Technical functions of insurance on a growing number of VC decks lately. On the surface, at least, the insurance industry presents a nearly perfect storm for the disruption.
On the one hand, it is an industry inherited from the radical need for digitization and yet paralyzed by the innovator's dilemma. On the other hand, new technologies, such as ubiquitous connectivity, new types of sensors and machine learning, mean that the very essence of insurance (for example, how to evaluate the risk) will be potentially very different in a few years.
However, because of the regulatory overhead costs necessary to launch a new insurance technology company and the fact that it usually requires working with reinsurers or underwriters, progress has been slow. That's what says Stephen Brittain, co-founder and director of InsurTech Gateway, a recently launched accelerator for "insurtech" startups, supported by Hambro Perks and Robert Lumley.
In what appears to be a first, at least in the United States, InsurTech Gateway is also an approved FCA insurance broker and has made underwriting arrangements with Aspen, the 39, one of the world's leading specialists in insurance and reinsurance. This, according to Brittain, should significantly reduce the time required for accelerator-supported startups to launch new innovative products.
"[Right now] bad people get through because the barriers are so high," he says. "Rather than spend 18 months in the insurance market and become an expert in form filling and start-up tourism, we want to collaborate with entrepreneurs and help them get into the market in a few weeks" .
In addition to helping new insurtech startups obtain delegated regulatory approval and receive underwriting support, InsurTech Gateway invests on customized terms, paired with companies at various stages. Think about pre-seed for start-up financing at your fingertips. It also provides office space, complete compliance, key technical platforms and GDPR procedures, and has partnering arrangements with capital providers, distributors and key infrastructure such as computer platforms and of payment.
Once all this is in place, Brittain argues, it becomes easier for more enterprising and creative people to get into insurtech: people who are not cluttered with inherited thought and do not necessarily come of the insurance sector. "That's what it's all about, we're lowering the barrier at the entrance so that the genie can come in," he says.
In the meantime, it was said that three portfolio companies are already in place: InMyBag, which offers specialized insurance and data recovery services for freelancers; By Miles, telematics-based auto insurance for low-mileage drivers; and Floodflash, an IoT flood sensor that enables instant flood insurance. Five other insurtech startups are expected to join InsurTech Gateway by the end of 2018.