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UK insurtech startups to watch

The UK insurtech industry has exploded in recent years, with a number of startups launching new products and making it easier for consumers to buy insurance.

Read next: How UK insurers are embracing digital innovation with mobile apps, gamification and customer data analytics

Research from London accelerator Startupbootcamp InsurTech and PwC, based on more than 1,300 startups across the world, shows that 75 percent of incumbent insurers "believe the biggest impact to the industry will come from building new products in order to address the changing needs of the customer".

Here are some of the most innovative insurtech startups in the UK trying to build those products today...

Zego

Zego

Founded in 2016 by former Deliveroo directors Harry Franks and Sten Saar, alongside CTO Stuart Kelly, Zego started life as a way for gig economy workers to get commercial insurance by the hour.

The product itself is built for simplicity: it integrates directly with companies like Uber and Deliveroo's driver apps to track their working hours and only insure them for when they are on the road.

Read next: Zego isn't here to fix the insurance industry

The fast-growing startup has attracted $50 million in investment from the likes of Local Globe, Balderton Capital and Transferwise founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Tractable
© Tractable

Tractable

Tractable was founded by Alexandre Dalyac and Razvan Ranca in 2014 after graduating from the company builder programme at Entrepreneur First (EF), where they were soon joined by Adrien Cohen, who came on as chief business officer. The three decided they wanted to apply computer vision and AI techniques to automatically assess the damage level to a vehicle, saving insurers time and money, while also giving customers a faster claims process.

Read next: Tractable doesn't have time for aimless AI

What the firm actually built over the ensuing four years was a sophisticated image recognition application that can assess the damage level to a vehicle just from a set of smartphone photographs.

"You need the data, you need the domain knowledge to know how to use this data and train your system and then you need a set of machine learning techniques that are specific to the complexity of the challenge we're facing," Cohen told Techworld.

This involved building teams of machine learning experts alongside industry-insiders like motor engineers, body shop assessors and insurance appraisers to train these models to the point where an insurer would be confident in the output.

Tractable today works with leading insurers in nine countries, according to Cohen, including Ageas here in the UK and Covea in France, but has grand ambitions to "onboard the top 40 players in the world" by the end of 2020.

The firm has raised $55 million to date, including a $25 million Series C funding round in February 2020, led by Georgian Partners with participation from existing investors, including Insight Partners and Ignition Partners.

Kasko

Kasko

Founded in 2015 by Nikolaus Suhr and Matthew Wardle, London-based Kasko offers what it calls “insurtech as a service“, which allows businesses to create their own insurance products and fold them into their own digital channels. For example, a new mobile network might want to offer phone insurance within the purchasing flow on their mobile app, and Kasko promises the ability to quickly and seamlessly deliver that.

The cloud-based platform allows for new insurance product ideas to be tested and existing 'on-paper' products to be digitalised, with policy document issuing, payments, policy administration and capturing first notice of loss all built into the platform as modules.

Insurers like Allianz and Co-Op have launched products with Kasko and the startup has raised £2.5 million in investment to date.

Flock
iStock

Flock

Launched in 2015, Flock's mission is simple: to harness big data for its drone risk assessment platform, and now to provide quality insurance for commercial drone pilots.

Flock has a global partnership with aviation insurance giant Allianz and has produced 'Flock Cover': flexible insurance for drone pilots. Alongside its fixed insurance packages, Flock and Allianz operates 'pay as you fly' insurance plans, which means drone pilots (and trainee pilots) can get flexible and short term coverage.

Based in London, the firm has gained both VC and government funding, reaching £3.3 million to date.

Wrisk

Wrisk

Founded in 2016, Wrisk provides a one-stop-shop insurance app, covering almost everything from technology and cars to jewellery and furniture.

The app works by offering customers with a Wrisk 'score' which is formed by providing a range of information such as your address and other things which could affect your premiums. Wrisk customers will be able to get multiple items insured from one provider rather than numerous vendors.

Payment works on a monthly auto-payment plan, so customers aren't locked in to a year's insurance.

