Insurtech unicorn Zego develops flexi products for e-fleets
There will be two new options:
- A usage-based product for mopeds. Similar to other offerings gaining popularity at the moment, policyholders will pay a low monthly fee and then additional small costs for every mile travelled. Telematics will be calculated by .
- Fixed-term annual cover for e-fleets charged per month. Zego is marketing this product as ideal for companies wanting to avoid lump sum insurance payments. This alternative could help small businesses maintain good cash flow and also only includes fleet vehicles ‘in use’, not just the fleet as a whole, also saving money.
Delivery services: Growing insurance potential
In addition to the enhanced flexibility of these new products, Zego states that policies can be expected to go live very quickly - between as short as one week and just under one month.
This move is to reflect the rapid development and agility of contemporary delivery services; scores of food and grocery companies have realised the value of online portals, and insurtechs like Zego are moving to capitalise on the trend.
“The market for fleet moped and e-bike businesses is growing at a rapid pace, particularly due to the surge in delivery and courier services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ines Feracci, Commercial Director.
“We recognise the growing use of mopeds and e-bikes by delivery drivers and riders up and down the [UK], and are pleased that alongside our partners we are now able to provide a far more affordable and fairer insurance model for these businesses.”
Zego makes insurtech history
“This latest round of funding is a huge milestone for Zego. It is a testament to our relentlessly hard-working team and a clear validation of the need for Zego’s products in the market. That being said however, we see this investment as simply another step in our journey towards powering opportunities for businesses across the world,” commented CEO Sten Saar.
Insurtechs are winning the race with legacy system companies
Nestled in its own place within the world of financial services, insurance is arguably more unpopular than retail banking.
That’s hardly surprising given that, from a customer service perspective, insurance is something of an off-kilter transaction. You pay a sizable premium in exchange for a service you hope you will never have to use. This image problem is exacerbated by ubiquitous tales of insurers not paying out when it is time to make a claim.
The insurance sector has long been due to an overhaul, and this is where the disruptive force of insurtech comes in - one of fintech’s most upwardly mobile subcategories. Accordingly, last year, insurtech in the UK alone attracted £262m in investment, a growth of 60% on 2019, according to Tech Nation. Insurtech’s momentous growth has been captured in a new report by The AI Journal exploring this burgeoning sector.
What exactly is insurtech?
Put simply, insurtech refers to technological innovations that seek to make insurance cheaper to buy and more efficient to use. In a similar vein to fintech, the large, established institutions have been dipping their toes into insurtech, but it’s the disruptors who are genuinely looking to shake up the status quo, diving into and exploiting those areas that traditionalists have little imperative to explore.
Examples are price comparison sites (one of the earliest forms of insurtech that was eventually snapped up by the insurers it initially sought to disrupt), claims software, customisable policies, or even smart-tech-enabled dynamic policies whose premiums can fluctuate depending on changing circumstances.
The latter, for instance, could use someone’s fitness tracker or smartwatch to monitor fitness levels, thus reducing the premium of a life insurance policy; or track a GPS system that records the location of a car and assesses risk levels accordingly.
Most consumers tend to shop around for their insurance needs and perhaps end up buying their contents insurance with one provider, their car insurance with someone else, and their pet insurance with yet another underwriter. Managing all these different policies, with their varying renewal dates and payment terms can be complex. This has led to the increase in apps that pull everything together.
More prosaically, insurtechs are developing AI that uses machine learning to act as an insurance broker, eliminating the need for a human intermediary and therefore offering more cost-effective and impartial advice.
Insurtechs and risk
But there are some obstacles in the way of insurtech’s continued evolution.
Insurance companies are averse to risk. Understandably so, as at the crux of the industry is the role of the actuary, whose job it is to analyse and measure the probability and risk of future events. So it’s little wonder that there’s a reluctance among the traditional players to welcome the disruption that insurtech brings.
Insurance is heavily regulated, a minefield of legality and labyrinthine jurisdiction, which means the idea of shaking it up can be anathema. And why would they, when their old-school business models are working perfectly fine?
There’s an understandable nervousness and unwillingness to work with startups, who themselves need to work with the bigger firms in order to underwrite risk.
While it seems like a catch-22 situation, there is growing, if cautious, interest from insurance companies, who can see the benefits of insurance with a friendlier face, innovative solutions, and a competitive edge through differentiation. As that tentativeness dissipates, the growth of insurtech will gather even more momentum.
Tom Allen's analysis is based on the findings of a new report on the fintech and insurtech industries produced by The AI Journal.