Six insurtech start-ups to watch in 2019

Look Ahead Telescope Predict 2019
Anasi, Celo, Insurninja, Kinsu, Panzly and TruMyle among insurtech start-ups to watch in 2019

As Post gears up to launch the 2019 Insurtech 100 listing in association with Tallt, Post content director Jonathan Swift highlights six businesses that will hope to be featured in forthcoming rankings.

As we enter 2019, the question about whether the insurtech momentum is being checked by everything from Brexit to investor fatigue is very much alive.

However, there still continues to a steady flow of new businesses coming to market both in the UK and further afield that highlight innovation is very much alive.

I have now done this exercise six times now over four years. During that span some of the firms featured have gone from strength-to-strength with the likes Trov, Wrisk and Brolly (2016); Canopy and Zegocover (2016); Laka and Nimbla (2017); Tapoly (2017) and Dinghy and Thing Co (2018) to name just ten all raising significant funds and/or gaining significant traction; whilst others such as Meet Mia (2017), have changed tact and reimagined themselves, in this case as Pluto in the travel space.

With this in mind I have featured another six fledgling businesses covering a range of range of product lines, that should be worth watching over the coming years.

 

Anansi

The pitch: We are building simple insurance products for online merchants.  

The founders of Zurich-based Anansi inform us on their site that word means the spirit of Knowledge, and is a popular African folklore hero. The word Ananse is Akan and also means “spider”.

So what does this mean in terms of this start-up?

Well their business model is certainly dependent on the ‘web’ in that they aim to offer customers, namely merchants trading on major third party sales platforms such as Amazon and Rakuten, tailored insurance.

“Through our one-click integration directly to a merchant’s store, we can track the evolution of each seller’s risk exposure and suggest the cover required to meet their needs as they change over time,” explain Anansi, “Our platform will also allow merchants to administer their policy and make claims online. Spend time building your online store, rather than on your insurance.”

The business was created by CEO Megan Bingham-Walker, who has worked in both investing/consulting in tech [with WHEB Partners and Northwind Marketing] and then at a machine learning start-up in Eccentric Data; and chief technology officer Ana Martins de Carvalho, who worked in London for the likes of BNP Parabis and Money Farm before setting out on the Anansi adventure.

The business presently has its sights set on the Swiss market, initially focusing on newly incorporated SMEs; but given the multi-national employment background of its founders it would be no surprise if it spread its legs into other markets.

 

Celo

The pitch: An app-based insurance provider designed to provide cheaper quotes, faster claims, and a pleasant user experience.

According to its website Celo was successfully funded at the pre-seed level by 407 investors on Crowdcube on July 2018 and raised a total of £142,840.

Currently, it claims to be actively working on releasing our beta to the public in early 2019 with over 2000 users on a waiting list gained from a limited advertising campaign run on social media platforms.

On its Crowdcube page Celo adds: “Like Monzo and Starling Bank who are disrupting banking, we’re planning to disrupt the insurance industry. The UK has the largest insurance industry in Europe, generating $320 billion (£250 billion) in revenue each year. In addition to this, a survey (Insurance Disrupted, Deloitte UK) found that over 77% of customers aged 25-34 would like to use their mobile phones to purchase and manage general insurance policies, something which is not focused on by current insurance providers. Celo will be built with a focus on capturing this market.”

At launch, the start-up is planning to offer motor, health, travel and gadget insurance, promoting good behaviour “by offering rewards such as gift cards, free coffee, discounted premiums.etc…”

The app-based insurance provider is the first product created by Artis FS, which has the stated aim of developing “smart and modern fintech applications to disrupt the industry, using advanced technology”.

Artis co-founders Aravind Vijayakumar and Giridharan Rajaram are listed on Companies House, although only the former presently has a LinkedIn profile which highlights a past spent as an intern at Axa and then Barclays Wealth Management.

 

Insurninja

The pitch: Insurninja offers the first gaming-insurance. Providing tailor-made services for gamers, esport-organisations and streamers.

Insurninja claims to have worked hand in hand with gamers, esports organisations and companies, to develop a portfolio for security and professionalism in esports and gaming.

It very much lives and breathes the mythology of its namesake on its site, where it outlines how “Ninjas are people with exceptional abilities, proven experts and respectful partners at the side of their clan and lieges”.

And that Insurninja “takes this path for partners and customers. For anyone the startup offers an upgrade in security and performance: with an arsenal of battle-proven, smart offers, which help gamers and esports athletes, clans and leagues, clubs and organisations, productions and companies to get better, more courageous and stronger in action”.

