LFP179 – Global Insuretech & The Underserved Small Business Insurance Market w/Jay Bregman CEO Thimble

Two topics this week… What are the major trends in Insurtech in the US, UK, Europe and China? Secondly Small Business insurance, general liability professional liability insurance and so forth can be hard to acquire at commercially sensible terms and thus many contractors or home repair folk end up giving up on potential work as a result. 

Jay is a great guy to cover both of these topics – not only is he a successful serial entrepreneur having previously created Hailo (sold to Daimler) and eCourier (sold to the Royal Mail) but Thimble has already done  $175bn of coverage (which sounds like a lot to me). They were recently named as Fast Company’s 2021 #1 Most Innovative “Small and Mighty” Company. Which is impressive.

Insurance is being sliced and diced into ever smaller pieces something which can only help the little guy and small businesses who have been so hard hit by governmental policies which for a year titled the competitive table massively in favour of BigCos. Thus we have yet another example that the apparently dull world of FS and insurance is actually the oil in an engine without which the engine cannot function. Or put another way fixing this problem is a great way to increase economic growth and improve the lives of both suppliers and consumers.

Topics discussed include:

  • New York rebounding
  • Jay’s twelve years in London and creation and sale of eCourier and Hailo
  • getting laws changed in New York to enable your product
  • the pros and cons of the dual federal-state nature of the US – esp re insurance
  • the art of making something out of nothing – bootstrapping – just keep selling and selling and selling and don’t worry when doors are shut in your face
  • important advantage in the UK of the SEIS etc schemes to encourage investment
  • similarities of insurance today cf transportation in 2010
  • 2020 very key in insurtechs breaking through that glass ceiling – super-validated the model
  • the major changes that have taken place
  • part of their team is in China
  • importance of Chinese market precedents re selling insurance through the WeChat app
  • challenges in the US/UK of doing this but importance of aiming in similar digital/ease-of-purchase directions
  • challenges of US per-State regulation – 51 different regulators to deal with
  • advantage of the UK – one entity needs convincing
  • cf Europe where, for all of its challenges, it does passport FS products between countries
  • cuts both ways – a barrier to entry in the US once one has got all the regulators onside – has to be considered as a business investment for 1-2yrs
  • is there a new generation of digital-minded folks joining regulators and slowly changing the culture on that side?
  • the importance of creating insurance products for the small business sector is super-important for society as a whole
  • 95% of small businesses have less than 4 employees
  • esp in US but increasingly in the UK they will often need insurance to do their work – eg if they were doing some work at John Lewis to change the light bulbs
  • traditionally very very tough to get such general liability insurance – this is the market that Thimble is disrupting
  • the relative challenges of creating such a policy versus the challenge of distribution
  • needs a totally innovative approach and not just tweaking oldskool mold of insurance policies
  • importance of partnering with insurers for insurtechs in creating these types of products/policies
  • distribution – direct solution, partners – B2B2C approaches but also traditional brokers
  • how to make this work for brokers when the commission is so small and the hassle so high historically
  • need for brokers to also keep on top of any insurance changes and so forth
  • how the brokers conduit arose
  • the great rate of formation of new businesses in the US
  • these are “more modern” compared to businesses that have disappeared
  • shoutout for reinsurers as new partners
  • Thimble’s plans for the future
  • 40% of the property and casualty premium is in the US (despite the US being order of only 4% of the global population) – crazy legal system and mega-payouts

And much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!