Join Luisa Barile, CFO at Bought By Many, Peter Goodman, Co-Founder & CEO at Aventus, Sten Saar, CEO at Zego, and Rich James, Commercial Manager at Digital Partners – A Munich Re Company as they dive into why the opportunity in the UK for insurance innovation.





so welcome to this itc virtual section um we were talking about the global launch pad


why the uk is not quarantined for insurtech innovation i’m luisa barilla cfo at sport by many and one of


the council members of the trade association uh insurance uk and i think most people know the


companies are represented on on this panel today but for everyone’s benefit uh can i please can i please ask each


one of you to say a couple of words about about your company um you know what it does and uh where it is at the


moment in terms of the growth peter yeah thanks very much and thanks for having us today um yeah so aventis


is is ultimately an operating system where we are helping uh kind of providing digital democratization to


smaller mgas niche brokers and and schemes and by providing them with an affordable ecosystem approach to digital


transformation uh the company was born out of a of an insurance company a home life


business that we had and now we’re kind of in our second year of selling the products into the wider main and it’s


going pretty cool among all things being considered great rich turds


sure hi everyone so i’m from digital partners who’s uh which is a immunity


entity born in 2016 and and we have the mission to partner


with insurtech fintechs and more to um innovate within insurance so we actually


uh back in 2016 were formed in london and then quickly grew to the us um and


now we’re present in six different countries with live products across 20 odd different partners uh london’s our


biggest hub where we’ve got about 45 people responsible for all of europe and australia


excellent stan hi everyone um yes uh i’m from ziga and


we are commercial auto insurer and also new mobility insurers so for example we


ensure parcel delivery drivers ride hailing food delivery


electric scooters and we do this across many markets in europe we gather real-time telematics data and we also


integrate with some of those largest kind of work providers which means that we have a very very granular and very


good understanding of the risk excellent and i’ll be the moderate the moderators today but i’ll also bring the


perspective of uh of both by many at the same time so baldwin is a digital mga


that creates and distributes pet insurance policies that customers love we launched our pet insurance


proposition about three and a half years ago and were voted by customers as the most


trusted pet insurance provider in the uk last year so in just over two years of operation um last year about 12 months


ago we launched into our first international market in in sweden and we’re now planning further international


expansion all right let’s get started one element that you know all the


companies on on this panel have uh in common is that they’re all based in the uk but you know they have all expanded


from the uk to other countries so let’s look at the national local market in the uk


first um james um you partner with uh different insurer tax in the uk and uh


and abroad um how easy do you think to actually break into the uk market from a customer perspective sorry richard um


that’s okay and so i think that uh the uk is actually a very open market for


um for three reasons so firstly because i think the customers are actually quite uh receptive to new brands new products


they have a good awareness of financial services from insurance and back banking and that they’re actually very happy to


have this interaction purely online which is different to other countries in europe and secondly


love them or hate them there’s a strong aggregator play in the uk um especially in the retail insurances


and this gives an insurtech that’s just coming out without a strong brand at that point an opportunity to get a


product in front of a customer and get their brand in front of a customer as well with millions of quotes um a year


and of course then there is some complicated downside of aggregators as well um


but um but definitely an advantage for getting a brand out there which is very difficult for a startup and thirdly um i


think we actually are um operated by the fca in a very um good way compared to


other countries so and innovation has been on their agenda for six years now um


and they’ve actually launched their innovate where they’ve had um in the last six years fifteen hundred


applications for innovation support of which they did actually provide support to 700 firms for


this innovation applications great


then what do you think yeah well um we started out from a kind


of very specific problem and very specific niche and uh went kind of straight to where the problem was so


food delivery insurance and went and partnered and with those specific companies who had


the drivers who needed that insurance so we’ve been our kind of access to market has been


all those segments has been very straightforward and very effective uh we’ve been looking into also the aggregator markets


but it’s um it’s kind of a double-edged sword from one side you get in there on the other


side it’s so expensive and then it’s kind of a pri race to the bottom um and then you try and make money with


upsell products later so um i would argue that kind of a


um the straight to the customer with a clear value proposition is a way more meaningful


um pitch for the for the customer and the value to be created but um i also


understand the kind of benefit the quick benefit that you get from aggregators and also for


the customer to degree but again it’s a very much price play yeah i think you know aggregators always


play that um you know you know as you say double edged sword from from from our point of view but by


many um we do play on the aggregators but we launched on the aggregators like 18 months after we launched direct um