Deemly
© Deemly

Deemly

Deemly provides a reputation and social verification tool for peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces and sharing economy marketplaces in order to help them build trust with their community.

The platform allows users to create their own trust profiles using their online social media or sharing platform accounts. This then enables the company to build trust across the added sites, based on the ratings and reviews received on the accounts.

Founded in 2016, the UK-based startup has already increased its user base by over 25 percent and signed partnership agreements with insurtech businesses in the sharing economy according to Startupbootcamp.

Laka
© Laka

Laka

London-based startup Laka has built a community-based model for bicycle insurance. The monthly maximum is fixed at around £18, but that comes down depending on how many claims are filed by the wider community. Fewer claims means lower premiums for everyone.

Each policy comes with no excess, 60 days of travel insurance, a new for old replacement policy and roadside support.

Founded by Ben Allen, Jens Hartwig and Tobias Taupitz, it has raised seed funding of just over £1 million so far, according to Crunchbase.

Cuvva
© Cuvva

Cuvva

The very British sounding hourly car insurance startup Cuvva was set up in 2014.

In the mobile app you simply enter the registration number and approximate value of the car you are borrowing from a friend or family member, choose the time you want to be covered for, take a picture of the car and Cuvva will get you an instant quote. Cuvva integrates with Facebook so that you can see which of your friends have cars to borrow.

Cuvva queries various data sources to check driving licence data (The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's MyLicence scheme), the Claims and Underwriting Exchange and automated fraud protection to verify coverage quicker than legacy players can.

Cuvva raised a Series A funding round of £15 million in December 2019, with RTP Global, Breega and Digital Horizon joining seed investors LocalGlobe, Techstars Ventures, Tekton and Seedcamp.

Cytora
© Cytora

Cytora

Cytora has developed a piece of technology it calls Risk Engine, which can be used by commercial insurers to help them target and price risk using AI algorithms.

The startup was incubated at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School Accelerate Programme and was initially supported by Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm.

None of the founders actually went to Cambridge, but they aren't lacking in impressive academic credentials. Cytora was founded in 2014 by CEO Richard Hartley (UCL), CTO Aeneas Wiener (Imperial College London), chief research officer Joshua Wallace (UCL) and CCO Andrzej Czapiewski (University of Edinburgh).

The firm has already developed partnerships with big name insurers like QBE, XL Catlin and Starr as it iterates the Risk Engine before launching commercially.

Cytora raised a £25 million founding round in 2019 led by EQT Ventures.

Homelyfe
© Coverager

Homelyfe

UK startup Homelyfe aims to provide a streamlined home insurance experience that gets customers a quote in minutes.

Cofounders Peter Goodman and Andrew Craven launched the startup in October 2017. The pair launched social media advertising platform Brighter Option, which was sold to Buddy Media in 2012 before being sold to Salesforce later that year for $730 million.

Homelyfe was borne out of frustration with the current way insurers operate. The team has built the entire tech stack from scratch, with its own rating engine and broker emulating system that pulls third party data to find out as much about the user as possible without having to ask a hundred questions.

The startup last raised a raised £2.4 million funding round led by Talis Capital and Peterson Ventures in 2017.

Nimbla

Nimbla

Nimbla, which launched in 2016, has built a digital insurance platform that enables small and medium-sized businesses to assess the financial risk of outstanding invoices and prevent losses from bad debt by insuring invoices against non-payment. Traditionally this sort of arrangement would involve taking out trade credit insurance.

Nimbla was founded by Flemming Bengtsen and graduated from the Techstars accelerator program in London in 2018.

Since being launched, Nimbla has covered more than 3,000 companies from unexpected losses due to customer insolvency. The UK SME market writes off £5.8 billion in bad debt every year, according to a survey by Direct Line for Business.

ThreatInformer

ThreatInformer

ThreatInformer was founded in 2016 to provide cyber risk intelligence to the insurance industry. The startup delivers tools for users to transform the way risks are written.

Based on a security-as-a-service platform, ThreatInformer combines threat data, security assessments and environmental factors to help users see the full risk picture. The team specialises in cyber insurance, incident response, threat intelligence and data science.

