Insurtech as a driver of digital disrupt in the insurance business.
In 2016, the Insurtech barely existed in the internet sphere and the term itself was vague and imprecise. Today, in only 0.77 seconds Google Search generates over 5 million results, while Insurtech companies are not only a point of interest of venture capitalists, but also major insurers uncertain about their future competitive advantages.
Julian Teicke, Wefox CEO
The Insurtech itself reaches far further than the insurance sector, though. It is an ecosystem which bonds related industries such as healthcare, cybersecurity, or sharing economy in order to improve the quality of insurance services. Business models based on AI and Software as a Service (SaaS) are especially important and this was reflected in recent DFCM’s transactions.
The rapid growth of Insurtech caused major insurance companies to spin off Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) funds to couple innovations with their core business. The largest ones include AXA Venture Partners, Allianz X, and MassMutual Ventures and they have raised funds ranging from $50 million up to $1.1 billion.
A dynamic shift in the insurance industry can be exemplified by $3bn valued German real-time insurer Wefox, which raised $650m in its C Series round in June, adding up to over $900m of funds obtained in total. The sum is going to be spent on establishing the position in the German, Swiss, and Polish market. In Poland, Wefox was approved to begin operations in mid-January, started training its agents in March and in the next few months it will begin selling insurance through its network of over 3,000 agents.
A key factor differentiating Wefox from other Insurtech start-ups is its focus on agent-based sales, instead of the direct one. The insurer provides its employees with tools which significantly simplify selling insurance online. For property insurance, a postcode and the area are in majority of cases enough for the AI-based algorithm to calculate the property value, simultaneously checking whether the property is not in a wetland or a flooding area. For car insurance, after scanning the QR code in the proof of registration, the agent can immediately compare the offers. Furthermore, Wefox is underlining its efficient claims handling. If the damage is eligible for quick claim handling, the customer receives a link to the form. After filling it and accepting the amount of compensation, the funds are transferred on the same day. However, in case of any customer’s doubts, for every claim there is an advisor assigned who guides the customers through the process. As a result, Wefox affirms that 60% of claims are handled within 24 hours.
Another important part of Insurtech business is obtaining a licence which enables scalability and offering a wide range of services. In the case of Wefox, the licence was issued in Liechtenstein. This trend can be also observed in the adjacent Fintech industry, with major players such as Klarna, N26, or Monzo, winning the trust of their customers and continuing to grow thanks to their banking license.
Novel search engines such as Punkta, Rankomat, Mubi, or Porownero show that in Poland the Insurtech business also has a positive impact on the insurance market, which under the pressure of customers’ expectations introduces innovations aiming to improve the quality of the services.
For search engines, established in 2015 in Poland Punkta exemplifies the impact of digital disruption. Punkta offers its consumers the ability to search, compare and purchase insurance products from leading providers, attracting over 500,000 visits per month thanks to its broad functionalities and usefulness. DFCM was an advisor on the transaction of sale of the MCI Capital’s majority stake in Punkta to Pollen Street Capital in the first quarter of 2021, which allowed for the company's further growth.
To summarise, the above mentioned trends show that Insurtech has become a real threat to established insurance companies. Nevertheless, will Insurtech start-ups be capable of competing with firms with incomparable amounts of capital? There is no single answer to this question. Hence, the latest events and developments in the Insurtech sector are worth following.
Adams, M., Ramette, F., Carr, M. 2019. ‘This is InsurTech’s moment. Will insurers seize the opportunity?’ PricewaterhouseCoopers. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/financial-services/library/insurtech-innovation.html
Gazeta Ubezpieczeniowa. 2021. Wefox pozyskał 650 mln USD finansowania na podbój rynku. https://gu.com.pl/wefox-pozyskal-650-mln-usd-finansowania-na-podboj-rynku/
Krzemińska-Albrycht, I. 2021. ‘Wefox w Polsce. Zobaczcie, jak niemiecki insurtech chce przekonać do siebie polskich agentów i klientów.’ Cashless. https://www.cashless.pl/10430-wefox-dla-agentow
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