Interview with Alexander Bojer, Co-Founder & CEO of Anivo, about Insurtech.
- 12 years of experience in the insurance industry globally
- Previously worked as a Manager with Accenture and Principal with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
- Certified insurance broker
Re/Insurers and startups: A partnership of love or hate?
Alexandre Bojer speaks about the future of the insurance industry and how startups are bringing innovative solutions.
We started the work on Anivo around November 2014 and I can remember very well our attempts to line up partnerships with insurers back then which was pretty much of a challenge. A lot has changed since then. From my point of view, it has not become easier, but the challenges are different now compared to 2.5 years ago.
End of 2014, the “InsurTech startups” where basically Comparis (which was already 18 years old at that time) and Bonus as comparison sides, amongst 2-3 other health insurance KVG-only comparison websites. And Knip was just about to launch their first version of their mobile e-broker application.
Back then the insurers were not very interested in new ideas of digital distribution, mainly given the channel conflict they saw with their existing tied agents channel. Even though “omnichannel” is a big topic on many PowerPoint presentations, the conflict with the dominating tied agents channel is in my experience still around, especially with the big insurers. And Reinsurers were even less interested given the nature of their business.
Now let’s fast forward to 2017 with a few examples about what happened in the last few months only:
In Switzerland we see Helvetia acquiring Moneypark or Mobiliar acquiring Scout24 – both acquisitions in the triple-digit millions. We see Swiss Re investing and acquiring startups e.g. in the “Internet of Things” space or Allianz who in April 2017 investing big money into US based InsurTech startup “Lemonade” which raised USD 60M in 2016 alone.
Next to acquisitions and equity investments, we also see an increasing amount of partnerships e.g. Baloise with Kasko and Snapsure on cyber insurance and watch insurance.
Also corporate incubating has become popular, looking at Helvetia who announced an 2017 insurance-batch together with Swiss Startup Factory. Or insurers founding their own “speedboats” for example Baloise is launching their online motor insurance proposition “Friday” in Germany in the coming weeks or Helvetia who released a new home/liability product with “Flink”.
As one can clearly see, there is a lot of movement in the insurance industry and I expect this to increase in all dimensions (M&A, partnerships, corporate incubation) as outlined above. In my experience with Anivo, both Reinsurers and Insurers are much more open for collaborations with startups today compared to 2014. But there are also many more startups out there, looking for partnerships and corporate venturing. And Re/Insurers are trying out new things by themselves, despite channel conflicts, IT- and portfolio legacy and internal politics they need to overcome.
I think it is a great opportunity for young companies like Anivo to help shape the future of the insurance industry with innovative solutions – but it is getting more crowded fast. So you better hurry up!
More information about Anivo: Anivo is an online insurance broker with a unique distribution technology, based in Switzerland (Baar, Zurich) and Austria (Dornbirn) focusing on affinity groups e.g. employees or customers of large corporates or SMEs. Anivo partners with a number of health insurer and primary insurer and is serving large Swiss corporations like SBB, UPC etc.