Digital Fineprint
IDG

Digital Fineprint

Digital Fineprint is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform which uses machine learning technology to help commercial insurance firms attract and retain customers, namely small-to-medium sized enterprises.

It does this by combining open data available online (company reviews, government statistics, social posts and data from websites of individual companies) with an insurer's own data to create a single view of prospects and customers. It then deploys machine learning algorithms to better predict customer needs.

The company raised a $4 million funding round led in September 2019 led by Eos Partners and Pentech Ventures.

Digital Risks
IDG

Digital Risks

Digital Risks is an insurance specialist built for small to medium-sized companies, offering a flexible, pay monthly Insurance-as-a-Service model. For example, a startup founder could start out by protecting their laptop and end up with employer liability insurance and insurance against data breaches as the company grows.

Digital Risks raised a $10.4m Series A funding round in February 2020 led by BHL Holding and the owner of Compare the Market, with participation from Nire Capital and existing investors Concentric, Beazley and Seedcamp.

Neos
© Neos

Neos

Neos is a London-based startup that packages together best-in-class IoT enabled hardware, 24/7 support and unlimited building and contents home insurance, all managed from a mobile app.

Read next: Meet Neos: the insurtech startup packaging IoT sensors with home insurance policies

From the app, customers can look at dashboards or live camera feeds, respond to issues like an intruder alert or a leak and contact the Neos team to get a professional sent out for response.

Neos raised a £5 million Series A investment round from Aviva Ventures and Munich Re in May 2017. Neos policies are underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, which is part of Munich Re Group.

Instanda
© Instanda

Instanda

The Cambridge and London-based startup Instanda could be considered the most pure play insurtech company on this list. It offers a management tool for insurers and brokers to build, launch, distribute and monitor new insurance products in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take.

So what does that mean? Being tied to legacy insurance software systems means building and delivering new insurance products can be cumbersome at best. Instanda has built a tool which consolidates question sets, underwriting workflow, documentation, a rating engine and the customer journey so that underwriters can respond to changing market demands quicker than before.

Spixii
© Spixii

Spixii

A chatbot for insurance may sound like a bad elevator pitch, but Spixii has some pretty smart technology behind it.

Spixii is an "automated insurance agent" which essentially lets you buy and manage your insurance through a chat interface. It is still in beta but essentially it promises the ability to ask Spixii, for example, to insure your bike, when your renewal date is and any other queries you may have when it comes to insurance.

Based out of the Startupbootcamp InsurTech incubator in London, Spixii was founded by a self-described "band of geeks" from technical and insurance backgrounds, with cofounder Alberto Chierici coming from a data science and actuary background and Renaud Million an actuarial consultant at Ernst and Young.

In terms of funding Spixii has been backed by the Startupbootcamp incubator.

Insly
© Insly

Insly

Insly is a cloud based platform for insurance brokers. You can search and manage clients, policies, objects and payments in one place. It is cloud based, so brokers can access the system from anywhere. It is essentially a customer relationship management (CRM) platform - like Salesforce or Workday - for the insurance sector.

Insly is a Startupbootcamp Fintech alumni and last raised a €2.2 million funding round led by Concentric and Black Pearls VC in 2018.

Rightindem
© Rightindem

Rightindem

The claims process tends to be the most painful part when it comes to insurance, and the startup Rightindem is trying to smooth it out by giving customers the ability to better self-serve claims.

Founded by automotive industry veteran David Stubbs, Rightindem aims to allow customers to use their smartphone to record what happened, be it to their car, boat, home or gadget. It claims to use AI technology to both expedite and validate the claim, saving customers time and money.

Rightindem completed its third fund raise in 2017, bringing the total investment to £3.2 million, according to a company spokesperson.

Worry+Peace

Worry+Peace

Buckinghamshire-based insurtech startup Worry + Peace has built an insurance marketplace for customers to find, review and manage insurance providers.

Founder James York is a former underwriter, and he previously told Techworld that the idea for Worry+Peace is to take an "Amazon approach" to insurance by ensuring that they "stock everything we can".

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.