Blog: A dozen UK and European insurtech start-ups to watch in 2017 and beyond – part two

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Meet Mia, Pluto Petcare, Qover, Sweet Cover, Tapoly and Tubcap among insurtech start-ups to watch

In preparation for Post's Digital Insurance World event, here are six more insurtech start-ups to watch.

Following on from my first instalment yesterday, where I featured among others Element, Gavin and Marshmallow, today I cover another six insurtech firms to keep an eye out for over the coming months and years, as we count down to Post’s Digital Insurance World, where start-ups and incumbents will mix and debate the most pressing digital issues of the day.

 

Meet Mia – London, England

The pitch: “All of your insurance, in one place. Mia makes insurance so easy, you can manage it all through Facebook Messenger.”

Meet Mia launched its first product via Messenger in July, and reflecting on getting to this position its founders noted in a blog post that the fact none have a background in insurance had been a “bonus”.

“As we’ve been designing our first product, a little naivety means we can come up with ideas that those who are constrained by the assumptions and constraints of the insurance industry would struggle to replicate.”

However, the Meet Mia team add: “That said, you then need an expert on hand to help you shape that idea into something that’s actually feasible. And the sooner you can find these experts, the better.”

Speaking of those founders these include the CEO James Birch, who appears to have had a first stab at an insurtech start-up as a director consulting with now dissolved Insureme in 2016, before settling on Meet Mia.

More interestingly, alongside his fintech consultancy work, most recently at EY, Birch made a name for himself as a racing driver moving up from karting at age of eight to two wins at the British GT Championship in 2016.

He is joined at Meet Mia by CTO Alex Rainey and product manager Harry Williams.

The business is currently engaged with the Financial Conduct Authority to become an appointed representative.

 

Pluto Petcare – London, England

The pitch: “Whether it’s booking an appointment with a groomer, or providing insurance when they need it, we intend to cover all of your pet’s needs from a single app.”

Alongside motor racing [see Meet Mia above] a background in men’s fashion might not be the usual stepping stone into insurtech, but it is the catwalk that Pluto co-founder and CEO Nick McLish has trodden.

During a five-and-a-half year stint in New York, McLish worked for Bergdorf Goodman, JC Penney and Barneys in roles such as ‘buyer, men’s dress furnishings’ and ‘luxury sportswear and senior manager, men’s trends and concept design’, before becoming one of twelve London Business School MBA students invited to join the Walpole Luxury Management Programme.

From there here is was invited to join Founders of the Future this year, a community of promising European entrepreneurial technology talent, and then to start-up Pluto, the latest in a growing line of UK-based insurtech ventures targeting the pet space after Pit Pat Pet and Paw Squad.

In early start-up mode, Pluto’s website currently offers a demonstration of its offering. An app powered by “an adorable AI bot” [a dog in designer spectacles naturally], that notes it takes 90 seconds to begin and three minutes to claim. Not quite Lemonade numbers maybe, but ones that should not be barked at.

 

Qover – Brussels, Belgium

The Pitch: “Qover is building the first ever B2B2C sliced on-demand digital insurance infrastructure, aiming to change the way insurance is designed, managed and distributed.”

Another business operating in the B2B2C space, this time in Belgium, Qover proudly shouts about the fact it is a Lloyd’s coverholder boasting it derives a significant amount of strength from the London market’s support.

It is currently selling one product – GAP insurance for brokers and motor dealerships – with a full motor suite promised soon.

Promoting itself to potential customers, Qover highlights a range of benefits from commission of up to 20%, the ability to white label its products and the fact cover can be cancelled at any time in real time.

The business is the brain child of a self-proclaimed duo of ‘insurtech ninjas’ - private equity veteran Jean Charles Velge and long-term Allianz Belgium manager Quentin Colmant. Yann Ranchere, a partner at specialist fintech advisory firm Anthemis Group, is listed as a non-executive.

 

Sweet Cover – London, England

The pitch: “Insurance, without the sour taste. We’re reimagining home contents insurance. Great cover. Fast claims. Charity donations.”

Like insurtech behemoth Lemonade, Sweet Cover plans to use a chat bot, in this instance called Caroline [“Sweet Caroline” – geddit?] to help settle claims quickly. It also promises to donate excess money once claims are paid to charity.

Speaking of which, it already boosts some significant charity partners including the WWF, Oxfam and Cancer Research UK.

Sweet Cover’s website claims it is looking to launch its tenants insurance “mid-2017”, although given one of the co-founders Octave Auger joined Paddle as head of marketing in May; and the other registered director Pierre Du Toit is the chief analytics officer at Vitality UK, a firm he has worked for since 2012, one wonders if the project might be put on ice for a while.

 

Tapoly – London, England

The Pitch: “Insurance on tap. We provide on demand insurance for freelancers, sole traders, contractors, home letters, equipment lenders and anyone else who is part of the sharing or gig economy.”

CEO and co-founder Janthana Kaenprakhamroy writes that she set up Tapoly in 2016 as a result of her experience letting a spare room through Airbnb.

“I didn’t want to do it without insurance, and to get insurance I had to spend hours on the phone, only to be turned away by most insurers. The only one that did offer me cover wanted to charge me a fortune,” she continues.

“I did some research and found many other people who also felt frustrated with not being able to get the insurance that they needed. So I decided to create Tapoly, to make sure that everyone in the sharing economy can get access to a comprehensive insurance solution at a fair price.”

Among the products it is looking to launch are home letting, car lending, professional indemnity and cycling cover, with the start-up currently asking people to sign up for launch offers.

Before embarking on her Tapoly adventure Kaenprakhamroy held audit positions at UBS, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan.

She is joined at Tapoly by CTO and co-founder Sam Hopkins who has been involved in the software engineering industry for over 20 years, within both start-ups and established companies, since graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1997.

 

Tubcap – London, England

The pitch: “Building a team and the technology to transform insurance underwriting for the 21st century.”

Very much in its early stages, the Tubcap website does not give too much away.

However, its founder Joe Maitland-Robinson should have a distinct advantage when it comes to raising money for his venture given he previously worked for Crowdcube, the specialist equity crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs.

Before there he worked at Henderson Global Investors, now known as Janus Henderson Investors following its merger with Janus Capital Group.

As to what Tubcap is seeking to do, a job advert for a COO perhaps gives the best insight, explaining the start-up “is aiming to build a transparent and open infrastructure - similar to a stock exchange or bond market - where individuals and financial institutions can participate in the underwriting of insurance risk alongside one another”.

 

To read part one click here

 

 

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