch, but given the speed in which this sector moves I thought it worth updating with some other businesses worth keeping an eye on, especially in the "distribution" space, with some on the way to, or already authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Kasko

According to its site Kasko is "the first digital insurance platform for on-demand insurance products to enable insurance companies and brokers to quickly bring to market new on-demand insurance products".

Unlike some others on this list that aspire for FCA authorisation, Kasko received its licence (including assigning appointed representative status) in April; as well as having a German Bafin licence with passporting rights into Europe.

One of the co-founders Nick Suhr describes himself as a "destroyer of inboxes" on the Kasko site as is very much the insurance brains behind the operation.

On his Linkedin page he writes: "I have always been fascinated with insurance as it is the big enabler for almost any personal and commercial enterprise."

This is no surprise given his family run Oldie Car Cover which offers insurance for specialty and vintage cars in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Nick worked for this business between March 2011 - June 2012, but he began his insurance career at one of Germany's largest broker Funk having studied in the UK at Nottingham University and Cass Business School until 2008.

On working for OCC he commented: "Due to the MGA status of the business, I got a deep understanding of the entire value chain of insurance undertakings. However, I soon realised that my passion lies in shaping the digitalisation of insurance, and classic cars was not the right way to start."

Kasko was borne out his subsequent work with consultancies in Hamburg, but names London as its headquarters. Nick's business partner Matt Wardle previously worked within the media and entertainment group at Accenture and is described as the "tech guy".

Insurance4Good

While many insurtech start-ups like to give themselves funky and new- fangled monikers to make themselves sound soooo digital, Insurance4Good says its vision is to create a purpose-led "insurance broker", that enables customers to share the benefit of their insurance purchase with charities.

The broker is the brainchild of "chief disruptor" Darren Munday and "value champion" Henok Yemane who came up with the idea on a Cass Business School tour of South Africa after discussing how cancer had impacted both of their lives: Darren's mother passed away in 2012 after a brave fight against breast cancer, whilst Henok's is currently undergoing treatment for the same disease.

Munday is the insurance expert of the pair, having spent time at RSA [as head of group operational risk and head of risk - international region, within the group corporate centre]; British Gas Insurance [interim chief risk officer] and Lloyd's [overseeing a strategic change management project].

On its website, Insurance4Good claims that it will give back more of its commission than any other insurance broker, 50% to start with, adding: "We would like to give back much more than, but like all businesses we need to pay our way in the world. We will review the amount we donate back to charities every year, with a clear aspiration to increase this year-on-year."

The business was incorporated on 4 September 2015 according to Companies House, but has yet to receive FCA authorisation.

Konsileo

Konsileo boosts it was founded as an insurtech start-up "with the realisation that insurance broking needed to be re built from the bottom up".

Founder John Warburton has considerable market experience through stints at Aviva and until 2014 Allianz; whilst also been involved in a travel insurance business Gosure during the first wave of dot.com start-ups in 1999.

His last role with Allianz was as director of group market management, where he was responsible for digital initiatives including social media usage by tied agents, proposition development, mobile customer portals and web user experience.

Based on his tenure in the sector, John now has some very forthright views about technology and the intermediary space. Writing for Insurance Age recently he explained why he believes technology has hindered rather than helped broker development over the last 15 years. He has a stated objective on the Konsileo site to make "insurance fun", so he is certainly aiming high.

Helping John bring the smiles back to the market are co-founder Peter Henderson who is described as a ‘coding ninja' who is well versed in making something complicated look easy. His technology experience includes delivering early websites for BA.com, 10 Downing Street and the BBC.

The business is not currently authorised by the FCA but is understood to be seeking to join its ranks in the near future.

Spixii

Judging by the testimonials on its site, this business - like fellow start-ups Back Me Up, Zugar Znap and Wrisk - is very much aimed at millennials. It quotes Jenny, 23, saying: "I tried Spixii for travel insurance. It's really amazing. It's fast, simple and enjoyable," alongside Selene, 29 who added: "I choose Spixii 'cause I'm having a baby!"

The business is the latest to harness chat bots to create "an automated insurance agent dedicated to making insurance quicker, easier and more personal than ever before". Removing the need for forms and getting rid of traditional insurance jargon, according to the site. It also speaks five languages.

To date Spixii has been backed by Allianz and accelerated recently by Startupbootcamp Insurtech.

Co-founder and CEO Renuad Million was first introduced to insurance in 2010 when EY offered him a place on its general insurance actuarial team whilst he was studying at Lancaster University's Management School.

The COO and self-confessed "data scientist" Alberto Chierici began his insurance journey with Munich Re in South Africa, then moving to London with the reinaurance giant and continuing his insurance education with Beazley and Chubb. Before committing to Spixii he did two years working on product design and machine learning in a Deloitte Consulting Incubator startup.

It is worth noting that Spixii says it isn't a broker yet, but has applied to the Financial Conduct Authority for authorisation to become one.

So there are four firms all looking to stamp their authority on both the distribution and insurtech sectors. In the second part of this blog on Insurance Age's sister title Post, I spotlight another quartet of businesses taking in everything from peer-to-peer motor insurance to on-demand cover for delivery riders to a business powered by Bitcoin.

Jonathan Swift is content director for the insurance division at Incisive Media.

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