and you know it’s it has remained about uh you know less than 7 percent of uh of the overall channel mix


um but but i would say pet insurance probably a very special um segment and very special product


because it’s not um it is not a commoditized product and it’s a small emotional as a purchase so


people don’t really just look at the price um they care really about like the level of cover um and you know what we


have discovered is um our prices are actually 40 percent higher on average


compared to the um you know the average market because our products are actually much


more comprehensive we do not believe on the um you know sell cheap and and not cover enough um but uh but now you


that’s a little bit the environment you’re playing in um and and you need to invest into the education of the


customers to understand what they really are trying what they’re covered for um now peter you’re working with a lot


of uh mgas and and broker and uh you’re supporting them you know to launch new


products um into the market what has been your experience about the uk and how do you see that um you know what are


the differences and and peculiarities of uh of the market compared to others other markets i think i think what’s


interesting is that you know we talk about aggregators and i think they are just to talk about that for one thing because it’s a very it’s a very um


different offering when you’re trying to take care and give everyone a customer-centric view one of the things that we’ve that we’ve gone for as a


ventus is to provide people with the ability to cross sell and upsell so to your points earlier you know if you get


one customer you pay enough for it why people don’t you know i don’t know what the average actually is but i’ve heard


it’s like 1.1 policies per per customer the fact that you call policy people call them policyholders and not customers still


shows that we’re very much in a policy-centric world and not a customer-centric world and i think what we’re seeing and what how we how we’re


delivering that different is that you know we put everyone at the core the customer at the core now those products


get sold in a multitude of different ways and that’s where the peculiarities and the complexity of the uk market do


differ i feel from the other markets that aren’t as dominated in open market transactions like you know car insurance


home insurance that that distribution channel is expensive but it is a great starting point but the the often the


software’s that aggregate work on the aggregators don’t necessarily have that customer-centric view so we there’s like


a two-stage education you have to go through one do you want to be a customer-centric business or do you just want to grow like gangbusters and what


we’re trying to do is provide them with both it’s not an easy solution to provide i have to say you know this is there’s a lot of nuances in there


because you know people like to grow and the way i see it is that people used to like to grow single lines of business to


sell that single line of business that book of business was grown as an mga and then sold to a bigger company and then


let’s go back and do it again and again and again and i think now people are seeing the value in selling more than one policy to to a customer to create


you know retain loyalty loyalty and retention so when it does come from renewal you’re not just judged on price


you’re actually judged on on the number of products that they have in their in their wallet as well and i think you know share of wallets we can have become


a really interesting conversation i think with insurance companies and individuals great thank you and you know


just moving away from from the aggregators for a second um you know you operate peter in a


in a software uh market which in the uk is considered to be one of the most sophisticated in the world can you tell


us about you know your experience into like breaking into that that market i think sophisticated might be the wrong


word there’s a lot it’s certainly crowded um but i think i think for me what’s


interesting around around the b2b side is that you need a point right you need a reason to people don’t just switch


technologies because they fancy a new a new thing it’s a big project but what we’ve been what we’ve done from and you


need a you need a point of difference and i think you know there’s some great software there’s great software’s out there but there’s best in class


everywhere i mean it’s just like when you look at the reason that we approach it as an ecosystem plays that we want to have the best in class of each and


attach them together so you’re not necessarily entering into a legacy play i think that’s the market that i think


has to evolve you even can you know if you look at some of the incumbent bigger players you can have it but you get a


version i mean software should not be versioned anymore there’s only one version it’s the latest version whereas like you can still see people that are


on version six and i’m not planning to upgrade to version i and you kind of can’t work out what that means when you come from a background that we come from


from particularly myself from marketing technologies you just want the best in class to do the best job for the


customer and you can’t fit every you can’t be everything to everyone which i think some people fall into that trap of


you can’t have everything so you need to work out a way of and and for me what i found in the uk in particular is


collaboration is the key like there has to be a collaboration to deliver the best platform for the individual companies and it won’t be the same for


the next company you deal with and i do think the uk market is very collaborative both from an insurer perspective both from a carrier from a


distribution i do i do get the sense that people are happy to collaborate and not try and own everything


and i think that’s something that we’re going to see more and more of as we as we sort of evolve this industry


perfect thank you very much now let’s let’s move away from the uk to the international market um and uh and you


know moving like expanding to to other markets from the uk as a launch pad um


you know richard you see a lot of um you know companies doing that from from the partners you’re working with what do you