Fighting talk.

And whilst other insurtechs might proudly wear their logo emblazoned merchandise at conference, Insurninja goes one step further by selling hoodies and t-shirts on its own store.

The start-up is the brainchild of Tim Schlawinsky, whose background is in marketing, and Niklas Ex, who worked for over seven years at German insurer Ergo. Both worked at Dusseldorf-based insurtech Nexible before deciding to follow the way of the Dragon in 2018.

 

Kinsu

The pitch: Simple, fair insurance for all your things

Unlike other start-ups on this list, Kinsu has already had some national press attention despite only just entering its second year of business.

That is no surprise when you learn the insurtech numbers two Hiscox veterans in CEO Chris Sharpe [who spent over 13 years there in London and Bermuda] and founding investor Russell Merrett [the former managing director of Hiscox London Market] in its team. So you would expect them to know a thing or two about marketing insurance and getting their name out there. They are also follow other Hiscox alumni into the insurtech space like Eric Mignot who left in 2015 to help create French start-up +Simple.

Tapping very much into an “ethical ethos”, the insurtech wears its B-Corp status with pride and has charity partnerships with Streetlink and Humankind.

With the latter it is re-appropriating some of the money for good causes it admits it might otherwise spend on advertising. Something it admits might be foolhardy because “the screen-age generations may be so entrenched in the old model that they just don’t want to change it. But we have to try.”

The insurtech then adds: “Why? Because if this works it could become a model not just for Kinsu but for wider more conscious distribution. It could help to cleanse our media of infantile messaging, promote authenticity and encourage and facilitate everyone doing the right thing.”

Strong words, and Kinsu walks the walk presently in terms of its customer response, with a five out of five rating on Trust Pilot. Albeit based on a small sample size of 55 users.

 

Panzly

The pitch: Panzly insures customers’ flights for delays or cancellations via automatic and immediate payouts

The founder and CEO of Ukraine-based Panzly Alex Gayduk has already made his name in the world of digital insurance, offering technology solutions to insurtechs through his business Fortifier he has helmed since 2013.

Using his experience here, Gayduk - who is a mentor at the Hartford Insurtech hub - has set his sights on practising what has previously preached with a start-up of his own.

On its site Panzly claims “to be the first flight insurance with automatic and immediate payouts”, adding that it will trigger compensation in the event of a two hour delay.

I suspect that “first…” proclamation may be challenged in the competitive insurtech space, where AI and blockchain have been touted as fitting platforms for offering such solutions in the travel market.

Whether the boost that it will pay out regardless of what caused the delay, including an “alien attack”, will be as equally scrutinized might depend on us making contact with some unfriendly extra-terrestrials in the coming years.

For now Panzly is reaching out to carriers, aggregators and airlines offering prospective partners what it calls a “vastly improved customer service and competitive advantage”.

By next year we should know if it has taken off - or is stuck on the start-up runway having had delays of its own.

 

TruMyle

The pitch: Private hire taxi insurance that meet your need. The best insurance for safe drivers

One sector that certainly has had a rough deal when it comes to insurance is the private hire/taxi market. Underlined by the collapse of Alpha last year.

This has already attracted the likes of Digital Partners backed Inshur launching in the UK in November 2018, having begun its journey in New York.

An insurtech start-up that has less miles on the clock is TruMyle, an intermediary that claims it is “looking to revolutionise the commercial vehicle sector”, not least what it describes as the “unfair private taxi insurance” sector, with a pay-per-mile usage offering.

Like others before it, TruMyle also aims to use smart technology to monitor driver behaviour offering incentives such as cash rewards for those that are deemed to be safe behind the wheel.

According to Companies House the start-up begun with two directors including Nathaniel Bubu, who according to his LinkedIn profile has “a passion to use technology to improve life and better our communities. Currently exploring and disrupting insurtech space”.

He has been working on TruMyle since leaving Anglia Ruskin University in 2016. Elsewhere he describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur” with 10 years logistic experience, having founded a freight business in the programme for the upcoming Insurtech Insights event.

Originally he was doing this with Chris Rigg-Milner, someone who has a stint at Aviva between 1998 – 2004 on his CV. However, having worked as CTO and product manager for TruMyle he left in November 2018. Whether this checks its plans remains to be seen.

 

Post is embraking on its second Insurtech 100 ranking in association with Tallt after the success of the 2018 listing. If you work for an insurtech and believe your business should be included, please email [email protected]

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