Insurance startups - industry disruptors
Updated 9th April 2019
There’s been a lot of same-old, same-old in the insurance industry, ever since... well, ever since insurance first came into being. The stuff we insure may have changed, but the basic format has remained the same. No surprise then that insurance has struggled to shake off its age-old reputation for being a dry, dusty, jobsworth kind of industry. If anything needs disrupting, it’s insurance.
So it’s great to see so many innovators - like ourselves - doing their best to provide some powerful disruption. Here at Digital Risks, we’re on a mission to insure those businesses that conventional insurance companies don’t properly serve, to cut through the jargon, and to put the power back into the hands of clients. But we’re not alone. There are loads of other fantastic start-ups changing the face of insurance right now.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Driving someone else’s car has always been awkward in the UK. You have to be insured to use a vehicle – but who wants to take out a full policy on a car you only need to nip to the shops in once or twice? Enter Cuvva. Cuvva is a pay-as-you-go insurance app, which lets you pay by the hour for insurance on any car you wish to borrow. It’s really simple to use. You type in the registration of the car in question, the approximate value of the car and the timescale during which you want to be insured to drive it. Then you snap a pic of the car and send it to Cuvva.
Their intelligent software can go through relevant data sources and the Claims and Underwriting Exchange way faster than legacy providers can. They’ll get back to you with a quote almost instantly. And you’re sorted! Legally driving your mate’s car. It even connects to Facebook, so you can find third-parties with cars they’re willing to lend.
Brolly is plugging gaps in both insurance coverage and users’ understanding of their coverage. It’s basically a smartphone app which provides a locker for your insurance policies, plus advises you on renewals, coverage gaps etc. If something isn’t working out for you, Brolly gives you the option to shop around for new policies, and will advise on what’s best for your circumstances. It’s still in development, but what’s there so far is proving a fantastic tool for keeping consumers covered and informed.
With the climate behaving in ever more extreme ways, it’s important to be covered for natural disasters. In the UK, floods are our most common and most damaging form of natural disaster, and they’ve been hitting hard in places previously thought to be flood-proof. There’s not much you can do to stop the waters from rising – but you can protect yourself against flood damage and loss. Enter FloodFlash.
FloodFlash is a tech-led insurance company which makes flood insurance available to those even at the highest risk of flooding. FloodFlash will pre-agree a fixed sum to be paid out upon a pre-defined level of flooding. There’s no chance of cheating the system, as FloodFlash will install a web-connected water sensor to gauge when the waters have risen high enough for payment. Nor can the insurer stall with lengthy claim investigations – the payment is made as soon as the sensor is triggered. Expect to see more of this kind of parametric insurance in the near future.
Spixxi is a chatbot for insurance. Which is not nearly as weird as it sounds. Spixii is an automation which lets you manage and shop for insurance in a chat format. Think of it like Alexa, but for insurance. So, you could ask Spixii to clarify things about your insurance that you don’t understand, to point out gaps in your coverage, or to let you know when you need to renew a policy. Spixii is still in beta, but the concept is getting a lot of high-profile attention.
No article on tech start-ups is complete without at least a mention of drones. Flock is a data-driven insurance start-up which has recently made waves by aiming a policy at drone pilots. ‘Flock Cover’ is not just an on-demand insurance app – it also enables drone pilots to calculate the risk of any given flight. Obviously, the two go hand-in-glove, so it’s surprising that more insurers do not offer this kind of service.
Users can ask the app to aggregate a plethora of datasets, including hyper-local weather conditions, nearby no-fly zones, population density etc. It will then provide a data-driven risk assessment and a time-based insurance premium based upon this. It’s proving very popular, with over 1,000 commercial drone pilots currently using Flock Cover on a regular basis.
Generation Rent needs insurance just as much as anyone else, but it can be tough to find decent policies when you’re living in a place you don’t own. Insurer Urban Jungle is, therefore, fulfilling a pretty urgent need. Urban Jungle’s impressive tech swiftly and non-intrusively pulls data on a given user from third parties without having to put the client through tedious rounds of checks and questioning. By cross-referencing this with data on risk and so on, the Urban Jungle team can come up with a fair and accurate quote for rental home insurance in under four minutes. Impressive.
Last but not least, a start-up promising to iron the snarls out of perhaps the most vexed aspect of insurance: the claims process. Rightindem enables smartphone recording of claimable incidents (whatever the policy may be for). It can then use its AI software to review the footage (or data) and speedily validate the claim. This puts a lot of control back into the hands of consumers (a welcome move!), and promises to save customers both time and money.
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