think has the opportunities and challenges of of that international expansion yes so


um i think that the uk is well positioned to be a hub for for europe and globally


because i i can’t think of any other city in the world that has such a concentration of talent within one city


so there is insurance that just goes through the veins of of london and we


have uh thanks to the history of lloyds as well as it’s still um


it’s still function there’s skills and talent from every line of business


from every geography in the world and multiple languages all operate in london


across the globe so that’s a clear selling point of london um


and that also helps with this network effect so if you want to speak to um a capacity provider every


insurer reinsurer pretty much has a branch in london and


there are some some downsides to the uk as well i don’t suggest we have to go down the


brexit discussion route and but also just um even in today’s environment for


for um regulators the uk is different to how it’s structured in germany to how it’s


structured in netherlands so germany doesn’t really have an equivalent of an mga


structure and the netherlands does but it’s not allowed a profit share so we find it quite hard to have an alignment


of interest when you’re setting up a partnership there um and as well as then so


i think that it’s it’s not as easy as just saying let’s launch it’s it’s launched in london grow in the uk and


then we’ll just expand across europe where we have so many different languages um even if you just look at


spain there’s catalonian and spanish and so it’s it’s not quite so


simple as saying it’s a launch pad but it is very um it’s the best city for


allowing for it and you have expanded into several european markets um what has been your


experience yeah so uh so we operate in five european markets plus then uk


and uh there’s there’s two sides one is they kind of call it uh the supply side the insurance capacity uh are reinsurers


and insurers and then there’s the customer as a customer proposition on the insurers and uh reinsurers i think


london is particularly a great place to be because as richard mentioned there’s so


much history every reinsurer for example is writing business in the uk as much as


the right in europe and there’s a lot of kind of uh benefits in that sense and also ensures


so on a kind of a capacity side i think it’s a very good place


in terms of uh custom site demand side it’s actually uh uk differs a lot from mainland europe


in terms of the propositions but i think france and spain are a lot more closer than france and uk in terms of


customer value propositions and in that sense there’s a lot of kind of a


nuances that you have to take into account from kind of a policy links to payment cycles to


everything else they do vary but uh but i think uh like once you figure out your capacity and


you’ve got the uh reinsurers or insurers um uh you can work with then the rest is


kind of an operational complex that you need to figure out which we’ve done in five markets and we’ll


continue to grow from there so you obtained an insurance license um in gibraltar a few months ago


can you tell us about your experience and why you made that choice sure so we started uh we got the license


actually last year we started operating october and we are growing strongly month-to-month we have


a quota share partner swiss3 and another 15 excess of loss


program a rated insurers um we we picked uh with essentially two locations either


gibraltar or uk due to brexit and then we kind of went through an exercise of like okay what


would enable us to get carrier fastest and uh it with bra the


process was significantly longer than it was with gibraltar although in terms of thoroughness it was thoroughness it was


even the same if not more except because they are like a lot smaller entities so the communication


and the feedback was significantly uh faster and hence you know in a startup


world every hour account so that was a very kind of practical decision and


the kind of very frequent conversations and it’s it’s a great partnership


absolutely i think that’s uh that that’s a fair point um as ensure that you can actually we’ve been engaging with uh


with the pra to see if we could create an environment where ensure attack you know with innovative solution like


yourself and can actually bring them to market faster and i think you know the the the catch 22 of uh you know you you


want to bring a new product to market but you know if you don’t have two or three years of um demonstrated actually


you know it makes sense from a loss ratio perspective it’s hard to get the capacity but you can’t bring it to market if you don’t have the fast foods


it’s always the challenge um when it comes to insurance innovation while we’re still on that uh


is i was just thinking about culturally i think if you are thinking about the cultures of like europe


and the uk and the us i think that the uk is kind of like in the middle between


the three if we like categorize the three separately that it could be that


it’s a good launch pad for that reason that you’re not coming from one end of the um the scale to the other end of the


scale like if you launch in the us it’s quite a different world to talk to a customer in france which i think the uk


is in the middle i think that’s a good point um peter let me let me come back to you um


like you also operate in the uk and um in in other markets like you know in the us as richard mentioned and and


australia what do you see as the you know similarities and differences the biggest nightmare to be quite frank


when we launched it we launched both companies was the tax state and federal tax for insurance i


mean you know i ipt is one thing but when you’ve got a layer of different versions on different you know different


taxes in different areas based on different products it actually became quite quite the matrix for and i’m


