Startup spotlight: handdii, property insurance made easy
Downs has over a decade of construction industry experience, with a speciality in insurance repair. Wood is a recognised leading figure in Australian insurance; in her last role as Head of Claims Proposition & Short Tail at QBE Insurance, she managed AU$1.5bn indemnity spend and over 600 FTE across both Australia and the Philippines.
By combining their experience and skill sets, Downs and Wood hoped to achieve the following:
- Smart tech that connects the insurance industry directly with contractors
- Enabling businesses to scale easily
- Fewer costs for insurers and an easier experience for both contractors and customers
The result of this collective vision was handdii.
Insurance: Making everyone a winner
Calling the traditional property insurance process “complicated and cumbersome”, the company resolved to make it faster, more convenient, inclusive, and with no unnecessary administration.
At the heart of handdii is a simple four-step process:
1) Pair: the company’s smart tech links the most appropriate contractor to conduct repairs at a time convenient for the customer
2) Repair: the contractor assesses the customer’s property and reviews the damage. The insurer will then confirm coverage and once the excess or deductible has been paid, repairs will take place immediately
3) Communicate: all repairs and communications will be logged on the handdii ‘storyboard’ for easy reference
4) Reward: once the work is complete, customers are able to rate the service rendered (high ratings will lead to faster payments)
Expanding in the US
The quality of handdii’s service is testified by its partnership last year with insurtech leader Hippo. Currently available to its customers in California and Texas, Hippo’s Daniel Blanaru, VP of Growth Initiatives, praised handdii as an insurance pioneer that’s helping to transform the claims experience.
“The most important moment that we need to stand by our customers is when they file a claim, and we approach the process with empathy, since we’re rebuilding their lives, not just their property,” he said.
Almost a year later, this news has been followed by an announcement from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), stating US$3mn in venture capital has been raised for handdii’s expansion across the US.
Austrade itself provided one-to-one mentorship to the company, such as advice on go-to-market strategies, introducing it to venture capital and funding options, and guidance on scaling its existing operations in California and Texas.
“The Austrade team guided us through the VC process and their advice was always practical,’ said Downs. ‘The mentor helped us refine our pitch, curate a target list of investors and build a forecasting model. They also helped us to practice our pitch so it met US tech standards.”
Describing US capital firms as “very friendly” to Australian tech startups, Downs indicates that the market could be highly receptive to others. With Melbourne currently functioning as Australia’s primary fintech hub, it is conceivable that an accelerated migration is on the cards.
Pictured (L to R): Downs and Wood
CB Insights: US Insurtechs Are Competing In A Global Market
In the first half of the year, insurtech companies around the world have raised US$7.4bn, nearly doubling their funding in Q2. According to Digital Insurance, insurtechs have raised US$4.8bn in Q2—an 89% increase in funding from Q1. But US firms are no longer the sole beneficiaries.
What Are the Stats?
Out of the 15 Q2 mega-rounds—those that top US$100mn—only eight included American firms. Pretty good, you might say. That’s over half! But US companies only made up 38% of the deals, which marks a 10% drop from Q1 and a 12% drop from 2020. Technically, therefore, US insurtechs are less influential than they’ve been in the past. But who says this is a bad development?
Despite my American citizenship, I’d argue that a more globally diverse insurance market is only for the best. Many of the world’s citizens who could most benefit from improved insurance services live outside of the States—and deserve local, tech-savvy services.
Why Does This Matter?
You’re always going to see the typical insurtech contenders from Western countries. For instance:
- German-based wefox: US$650mn Series C
- UK-based Bought By Many: US$350mn Series D
- US-based Collective Health: US$280mn Series F
But it’s critical that we address risk across the world. American insurtechs might be some of the most technologically skilled firms in the industry, but it’s not their first goal to address floods in Southeast Asia, crop destruction in China, and COVID complications in South Africa. That’s why we should celebrate that the recent Q2 round included insurtechs from 35 different countries.
According to CB Insights’ Q2 2021 Quarterly InsurTech Briefing, this was the first time that they’d observed insurtech activity in Botswana, Mali, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. And ‘from a product, service, distribution, and underlying risk perspective, we—as a society and as an industry—are moving at an unprecedented speed’, says Dr. Andrew Johnston, Global Head of Willis Re InsurTech.
Just ask CB Insights. InsurTech value propositions have resonated with the world.