“We’re not a bunch of #startup dudes saying we’re disrupting insurance… we’re not a bunch of arrogant pricks,” FinanceFox co-founder and CEO Julian Teicke told me during a call late last week. The company, which is announcing $28 million in Series A funding today, is one of a number of European ‘insurtech’ startups who are attempting to bring insurance into the digital age.
But, unlike others, such as Clark and Knip, Teicke says FinanceFox is as much a platform for existing insurance brokers as it is an app to bypass them altogether. That’s because brokers can transition their customer base onto the app, as well as use it to spot holes in and sell additional coverage.
And by fully digitising their core processes, brokers are able to provide a much more efficient and up-to-date way of communicating with customers, helping to retain them along the way.
“We’re working together with industry experts who have experience,” says the FinanceFox CEO, adding that his father is a 30-year veteran of the insurance industry. The startup’s boss in Switzerland is Michael John, who is also the president of the national brokers association.
This, says Teicke, brings an immediate level of trust, not least amongst insurance brokers with whom FinanceFox partners and who might otherwise see insurance startups as a threat.
“I call the brokerage industry the broken brokerage industry,” he says, arguing that brokers who adopt platforms like FinanceFox will survive and those that don’t will be out-innovated by tech players. “They’re losing customers to digital players… they have high administrative costs, they have a lack of technology and efficiency in their processes, and they have no way of communicating with customers in a really innovative way. They are in a situation where they need to act”.
Price comparison sites, which remove the broker altogether, were the first to eat into the broken broker market, but a knock on effect is that a customer’s insurances are more fragmented than ever, making it a nightmare to track all of your coverage and deal with multiple insurance providers. In turn, this is seeing a new breed of mobile-first insurance apps offering to consolidate and help you manage your entire insurance cover.
To that end, FinanceFox lets you store of all of your insurance policies in a single app, through which you can also file and manage insurance claims. It does this by essentially making FinanceFox your legal representative, able to deal with existing (and future) insurance companies on your behalf.
During the on-boarding process, FinanceFox will contact each of your insurances in order to digitise your current policies, from which it can monitor coverage and suggest better, cheaper or more appropriate insurance. “FinanceFox eliminates all pain-points,” is how Teicke put it to me back in July. This, crucially, includes when it’s time to actually file a claim.
Notably, the service is free of charge for the customer, with the startup and its partner brokers making money via a “service component” paid by insurance companies in return for FinanceFox handling most of the admin and support side of insurance.
As I’ve previously noted, the business model has been around for almost as long as insurance brokerage has existed, but it’s also one that incentivises insurtech startups like FinanceFox to digitise as much of the insurance process as possible and drag insurance companies and brokers along with it. “We want to be an agent of change for the whole insurance industry,” says Teicke.
Meanwhile, I’m told that Target Global, and Horizons Ventures have led FinanceFox’s Series A. Existing investors Salesforce Ventures, Idinvest, Speedinvest, Seedcamp, AngelList, Victory Park Capital, and Samuel Skoblu also remain on board. FinanceFox is based in Zurich, Vienna, Berlin and Barcelona with over 80 employees, and plans to expand to Austria next.