looking like i solved it i didn’t solve anything the engineering team solved that problem and delivered a great


product but that was something that was quite a nuance you know the system was built in one way for any uk insurance company and then you know you have to


layer on those complexities so but one of the things that we’ve seen is that you know everyone wants speed to market


but you’re only as quick as the regulator unfortunately i think that technology is always ahead of uh always ahead of approvals um and so and and


that’s the first industry i’ve ever worked in where that that’s true normally you’re waiting for deployment of engineering uh you know output rather


than rather than the business bit um and and and you know each of those they’re very similar in their speed i


think and and fear you know sometimes these decisions are made in making sure that the last you know everything’s so


perfect before it launches i think one of the things that we’ve seen certainly in the uk is that again going back to my


collaboration point there seems to be a willingness to there is very much a willingness to help and guide um and the


uk you know a lot of the companies that we’ve dealt with here do have overseas offices and so they have people you can


talk to and understand those complexities ahead of build which i think is really quite important and so i think the openness and the of the uk


market actually does allow you to go and approach the australian and u.s markets much more openly and they’ll give you


time to discuss it rather than kind of saying you don’t get it they’ll they’ll help educate throughout the process as


well yeah i i would definitely agree with you the regulatory um you know environment


and the differences are definitely a a big headache uh we we have launched into sweden uh 12 months ago but actually we


did it through passport team from the uk which was uh incredibly easy process because it’s just a notification and you


do everything online um it’s like literally one minute uh but clearly now with brexit um you know we had to go


through uh um you know a full license um in sweden uh which will allow us to then


uh passport into the rest of uh of europe and just like working out um how


to do that um with the with the difference though you know we’re not actually in a post practice scenario yet


um and uh you know no one has ever done it in sweden before um has been quite an


interesting uh quite an interesting challenge and all you want to do is sell products right that’s what you want to do is sell


products and you’re so ready to go it’s just like the last tick box


exactly unfortunately it’s quite an important tick box but uh unfortunately yeah but yeah it’s there for good reason but


um so we touched on the on the capacity earlier um so clearly access to the insurance capital and the investment


capital are you know two big factors in in supporting the growth of of a business


the uk is a good hub for both elements um stan um


how has your experience been you know raising money in the uk uh and uh getting access to the insurance


capacity yeah raising money um so far it’s been actually very very good


like uh the proposition we have the underwriting advantage we are creating has uh


from black product side has shown significant interest from investors and i also think if we think about europe


like london is a place where a lot of great um like investors gather like you know


where investment decisions are made and you want to be closer to the spring in order to get the freshest water right


and then on the insurance capacity side where you need that in order to be able to develop


great products through insurers or interests as we said earlier because of


the history that’s that kind of a heartbeat if not even the kind of world’s heartbeat of


insurance and i think if you are close with those both your chances of success are greater and we found some great


partners um in re-insurers and insurers and also raising money it’s been


actually quite straightforward maybe it’s down to what we do maybe it’s something else but yeah i think it’s definitely easier than


maybe some other mainland europe markets yeah um and you know peter what what’s


been your experience right yeah we we we actually changed our proposition halfway sort of through so


we obviously were an mga initially um so we raised money as an mga’s investment capital um which was which was which was


relatively easy to do you know it helps if you’ve got a history of of successful exits it all never hurts but i did find


everyone very welcoming it was kind of on the when when the shaw tech was becoming cool um and so that was that was a good starting point to raise then


and we obviously changed our our um our business so we actually went from being regulated deregulating and then you know


juventus is obviously now just a pure software play b2b play and so we raised actually more money but from different


people so it’s been quite a good journey some some people it’s been a fairly long journey of phrasing but i think it’s


about having the clear identification of what it is you want to do right and that’s kind of going against what i just said but once you make a decision to do


something do it and we and you know also knowing how to play in that in that b2b environment and investment capital is


always there for for companies and good companies sometimes it’s easier to get than others but it’s if if investments


anything it’s a distraction to doing your day job right you know if you could just get your date if you could just do your day job investment would be easier


to get but i i’ve found the uk very well coming from shoretex but yeah it’s much easier if you’re growing like that than


having to uh to beg for money absolutely um and uh so i i and i


completely agree on the on the network fast on the on the insurance side it’s easier to have all those conversations


where you’re kind of like based in the same place um and um and i think from like a raising money perspective um the


uk actually offers a very good environment especially in the early stages with the scis and eis schemes um


so that’s uh you know that’s quite attractive to investors but also i think you know the the legal environment uh


