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.

Transcript

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[Music]

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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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

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going pretty cool among all things being considered great rich turds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ensure parcel delivery drivers ride hailing food delivery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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this innovation applications great

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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insurer reinsurer pretty much has a branch in london and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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a quota share partner swiss3 and another 15 excess of loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

23:44

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

25:39

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

27:12

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

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

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

27:28

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

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

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

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into so i think that if i think of other very

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

27:58

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

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

28:11

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

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

28:22

sorry but my surprise with this question it was not planned

28:28

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

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

28:38

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

28:44

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

28:50

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

28:59

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

29:05

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

29:11

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

29:18

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

29:23

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

29:30

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

29:37

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

29:42

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

29:50

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

29:55

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

30:01

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

30:07

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

30:13

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

30:19

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

30:27

[Music]

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