Insurtech timeline: wefox’s journey to a US$3bn valuation
Wefox was conceived with a mission to “make insurance simple” using an innovative, tech-based approach. The company wanted (and wants) to pay claims faster, resolve problems easier, and save customers money through more efficient technology.
Although based in Berlin, wefox itself is Swiss and exemplifies the international flexibility of modern insurtech startups.
Following a pre-seed round, wefox officially launched. The insurer-customer relationship is changing and the company believes that convenience, transparency, and an intuitive user experience are its foundations.
“With one eye on the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution, we knew that insurance was ready for innovation and ready to allow us to restore its original purpose: enabling people to be safe,” said Julian Teicke, Founder and Group CEO.
2016 to 2017
Two important funding rounds take place: a $5.5m seed round in January and a $28m Series A in September.
Wefox’s combination of a global brokerage network with data analytics and IoT devices is laying the foundation for an exciting new insurance framework. In Teicke’s vision, insurance policies will become adaptable, real-time processes that seamlessly integrate with peoples’ lifestyles to provide fully personalised coverage.
The popularity of wefox tangibly exploded when the company drew a total of $235m in its Series B round led by Mubadala Capital. The round’s total was the sum of two separate events, one in March ($125m) and the other in December ($110m).
By now, wefox had established a firm grip on the European market and generated a revenue of $143m. Impressively, considering its youth and contrary to other startup’s struggles to do likewise, the company reached profitability in five years.
Wefox has eight offices throughout the region, over 600 employees and over 1,000 advisors.
Wefox broke an insurtech record when it raised $650m in a single (Series C) round. Now valued at $3bn, it has become one of the most valuable startups in the sector.
“We’ve grown our business significantly over the last six years since we launched and we have delivered strong year-on-year growth,” commented Teicke. “wefox will become the leading personal insurance company within the decade.”
Image source: wefox
Startup: iLife, the digital platform for insurance brokers
A relatively fresh insurtech on the scene, iLife was founded in 2019 by CEO Nelson Lee. Bringing together a team of engineers, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs, Lee wanted to help finance professionals increase revenue, decrease costs, and provide a better customer experience (CX).
iLife hones in on the life insurance market and aims to make buying and selling it as easy as possible. It accomplishes this through a unique digital platform featuring over 60 million collected data points from leading carriers. Product information can then be analysed by iLife and compared to others in the market.
This highly transparent process provides customers with more choice and therefore builds stronger broker-client relationships, the company says.
Automating insurance sales
For brokers, iLife states that its platform eliminates the need for ‘cold calls’ and the frequent rejection that such approaches generally entail. It offers the following benefits:
- Real-time lead referral systems
- Automated digital presentations of key information to clients
- Expedited underwriting
- Up to a 90% reduction of operating expenses
iLife’s platform is available in three distinct packages, each with different features and associated monthly cost:
iLife raises $4mn
The company’s seed funding round closed on 14 June and netted a total of $4mn. Led by prominent investment firm Foundation Capital and also featuring Cherubic Ventures, as well as others, this new capital brings iLife’s total raised to $5mn.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Lee said of the company’s $99.99 Professional package that it was “cheaper than hiring 50 software developers. We don’t want to talk to a bot when we buy a policy. Neither do you want to get stuck with a person coming to your home wearing a suit. Neither is enjoyable.”
“We don’t ever interact with consumers. Our software is sold directly to insurance agencies and brokerages. If the website has a browsing capability, and there is a live chat, that is likely powered by us.”
Lee’s comments reflect both the power of modern automation tech and the shifting consumer preference for fast, digital, and online services. As the development of this form of CX continues, brokers who stick rigidly to traditional methods could find themselves increasingly at a disadvantage.
Image source: iLife