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.
Andy Rear was until recently head of the innovative Digital Partners, MunichRe’s London subsidiary which pretty much invented Reinsurance (/Insurance) As A Service (which he covered way back in LFP074). In this episode he rejoins us to present evidence that Insurtech is actually changing an industry.
Andy himself is off to do Non-exec-ing and a PhD in Pensions behaviour and so this might well be his swansong podcast on the topic of Insurtech and as such an industry leading figure it’s a must-listen! Has Insurtech changed an industry – Andy lays out the evidence and you decide…
The alignment of economic interests between buyer and seller is much spoken about but little done. Over two and half years ago when Tobi was first on the show he spoke about the idea of aligning Laka’s interests with their clients. Now we hear this narrative all the time but rarely is it deeply true.
In Laka’s case they do not take payment for the insurance but rather earn money when they pay-out on an insurance claim – the opposite of the insurance industry. Its a “back to the future” approach – back to the origins of insurance as being collectives, co-operatives of say Swiss dairy farmers up an alp bonding together for mutual (sic) support.
Well back then it sounded like a wonderful idea but one that would need careful paramaterisation. As with anything in life one needs to balance compassion for others with compassion for yourself – all too many teachers, doctors et al go into their profession to help people but come out of it decades later bitter and cynical. In the same way you can set up a company tomorrow that is totally focused on client-value (which many say of course but no-one really does) but if you are 100% on client-value then that’s zero value for your business and at some point you go bust.
In this episode we look at truly aligned Insurtech. How has the model gone? Is it widespread? Will it catch on? What does the future hold?
Cuvva have some hundred employees, 400,000 UK clients and 5% of the short-term UK car insurance market which is a phenomenal achievement for any Fintech in any sector. In this episode founder Freddy Macnamara joins us to discuss how price comparison websites have changed the insurance industry, the regulatory review of pricing in re and how to go beyond such websites to, schematically, re-invent the model of a broker who is looking after you for the 21stC insurance markets.
At a higher level this is another delayering play. In the LFP157 we discussed how direct bank to bank payments for merchants would massively delayer the conventional credit card payment chain which has lots of mouths to feed. In the case of insuretech it is simplest to quote from Cuvva’s about page:
“But we soon realised insurance isn’t just lacking. It’s completely broken. It’s built on layers of middlemen and outdated systems.”
In this show we review a decade in Fintech. Although the earliest Fintechs were formed around 2004/5 (WorldFirst, Zopa) many big names formed around 2010 (Funding Circle, Ratesetter, MarketInvoice). The LFP formed started covering the scene in mid-2014, the year of the first London Fintech week and the year that the Fintech word first hit the broadsheets. Using the shownotes at the time as a diary I trace the evolution of the promises, the hopes, the disappointments, the old innovations and the new innovations. Where did it all go?
No long show notes this week – it is a podcast podcast and in listening you can draw your own conclusions – indeed that’s the point of using dozens of real world examples as seen at the time not as seen through the dark glass of memory.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the London Fintech scene and wider UK Fintech scene and to all listeners. Want to know what the next decade might hold? Check out the previous decade and join the dots…!
Tristan was last on the show some three years ago in LFP063 which has been solidly in the Top5 most downloaded episodes of all time even since. Today he joins us to update us on what is hot in AI/ML – and there’s a lot 😉 – along with predicting commodity prices.
Tristan is now CEO of ChAi who are creating insurance products for the commodity markets and at the forefront of some of the most interesting developments in AI/ML today.
In this episode we cover some of the key important developments and in particular dive into some amazing examples of how Alt Data is crucial to the developments. The focus in AI/ML is moving away from algorithms and onto data.
There is no end to Fintechs reach – this week to the most fundamental industry in the world – Farming – easily forgotten but without which we would all die soon. 90% of the world’s commodities cannot be hedged exposing producers to huge risks. Stable are merging AgriTech with Fintech to enable producers to hedge/insure their risks.
Richard is both a Neolith and a Techolith – being Farmer and Fintech CEO and thus bridges these two worlds.
In our modern overly-financialised world they are something that most denizens of the City have much to do with. However back in the day the City was pretty much London and before shares existed the Royal Exchange which was opened in 1571 was a market for real stuff. Only later – well before the LSE – did it expand into shares.
So the origins of the City are totally in trading real things long before it traded abstract things.
Thus this week we go full circle – connecting not just one of the oldest industries in the world with the newest but also bridging over five centuries of The City’s history.
Bought By Many are one of the UK’s oldest Insuretechs from when it was nigh on impossible to launch one and to do so meant one was laughed at. Now BBM have over 600,000 members in over 320 specialist insurance groups. They get a super-impressive Feefo trust rating of 4.7/5 from nigh on 6,000 reviews which is great going in any sector but particularly in the insurance sector which is not always loved by its clients.
In this episode today Steven talks to us about what has changed in the three and a half years since he was last on the show way back in LFP027, where Insuretech is and where it is going.
He also focuses on one of BBM’s key focuses – ensuring that they leverage human creativity alongside the tech in all their roles. Across the economy as a whole many MegaCos are versions of the Ford production line factory with people doing mundane jobs that will eventually be replaced by robots. This also applies within FS. However to be a successful startup, the small mammals taking on the dinosaurs one needs to be nimble, fast moving and agile – and for this one needs humans not robots.
An Insuretch insider said to me “if there is one firm that is doing something truly radical in insurance its Laka”. Aha. So here we are – Laka on the LFP. Laka are re-slicing and dicing the paradigm that led to so much in lending/borrowing but has never really got out of the hanger in insurance – P2P. This despite the fact that the historic roots of insurance – and its current core model – rely on pooling risks.
Toby joins us today to revisit P2P insurance ab initio and to tell us how Laka are reinterpreting the paradigm to come up with some notable twists – not least of which if there are no claims in your pool in a given month you pay nothing. Oh and you don’t pay up-front either. Nor will you pay more than conventional insurance. And there are more differences as we hear in the show.