Flock, a London start-up that has created a data-driven insurance product for drones, has raised £ 2.5 million in start-up financing. Leading the tour is finthech and VC Anthemis insurtech capital fund, with the participation of Plug & Play, the seed and speed of Silicon Valley, and the previous support Downing Ventures. A number of anonymous angel investors also took part in the event.
Describing himself as "a pioneer in the use of real-time data in insurance," Fock's drone insurance finds its roots in the academic studies of co-founders Antton Pena and Ed Leon Klinger. Pena wrote his thesis on the use of real-time data to quantify the risks of drone flight and began building the first version of the Flock platform at the Data Science Institute of Imperial College London with the help of a postdoctoral researcher in artificial intelligence.
Similarly, while he was studying at the University of Cambridge, Klinger focused on the future of the Autonomous World, writing and publishing articles on driverless vehicles, the safety of the IA and autonomous drones. This included a paper on the future of the drone industry in which he identified the same solution that Anton had already started to build: the idea that real-time data could be exploited to identify and quantify the risks of drone flights.
To this end, Fock's first product, dubbed "Flock Cover", is a pay-as-you-fly insurance application that allows drone pilots to operate flights during at least an hour. It aggregates real-time data, including hyperlocal weather conditions, population density, proximity to high-risk areas (such as airports), and so on. Flock's algorithms then analyze this data, coupled with other data points, such as the weight of the drone, to quantify the risk of any given drone flight. The insurance itself is offered as part of a partnership with Allianz.
"The problem we are solving in the drone industry is that the risks of drone flight are unpredictable, complex and not particularly well understood by insurers," says Klinger. "The result is overvalued, burdensome, but often mandatory insurance policies that are not suitable for the purpose for which they are intended (UK drone insurance is a legal requirement for professional pilots ). "
In contrast, the use of real-time (and static) data by Flock allows the start-up to offer "risk-dependent" prices, Klinger explains, "the more you travel in any security, the less you pay. Our safest drivers are now paying less for their insurance than their morning coffee! "
The company claims that 1,000 commercial drone pilots are now using Flock Cover, which was launched earlier this year in the UK, which is a departure from the flat annual premiums for Flock's on-demand model.
That said, the co-founder of Flock admits that there are already on the market a number of other insurance products drone on demand, even though traditional insurers remain the main competition from the start-up. "These insurers have lasted longer than us, and they certainly have larger budgets.What they do not have is real-time data on their side.They can not tell the difference between high-risk and low-risk customers or flights, so they simply charge roughly the same amount for an annual policy, "he says.
In the meantime, it would appear that drone insurance is only a beginning, as Klinger and Pena are considering other areas of coverage where big data can be used to offer more insurance. flexible and of better quality.
"As the world becomes more and more autonomous, from cars on our streets to robots in our homes, we can expect to see a whole new set of risks emerge," adds Klinger. "Here at Flock, we use cutting-edge scientific data to identify, quantify and insure these risks for drones, but we are only in the early days. Our broadest vision is to bridge the gap between today 's insurers and the technologies of tomorrow, pioneering the use of Big Data in insurance for a self – sustaining future.