InsTech London partner Robin Merttens talks to Christian Wiens, Founder and CEO of Getsafe, about how to reach the smartphone generation with insurance products and the uses of artificial intelligence.
Robin: What’s your role and what does it involve?
Christian: I’m a mechanical engineer by training and as the CEO and founder of Getsafe have multiple responsibilities. I try to be a good captain, who listens to both customers and employees.
Robin: What is the history of your company/motivation for founding it?
Christian: Getsafe was founded in 2015 out of a need to make insurance easier for the next generation of insurance buyers. In the next ten years, the generation known as millennials will purchase about one billion insurance policies in Europe alone. We see a lot of potential here.
Young customers in particular are sceptical about insurance. These digital natives have no interest in complicated paperwork or long conversations with brokers and agents. Technology enables us to offer them a new, simple, and transparent insurance experience on their smartphones – one that is easy and fun.
Robin: What business problem are you solving?
Christian: We are on a mission to reinvent how people do insurance. We help people identify, organize and protect what they care most about in life with a completely new, delightful insurance experience on the smartphone.
Robin: Isn’t that what Lemonade is doing?
Christian: There are some similarities. As we are both trying to reinvent the way we do insurance by optimising what can be done with technology and data it is inevitable that people will draw comparisons between us.
Seeing companies pursue similar approaches on different continents, in this case US vs. Europe, is a confirmation of the opportunity and the business model.
Robin: What products do you offer?
Christian: In the UK, we offer comprehensive contents insurance with add-ons including legal, home emergency & tenants liability. We want to expand further in the home and mobility segment. In Germany, we currently offer insurance in the home (contents and legal), mobility (car & bike) and health (dental) segment.
Robin: What people do you sell to and who uses you in your customers?
Christian: We make insurance for digital natives. Often, most of our customers are in their mid to late twenties, so we sometimes refer to this group as ‘generation smartphone’ or ‘millennials’ – people who are currently between the ages of 20 and 35. However, the demand for digital solutions is more significant than age.
Robin: How do these products fit into the customers’ life?
Christian: We don’t think in terms of clichés or demographic cohorts. But we definitely observe a trend towards digital, mobile solutions. Remember the last flight or train ticket you booked? Most likely, you didn’t go to a travel agency or the counter at the station, but rather booked online or with an app.
With insurance, we are just beginning to see a digital transformation. And we are convinced that young people don’t trust the traditional insurance industry as we still see it today.
At Getsafe, we develop insurance products that are easy to understand and easy to use and that fit our new lifestyle, in which information can be accessed instantly and transactions happen in real-time with just a few clicks.
Robin: What are the most interesting areas of innovation you are working on?
Christian: Getsafe offers an easy-to-use, flexible, and fully digital insurance experience for the smartphone generation. Automation and AI help us to improve user experience and allow for more efficient processes.
Robin: What is your approach to working with partners?
Christian: We engage with partners who share the same values we do: Delighting customers with a fully digital experience, offering flexible solutions and focusing on an excellent customer experience.
Robin: Which partners are you working with that you can name?
Christian: We strive to be the leading D2C insurance company for first time insurance buyers.
Robin: Where are the biggest areas of opportunity for you?
Christian: In the UK, our second market to date, we are pleased to see that – despite the difficult situation – our business is already growing twice as fast as it did in Germany when we launched.
Over the next ten years, people in the 20-35 age group will purchase 1 billion insurance policies at a total value of more than 300 billion euros. That’s why our goal is to capitalise on this opportunity.
With a market share of almost 10 percent, we are the best-selling insurance brand among millenials in Germany already. We are proud of this, but we are only getting started.
Robin: What new areas are you expanding into?
Christian: In terms of geography, we are operating in Germany and the UK. But of course we’re looking beyond that. In terms of our product roadmap, we follow a holistic approach. Generally, our customers buy their first-ever insurance from us, so we grow with them.
We are focussing on property insurance policies at the moment, but are planning on expanding to life and health insurance in the future. As of today, more than a third of our customers have bought multiple products from us. That’s what we are about as well, being able to cover all areas in life and becoming the one and only insurance solution for our customers in all circumstances.
Robin: What emerging technology do you find most interesting?
Christian: Self-learning artificial intelligence is at the top of the list. We predict artificial intelligence will fundamentally change four areas in particular.
Firstly, it will accelerate numerous insurance processes such as the conclusion of policies or the settlement of claims. This will make insurance products more flexible and customer-friendly.
Secondly, artificial intelligence will enable insurance fraud to be detected far quicker and risks to be assessed more accurately. As a result, insurance companies will be able to refine their customers' risk profiles and reduce their loss ratios. "Good", trustworthy customers could then benefit from lower premiums and very fast service.
Third, AI can be used to create personalized products. If the insurer can better assess the customer's needs based on historical or behavioural data, it is in a position to put together tailor-made insurance packages.
And last but not least, AI, in combination with sensors and intelligent devices, helps with damage prevention. In manufacturing, machines can already be repaired before expensive downtime occurs in production. Similar concepts are also conceivable in the home, in the car or indeed healthcare.
Robin: Why did your company join InsTech London?
Christian: When we launch in a market we want to engage with the customers, partners and capacity providers there. InsTech London allows us to get quick access to experts and business partners that can support us in our mission to deliver our customers an ever better service.
Robin: How might the InsTech London community help you with your mission?
Christian: We would love to connect with insurtech peers, innovative service providers and capacity providers for standard and non-standard (e.g. cyber insurance) insurance products.
For more information on Getsafe, go to hellogetsafe.com