Supercede, formally known as Riskbook, is an all-in-one reinsurance collaboration platform, designed to improve the placement experience for cedents, brokers and underwriters. Co-founders Jerad Leigh and Ben Rose spoke to InsTech London Partner Robin Merttens about the new name and the evolution of the platform.
Robin: We’re here to talk about a new name for Riskbook, but for those that don’t know you, can you start with some background on the company?
Jerad: Ben and I met when we were both doing reinsurance strategy at Aon Inpoint. Ben had just come over from Lloyd’s of London, where he’d won an innovation competition for an idea he called Riskbook.
It was an online platform, a Rightmove for reinsurance, and we started talking more and more about what it might look like and how reinsurance could connect and trade more efficiently. As the idea came to fruition, we went out and found a third founder to help us build a technical stack and launched the company in 2019.
Robin: Having spent the last few years establishing the Riskbook brand, the name is no more. What’s the story?
Jerad: It’s a combination of a few things. When we started the business, we were very much about hyper-connectivity; allowing brokers and underwriters around the world to find each other more efficiently, and to trade with bigger, more connected networks.
As we evolve, we're leaning more into our analytical capabilities, so we needed a brand that pulled that out and reflected that. Going forward, we will be known as Supercede.
Robin: You're also making some changes to your charging model. Are those two things related?
Ben: They are, and this is exciting for us. We're aligning the name change not just with the brand evolution, but also with expanding our proposition as well. Previously, we've been focused on brokers and reinsurers and now it's time to bring the cedent into the mix. We found that many cedents struggle to produce clean outwards information efficiently and that this was frequently the source of a lot of data issues for brokers and underwriters further down the chain.
There's never really been any software built to help the cedent get good data ready for the reinsurance process. We've found an opportunity to create a premium proposition here, which is proving a real hit with cedents and brokers, and that progress enables us to put the placing side of things on the market for free.
Historically, getting adoption of placement platforms has been hard, because everyone would have to pay to be on them before deals could start getting placed. We're using this as an opportunity to blow that barrier out of the water and make it incredibly easy to adopt the new Supercede placing platform and network.
Robin: Is the plan to use that model to get as many people involved to create some momentum?
Jerad: It’s centred around leveraging the network effects of the industry. If everyone is in the same place, everyone benefits, but getting them there is a big leap. With this model, our placements and network are free so that every broker using our platform can invite their underwriters, and underwriters and brokers can invite their colleagues. There's no cost associated for any of those parties.
That's the core placements and network piece, and we also have the analytics offering, which takes more of a SaaS model. We're using more of a traditional sales approach for that, which allows us to lean into the network effects of those two big areas of our business.
Robin: In terms of scaling, are you staying with reinsurance? Some people choose to move into the complex specialty space. Is that an option?
Jerad: Our focus remains heavily on reinsurance. There are some interesting adjacencies, for example, we’re getting a fair bit of interest from captive businesses who need help finding reinsurance capacity, but we remain dedicated to providing a complete solution for the treaty, fac and retro space before we do anything else.
Robin: What were your thoughts on Blueprint Two?
Ben: I thought it was a brilliant step forward. Having been quite close to Lloyd's since the beginning, it’s exciting to see how its approach to innovation has expanded in terms of the breadth of their considerations. When I was there, we were playing with different models, “Tinder for Risk”, “eBay for Risk”, but it was always thinking internally. How could we use the internet to connect everyone who worked within a square-mile radius?
As we realised with Riskbook, there’s a much bigger picture at stake when it comes to connecting people who aren’t in the Square Mile, with the Lloyd’s marketplace. We need to give customers and brokers the choice, wherever they are in the world. They can still pick Lloyd’s, but they don't need to be accessing it via the Lloyd's infrastructure.
Robin: What they’ve done at the placement end is to encourage private enterprise to come in and solve their problems for them. You must see that as a big opportunity?
Ben: Definitely. We've talked in the past about brokers being a big blocker for the adoption of platforms, but the idea that a global reinsurance broker would have to split up panels between underwriters that exist in the PPL world, and those that don't, would have been an administrative nightmare.
The fact that reinsurance brokers had already made clear that they needed to place deals beyond just London helped us to build a Lloyd’s-recognised global platform, rather than a Lloyd’s-only local platform, from day one.
Robin: This idea of a free platform for everyone to use is going to need money. Are you looking at raising more funds?
Jerad: We've been very fortunate with our investors. We've raised £2.5m so far and our investors are thrilled with our momentum and progress. We're investing in our team and our technology stack as we speak and we're in a good spot right now, but we'll probably be looking to raise our Series A this summer.
Robin: What did you think of the InsTech London E-Trading Platforms report? There's a strong alignment between your observations and some of ours.
Ben: We thought it was excellent. I’ve put it out on LinkedIn as essential reading and something that’s been missing for a while in our space. There are a lot of reports talking about innovation from a much broader angle, but this placing platform issue is a really specific and important pain point for our industry to solve. The full picture of the history, along with the analysis of why efforts have failed in the past, helps sum up why Riskbook – now Supercede – exists.
One thing that you brought out well in your report was the customer perspective. To date, the placement question has largely been about sorting broker and reinsurer relationships, forgetting about the end client. I'm excited as we get into this next chapter, as Supercede, to be able to focus on the reinsurance industry’s clients – the cedents – who have historically been left to fight for themselves. Putting the customer first might actually be the thing that helps the industry solve the transition to digital.
Robin: What kind of people in our network, or around our community would you want to connect with?
Jerad: Right now we have a huge focus on meeting cedents and their outwards reinsurance teams. The number of firms we've spoken to who have this unbelievable pain point around data preparation in advance of renewal season is astounding. We hear stories of submission preparation taking several months, and think that with Supercede, they could get that down to a couple of days.
Of course, we want to stay in touch and connect with reinsurance brokers and underwriters too, especially as they begin to take advantage of our free placements. With the launch of our new proposition, though, we’re keen to catch up our engagement on the cedent side of things and help as many outwards teams as possible to overcome their pain points at the outset of the reinsurance process.
For more information on Supercede, go to supercede.com