Great technology combined with even better tools will inevitably take clients to the place they want to go. That is the belief of David Power (pictured above, right), the CEO of the complex commercial lines insurtech platform Insurwave, which has this morning announced the securing of £5 million in fresh funding. Insurwave is a cloud platform targeted at specialty insurance, he said, which is quite unique as traditionally insurtechs tend to lend their services to personal lines or volume commercial lines.
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“Unlike in volume lines, specialty lines have got many different parties involved in an insurance contract and what we saw was the need to connect those parties,” he said. “And at its core, Insurwave connects these and it shares the data between all those parties. But most importantly it gives a number of services and utilities to those parties that eliminate them all repeating the effort that the other one may have already done, which gives them space for growth [and] accurate data, allowing them to run their business.”
Power, who joined Insurwave a year ago, has embarked on an ambitious growth strategy which has seen the expansion of its leadership team and the re-architecture of the business to a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. Part of getting involved was about setting a number of short term goals with the support of the founding shareholders, he said, and the successful completion of these has culminated in substantial fundraising.
“The thing with modern insurtech,” he said, “is that while typically you start with a proposition, what you probably end up with is a technology solution that has the building blocks for a number of different opportunities in the sector. And certainly what we’ve seen after a couple of years within Insurwave is that the building blocks in our platform allow us to do a little bit more on the reinsurance side than we had initially thought, and also more on the captive management side. And that just comes from being a citizen of the industry for a while and just keeping your head down and doing a good job for your customers.”
The good thing about securing new funding, he said, is that it goes a large way to removing planning anxiety. It allows you to set clear goals, growth plans, hiring plans and sales and marketing strategies to allow the business to scale up and to give it the opportunity to express itself in the market. Funding certainty allows a business to be bolder and more relaxed when it comes to its decision-making and can lead to the exploration of new risks and new avenues that wouldn’t have otherwise been considered.
Operating in the specialty space, Power has seen that there is a varied scale with regards to whether insurers and brokers are aware of the need to embrace progressive risk solutions. Some are more progressive than others, he said, and while there is no sign that the industry is resting on its laurels there is a level of complexity and legacy that it has to overcome.
“And that requires somebody to really grab the bull by the horns in any organisation and say ‘OK, we’re headed this way’ and then take the organisation there,” he said. “I think that the technology and the digital opportunities that are available to the sector are [increasingly] being embraced. And I think it will lead to a tipping point, though I don’t think we’re there yet.”
He noted that the recent influx of investment into the digital Lloyd’s syndicate Ki is something of a glimpse into the future with insurance capital being provided by non-insurance companies, with Google providing the utility platform and Brit doing algorithmic assignment in terms of their syndicates. There will likely be further demonstrations of what can be done, modelled from such examples of how technology can be used, but this will not replace the need for advisory services and for seasoned professionals being part of the insurance solutions. The businesses that will win will be those that can twin technology with such expertise.
For Insurwave the focus has always been on building strong relationships with its partners and highlighting that the services it offers are complementary to those which already exist in the insurance ecosystem. The business deals with every party in the insurance space, but its focus to this point has been on the service-facing partners as well as the risk owners themselves and their captives.
“For us, the key next step is that, with all good technology, you should be looking at adjacencies,” he said. “And we like to find a really good partner that identifies that space with us, or which we identify with them, and then they get the benefit of Insurwave bringing a first-mover advantage to that space in the provision of additional value or new working formats.
“We’re already in conversations about expanding the building blocks of what we do… so now it’s about dialling those up a bit to add further sophistication. Where we see the platform going is taking our [proposition] of connecting multiple parties with sophisticated rules and data sharing, and applying that to the reinsurance sector, and looking to expand into the captive management sector as well.”