Wrisk to partner more with incumbents, says new CEO

Wrisk team

InsurTech Futures: Nimeshh Patel, who took over the CEO role from Niall Barton, says the start-up is looking to increase its presence in the UK insurance market.

InsurTech start-up Wrisk is looking to partner more with the incumbent insurance industry, according to newly appointed chief executive officer, Nimeshh Patel.

Patel took over the CEO role from former Oxygen boss Niall Barton in August. Barton, who in 2016 co-founded the business with Darius Kumana, previously at Markel, remains with the firm as executive chairman.

“It’s a different landscape when you go from a start-up to a business that is starting to scale,” Patel told Insurance Age.

“I can see us significantly increasing our presence in the UK insurance market. There will be significant investment around technology and products.”

Patel was an early stage adviser and investor in Wrisk and in 2018 he joined the app-based provider as chief operating officer.

He noted that one of the reasons behind the management shuffle was that it would free Barton up to focus on building strategic relationships.

“We’re in a scale up phase, where the skills needed to actually scale the business probably lend better to my skillset,” he continued.

“Niall has great relationships within the insurance industry and can open doors. It’s a subtle change.”

The Wrisk app is designed to help customers buy different types of insurance as part of a single plan.

Patel described the platform as “the Netflix of insurance”, but added that Wrisk also has a registered managing general agent.

“We want to reinvent insurance, but we also work in partnership with incumbents,” Patel stated. “We wouldn’t discount working with brokers in the future.”

According to the CEO, Wrisk’s strategy also includes partnering with brands. The start-up is currently the sole provider of insurance for BMW Group in the UK.

Patel’s background is mainly on the technology side - he has previously worked at Buzzfeed, Drawbridge and AOL Europe – but he noted that many of Wrisk’s 35 staff have joined the start-up from the insurance industry.

“There’s a lot of insurance know how in this business,” he noted.

Patel concluded: “I don’t think you can build an InsurTech start-up without having those skills in this day and age. The UK insurance sector is very aggressive and price-driven.”

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