Simplesurance founder and CEO Robin von Hein sat down last year with Insurance Journal’s sister publication, Carrier Management, to discuss the company’s strategy.
Based on the edge of Berlin’s trendy Mitte district in bright, open offices, Simplesurance is yet another insurtech startup seeking to transform insurance. It is also eyeing the U.S. for future expansion.
Simplesurance began in 2012, employs more than 150 people, and its cross-selling software operates across Europe. E-commerce partners can sell insurance products by adding the option to purchase insurance for a device with just one click on the platform’s shopping basket. As well, Simplesurance now offers an insurance broker app in Germany.
The firm has drawn the attention of venture investors and insurers alike. Allianz SE is a major backer.
Simplesurance will cover mostly mobile electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and digital cameras, as well as stationary electronic devices like televisions, stereos and computers. In some countries, the company also offers bicycle, tool and pet insurance, and even warranty extensions for household appliances. When buying from a Simplesurance e-commerce partner, customers can buy insurance right at the time they purchase the device. When working through Simplesurance’s own websites, customers can buy insurance at a later time.
Beyond technology innovation, founder and CEO Robin von Hein, a tall, elegant 34-year-old dressed in office casual, with designer stubble and short beard, is also trying to innovate how he handles his employees.
One program,”Robin4You,” is an initiative the company launched to bring the CEO closer to the daily work of each company department. This involves him meeting with two employees per month, each for a two-hour sit-down to help them with their work and gain better understanding of the challenges they are facing. The company touts the program as something that gives the CEO insights for strategic decisions and, in turn, shows employees how valuable they are for the success of the company.
Carrier Management (CM) Editor Mark Hollmer submitted a series of questions to von Hein about Simplesurance. These are his edited responses. (Editor’s note: The article was originally published in October 2017).
CM: What is Simplesurance, and what part of property insurance do you focus on?
Von Hein: Simplesurance is your platform for simple access to insurance. We developed a cross-selling software solution that enables our partners in e-commerce to offer their customers [coverage plans and suites] directly at the digital point of sale with just one click. In this way, we create additional distribution channels for insurance companies.
We cooperate with traditional insurers such as Allianz, Munich Re, Assurant and others who are the risk takers of the policies, while we work along the entire supply chain, from selling insurance via our e-commerce partners to generating insurance-relevant data and handling claim processes and repair management for the customer. All these services are fully automated and digital. We have used our data to extend the customer’s lifetime value and offer our customers a digital insurance manager in an app.
CM: How is your business now, and in what countries do you operate?
Von Hein: Simplesurance has been growing steadily since its founding in 2012. The cross-selling software of Simplesurance is integrated into more than 2,000 e-commerce platforms in 30 European countries. Partners are renowned national e-commerce shops as well as global players, like two of the biggest smartphone manufacturers, Huawei and OnePlus, as well as Microsoft.
Moreover, Simplesurance operates its own flagship online stores in nine European countries. Just recently, in April 2017, despite the Brexit movement, Simplesurance entered the British market.
In November 2016, we also extended our core business and service to customers by launching our broker business in Germany. We cooperate with more than 250 insurance companies to provide our customers with a digital insurance manager, which allows them to upload and digitize all existing insurance policies in the app as well as compare and purchase new policies. Via in-app messaging, call or email, customers can reach their personal insurance broker.
We’re based in Berlin, the melting pot of young business and technological expertise. More than 150 employees from 30 nations work together to change the way customers see and buy insurance products in the digital age.
A recent funding in March 2017 showed the emerging relevance of Simplesurance. With more than 30 million euro ($25.5 million), Simplesurance belongs to the 15 best-funded insurtech companies in the world. Allianz SE, Route 66, Rheingau Founders and Rakuten Fintech Fund have invested in Simplesurance. The international investors also reflect our globally strong position.
CM: Who are your competitors?
Von Hein: Offline cross-selling has been a standard business strategy for many years, but developing a technology that works with every electronic/digital shop system has been challenging for us and completely new to the market. Since the launch of our broker business, our competitors are other digital insurance applications.
But we have a significant benefit compared to other brokers. We offer our application to our existing customer base from our cross-selling. By targeting the customer in the e-commerce, we have no customer acquisition cost as we don’t need to use advertising channels, such as Google Adwords, for example. Thus, we can reach our customers at no additional costs.
CM: Do you have plans to expand to the United States? If so, when?
Von Hein: We are continuously working on our internationalization. Expanding to the U.S. is one of our goals for the next year. Since 2015, we [have been] operating in the United States through a SaaS (Software as a Service) contract with Assurant, [which] uses our technology to sell product insurance.
CM: Where do you hope to be in five years in terms of size, growth and mission?
Von Hein: Simplesurance is steadily growing and looking into new markets. The United States with Assurant as well as Asia with Rakuten are interesting markets for us to enter and to launch our products. We also develop new products with our insurance partners and are always looking for new niches. In five years, we will hopefully be able to cover the majority of the e-commerce with our cross-selling solution. Our mission is to become the world’s leading provider for product insurances.
A version of this article was originally published in Wells Media Group’s Carrier Management, the magazine for property/casualty insurance carrier executives. The article was published on Oct. 3, 2017.
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