helps because that’s the jurisdiction that um you know a lot of investors are familiar with and


there are no um you know strange surprises um when you go through uh


anything that you know may not go well um what i found so and that definitely compares like well compared to the um to


the rest of like continental europe um you know in our experience um clearly there are a lot more funds or like


bigger funds than big you know tickets uh in terms of uh of investment


uh in the u.s and um you know sometimes when you look across the pond um you see that you know the


bar of raising money in europe is actually higher um than it is in the us um just you know by the fact of being


based in the us as opposed to europe so i think you know i i agree with you um on um you know


it’s actually quite easy to get access to people because you know a lot of investors actually either are based in


london or come to london regularly so you can meet people and it’s helpful to build a relationship um and it’s better


than but the uk is probably in the middle between europe and and the u.s um like similar that you know compared to


what we said before um it’s almost like like if you want to raise money for


insurance then you you should be closer to insurance companies or insurance world because that’s where the knowledge


and also money is like london is not probably the best place where to raise money lots of kind of a manufacturing


you know because the knowledge may not be there whereas in other markets where there’s a lot more of these companies


money and expertise could be a lot easier and i think that’s why there’s


depending on the type of business you’re building it’s important to kind of think about that and i think that vcs if you think about


sorry think about what the way that i always look insurance having spoken to loads of people that have been in it for a long time it was always kind of a


private equity play right like insurance companies were kind of like mgas were set up with this this amount of money to


market go and you know go and build your book a business and then you can kind of flip it whereas i think vc’s now seeing


the value in the brand new propositions the the new distribution channels that you know they’re kind of seeing it as an


exciting game as much as you know yes yesterday it may be much more of a numbers game this now is actually more of a venture game and i think so vcs


have been much more attracted to the new products and distribution whereas before you wouldn’t have really seen vc putting


money behind a new mga for instance you had to have a point of difference and when you when you blend we speak to a


lot of older ngas or more established mgas and people that have run them and startups who we’ve helped build you kind


of see the difference in the attitude and the profitability requirements and like the the i mean you know tech companies don’t really make


profit right whereas you know insurance company must do because i like and so there’s been really kind of a good


there’s a good blend but i think the uk is perfectly poised for that because they’ve got both they’ve got both kind of sides of that story ingrained in them


now absolutely and and you know richard now we talked about the you know the past


decide and the access to capacity you cannot really you support and um and partner with lots of you know


companies on a global level and what’s your view of the uk insurer that have


versus other countries again i think reflective of all of that i think that there is no city like london that’s so


central and so many startups in insurtech but also in like fintech and


so there is this awareness and talent pool which is easier for the insurtech to tap


into so i think that if i think of other very


well-known tech clubs like tel aviv and berlin and silicon valley and


new york they they will have and they do have some very successful startups but i


can’t imagine that there’s going to be at the frequency that london will originate thank you um i think we are


coming up on on time is there any final piece of wisdom that um any of the


panelists want to share i think i’m out of wisdom


sorry but my surprise with this question it was not planned


uh that’s i i think i think one thing i would share in all honesty is that if you


it does take a business like insurance is built around business cases and as much as that annoys me like in terms of


when you’re trying to do deals and get business cases done if you approach deals and insurance and fundraising as a


business case for like proof of distribution and then get all the underwriting components together there is money out there it’s just that it’s


just a war of attrition sometimes because you can get it done it just takes a little bit longer than you anticipate sure absolutely it’s


what we’ve spoken about is this network in london so if somebody is thinking about where to set up their their


startup they’re in short tech then make the most of it take the time making the decision and try and use some of that


network event that we’ve spoken about go there speak to people and make the judgment for themselves


yeah great yeah and just to uh like it like customer can be in another market


but it’s a very valuable contact or touch point with london especially for their kind of a knowledge and capacity


and financial reasons you know and and on the talent point um i would add that you know shertag is becoming um you know


a cooler place to be um you know i think it started as the forecasting of of


fintech um but but now is is really gaining momentum and i think that lots that come off of companies in like on on


this panel are hiring um so i would encourage um you know people that are


interested in um in insure attack to um to actually jump you know i i have spent quite a lot


of time uh in you know insurance companies well i i think that we we have to close uh because i’m conscious of


time but uh i really wanted to thank um you know richard peter and um and stan


for uh for sharing your thoughts and for uh uh like an interesting discussion and uh


and you know all the people that are listening to this conversation so thank you very much and have a good day everyone



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