Disrupting Legacy Insurance

10 InsurTech Start-ups challenging the status quo

The problems faced by the insurance industry are glaringly apparent – it’s hard to love, people find it complicated and incumbent businesses have been slow to implement a joined-up strategy. Now a new breed of start-ups are transforming the sector making is easier, incorporating it into social media conversations and adapting it to suit the needs of a younger generation.

Here are 10 companies disrupting this centuries-old industry:

1. Trov

Trov is a London-based Insurtech firm that aims to reinvent insurance for the mobile generation, offering an alternative solution for people who are reluctant to take out complicated insurance policies. Through the Trov app, users can access an on-demand insurance platform that generates real-time prices for different insurable items. The service, which partners with local insurance providers, also lets users store and organise information about their belongings. The company recently received £25.5 million in funding for their pilot launch in the UK and Australia. Future plans include a U.S. launch.

2. Bought by Many

Bought by Many is an insurance startup with headquarters in London that offers cover for pets, homes, gadgets and private health. In 2015, the company won Fintech Innovation of the Year, and numerous other awards in 2016. The service is free, and offers specific insurance for unconventional items – like French bulldogs. Bought by Many challenges consumers to reject the insurance production line by joining a site that respects individual financial needs. With over 240,000 members, their approach seems to be working.

3. Lemonade

Lemonade is a property insurance company based in New York that offers an on-demand mobile service with affordable monthly subscription charges. Using the company’s AI bot, it takes just 90 seconds to get insured. The service is available on iOS, Android and for desktop. At the moment they only serve New York state, but plan to expand across the country. They raised $13 million in seed funding in 2015.

4. Simply Business

With 30,000 customers, Simply Business is the UK’s largest online insurance company. Having started in 2005 and now employing a team of 300, they’re proof that firms offering digital cover can be very successful. They began as an online quote comparison service with a focus on serving SMEs, including policies from Aviva, Hiscox, QBE and Zurich. In 2015, Simply Business won the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. In keeping with the theme of digitalised finance, they offer tailored insurance that can be applied for in minutes.

5. Insure a Thing
Based in London, Insure a Thing have received funding and mentorship from Startupbootcamp Insurtech 2016, which focuses specifically on promising new Fintech businesses. The main objectives are fairness and transparency, and the company only earns revenues when the customer’s best interests are fulfilled. Founded this year, services will officially begin in 2017 with high value bicycle insurance.

6. BetterView

Founded in 2014, BetterView is an Insurtech startup based in San Francisco that marries insurance with innovative engineering. Using drones to capture aerial images, the company flags up potential problems for properties and then files a report for their clients. This means that clients know exactly what issues could affect them in the future, and can choose an insurance policy to address this. Again, the business model is about treating customers individually using specific data.

7. Carpe Data

California-based Carpe Data provides risk assessment for P&C (Property and Casualty) and Life insurers. Using information extracted from social media, online content, wearables and connected devices, the company aims to predict the outcome of introducing new products. Despite recent debate about data protection, Carpe Data states that 85% of individuals will share information for insurance incentives.

8. Friendsurance

Friendsurance was founded in 2010 and is based in Berlin. In 2011, it won the Service Innovation Award Insurance, and was nominated as Startup of the Year. It is one of the first companies to develop peer-to-peer insurance. Since Friendsurance pioneered this approach, fifteen firms have imitated them. This year, the startup received $15 million in a second round of funding from Horizon Ventures.

9. Spixii.ai

As you can probably guess from the name, Spixii.ai uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning techniques to offer insurance policies. Via a conversation with an automated insurance agent (AKA a chatbot), the startup aims to provide an easy, personalised experience for their customers. Like Insure a Thing, Spixii was accelerated by Startupbootcamp Insurtech and has also received funding from Startup Next. The company launched this year and is in the process of becoming a licensed broker.

10. CoVi Analytics

CoVi Analytics were founded this year and are based in London. They aim to simplify compliance to insurance regulations, as well as reducing the costs associated with it via data insights and automation. The UK insurance market has already spent billions of pounds preparing their businesses for Solvency II, an EU directive for insurers. Through CoVi Analytics, insurance companies can apply software called cmile to consolidate their fulfilment of fragmented regulations.

New Insurtech providers are really tapping into what customers (whether they be individuals or corporations) want – personalised policies that take insurance off of the production line. Startups are successfully reaching out to their customers by offering accessible, fair and honest services. This new breed of Insurtech companies seem to care about the financial security of their clients. This morally conscious approach has been described as an awareness of ‘social good’. However, the question remains – will consumers be willing to step away from legacy firms to take a risk with new providers? If established businesses don’t respond to issues of trust and transparency, the answer could well be a resounding yes.