Janthana Kaenprakhamroy (pictured) wanted to rent out a flat in the UK through Airbnb one summer and struggled to find insurance to cover her guests over that finite period. Her challenges spawned an idea.
“I thought … we can do better,” Kaenprakhamroy recalled.
She went on in 2016 to found Tapoly – a digital managing general agent (MGA) that provides tailored commercial lines insurance to micro SMEs and freelancers/gig workers. Tapoly also works globally, building end-to-end white labelled SaaS products and services that use emerging technologies to connect insurers with their distribution partners globally.
Tapoly already conducts business well beyond the UK. It also has clients in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. Tapoly has sold more than 18,000 insurance policies since its inception as of April, Kaenprakhamroy said.
“If you look at how we positioned ourselves to be an on-demand platform for gig workers, and if you look at the market today, peak work is growing,” Kaenprakhamroy said. “There’s more of the work today than there was a couple of years ago.”
Alternative or on-demand insurance has also gained popularity, she noted.
“You see … thought leaders talking about on-demand, embedded insurance,” she said. “We were in the space before everyone else even used it.”
Lean and nimble
Tapoly currently employs 10 people but was at one point closer to 15. The idea, Kaenprakhamroy said, is to keep the operation lean and focus on automating most of its processes.
The team focuses on building relationships as well as technology development and use.
At least 50,000 people have signed up for the system so far, with a small level of turnover, Kaenprakhamroy said.
Tapoly’s insurance partners include Lloyd’s, BIBA and BNP Paribas, among others.
Its technology revolves around APIs, she explained, with some elements of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). There are also platforms that have risk management systems on the front and back end, along with custom CRM tools. Data is also an important part of the process.
“We use a lot of open-source data and our own data,” Kaenprakhamroy said, along with a streamlined process customers rely on to address coverage questions.
Additionally, Kaenprakhamroy noted, the company works on the embedded insurance side, working with platforms to embed on the back end.
Kaenprakhamroy is an accountant by trade, having worked in investment banking for her previous career, often in the internal audit department.
She explained that her previous experience helped familiarize herself with financial regulations as well as information technology.
On-demand insurance has its share of competitors in the marketplace, Kaenprakhamroy acknowledged.
“There are a couple of on-demand unicorns out there. For example, Lemonade was one of the first to hit on that demand,” she noted. “We’ve got Saga now in the UK and a couple of others.”
Tapoly stands out, however, because of its unique approach.
“We are a hybrid model, between the MGA and the technology provider,” she said.
The London, UK-based company has raised a small amount of initial funding and is actively pursuing financing it hopes to nail down within the next six months. Target investors include strategic angels and partners.
As far as Kaenprakhamroy sees it, the company has aimed globally, even from the start.
“We always have seen ourselves as global players, especially [with] our technology solutions that we launch,” she said. “What we build is not [for] a specific region. We build our platform so that it can work with multiple players, in multiple regions and currencies and different languages, so it is already catered for a global expansion.”
The company is also gearing up to launch at least one new product – a reinsurance platform for cannabis products in Thailand that should be ready to go by the end of the month.
“It is basically a documentation management system for reinsurance companies,” Kaenprakhamroy said.
To anyone curious about where the name “Tapoly” comes from, it doesn’t refer to anything specific.
“We did three naming exercises to get to Tapoly,” Kaenprakhamroy said. “I wanted a name that doesn’t mean anything that could be created to mean something, and totally derived from tapping, Tapping is a way of getting insurance rather than writing” (via online application).
Ultimately, she explained, the name works for SEO purchases, allowing it to be “visible online.”