Startup spotlight: Anorak, a new way to buy life insurance
Combining Vanek’s experience as a tech entrepreneur and former investment banker at JPMorgan with Durnez’s extensive insurance industry knowledge, the duo sought to make finance more accessible and easier to purchase.
Moreover, Anorak’s approach is characterised by empowering consumers to make informed decisions through tailored advice provided by insurance experts. It summarises this as three core differentiators:
- Helping people learn
- Providing expert advice online
- Focusing on the ‘right’ cover for the customer’s needs, budget, and profile
A new way to buy insurance cover
Anorak currently offers three main products:
Customers that enquire are able to receive instant advice online about their policy requirements. Anorak then scans for matching coverage from major insurers and advises on the most suitable option. Finally, customers are invited to apply online, but not before an expert from Anorak helps them go over the details one final time.
Elsewhere on the website, a dedicated learning centre provides comprehensive to the aforementioned insurance products, as well as quick tips and guides for those exploring whether they need cover or not.
Innovating life insurance
The round also attracted several notable angel investors from within insurance, such as Paul Evans, Chairman of Allianz, and Nic Kohler, former CEO of Hollard. Clearly, the innovative and transformative approach it champions is finding favour among investors in the post-COVID market.
“The last 12 months has left many of us in a state of financial uncertainty, and many are actively searching for fair and transparent advice on insurance. Our platform provides exactly that and we are looking forward to continuing to work with our partners to bring this education to the masses,” stated Vanek.
Sanchit Dhote, Investment Manager at Outward VC, added that Anorak possessed a genuine capability for resolving difficult industry pain points:
“The protection gap is only getting wider and Anorak is already a leading player enabling the shift towards embedded insurance. We believe that Anorak has the potential to become the go-to infrastructure for everyday insurance advice.”
Image source: Anorak
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