Tag Archives: Insurance

LFP076 – Convergence: Insuretech/MGAs as an Example of Straddling Old & New FS with Charlie Blackburn CTO Azur

Do you have to be either “a Fintech” or “an incumbent”? Increasingly as #newFS and #oldFS converge this duality becomes less meaningful and its more about how well FS players young and old are embracing both “digital” per se as well as the business model changes it both implies and enables.

Azur is a great example of this trend. As an “MGA” (more on that anon) they fit into a well-established “old” category of the insurance industry. They are a comparatively new company whilst part-owned by a global giant. And they certainly “get” the digital thing in terms of both “tech” and also “business model changes”.

In LFP074 Andy Rear of the reinsurer MunichRe discussed with us their concept of reinsurance as a service. Put simply the ability to, as it were, just plug into the wall for your electricity/reinsurance – which then leaves InsureTechs able to do everything they might want and avoid falling into a regulatory net and needing a gazillion dollars of capital. Andy said that the key to the future were MGAs – Managing General Agents – but we barely skinned the surface on them

So here we are diving into MGAs and in the interests of brevity lets jump into the topics we discuss:  Continue reading

LFP074 – Will Reinsurance as a Service Change InsureTech? Andy Rear, CEO Munich Re:Digital Partners

Can InsureTech change the landscape of insurance as a whole or will it just enhance parts of the value chain? Conventional wisdom says the latter but the appearance of a model called “Reinsurance as a Service” [HT to Daily Fintech] could have far wider repercussions.

Traditionally insurance (in all its very diverse/speciated forms) is in three layers. Brokers. Insurers and Reinsurers. Traditionally you would deal with a broker. They would get the policy from a an insurer (eg Aviva who we had on the show in LFP048). Insurers in turn would re-insure themselves with aptly named – er – Reinsurers.

We’ll talk about how Reinsurance as a Service might change that “stack”.

Andy is the CEO of Digital Partners, Munich Re’s entity for interfacing between it and the Insuretech world. MunichRe is one of the worlds largest reinsurers. To give you an idea of what that means it has around 43k employees, €50bn of revenues and €276bn of assets.

Incumbents across FS are trying all sorts of approaches to the Fintech phenomenon. Judging by results to date Munich Re have found one of the best avenues. In a relatively short time they have established partnerships with a number of InsureTechs, none of them “tangential”, including Bought by Many (stars of LFP027), Blink Innovation, Next Insurance, Simplesurance, Slice, So-sure, Trov, Wrisk.

Topics discussed on the show include:  Continue reading

LFP069 – IFAs, Fintech & Roboadvisers with Dan Kiernan Research Director Intelligent Partnership

IP banner for London Fintech Podcast“Everyone” frets over financial advice in the Fintech Age. Regulators set out to “protect the consumer”, worthy bodies talk no end about the need to protect “people” (never themselves oddly – generally they imply (/mean) folks of lesser education/wealth) and the rest of us are just confused over the labyrinthine rules around tax, savings and investments.

Needless to say a myriad on rules and regulations and the implicit costs of this suprastructure all act together in a Kafkaesque way to produce the opposite result – known as “the advice gap”.

In Fintechland breathless media and PR firms high on sugar, caffeine and other stimulants promise us a golden era of so-called “roboadvice”.

Dan KiernanHow to make sense of all this?

I am delighted to be joined today by Dan Kiernan Research Director at Intelligent Partnership “the UK’s leading provider of research, training and events on Alternative Investments” to cut through all this and to give us insights into why advisers are not recommending eg P2P to their clients when it has outperformed bank deposits for more than a decade.

On the show today we discuss all of the above and: Continue reading

LFP068 – The London Fintech Podcast’s 2016 Highlights and 2017 Awards

Dilbert by Scott Adams - Fintech 2016 turns into Fintech 2017Happy New Year boys and girls 🙂 May 2017 be a great one for you and yours! This is the New Year Special where I look back at my 9 highlights from 2016, dish out 10 immensely prestigious awards  and take a peak at 2017.

So without futher ado lets kick off the awards… Continue reading

LFP061 – InsureTech the 30,000 Feet Guide with Jonathan Howe UK Insurance Lead at PwC

PwC Banner_Orange_JGI am delighted to be joined today by Jonathan Howe UK Insurance lead at Price Waterhouse Coopers. As long time listeners will know I am very reluctant to give anyone a big picture topic on anything. Most folks are experts on one coalface and very few on the whole coal mine.

Jonathan HoweHowever Jonathan is a rara avis in the modern world in many ways. His linkedin career is perhaps the shortest I have read – one entry – 23 years at PwC. Now that’s the lifetime employment model that used to exist back in the day and exists for very few today. That’s also, compared to many butterflies in the modern world, an opportunity to dig a very deep well of experience and knowledge in a sector.

Secondly Jonathan leads the UK insurance practice (over 1,000 employees) and is responsible for PwC’s services for the UK Insurance Industry across all their range including audit, regulatory compliance, actuarial, consulting, tax and deals.

Thirdly PwC have been involved in a series of reports on the sector. Now plenty of reports are out there the more cynical amongst you may say and quality varies. True. However in “InsureTech a force for good”  Jonathan and colleagues have gone more than an extra mile. Amazingly they and their report partners Startupbootcamp have surveyed over 1,300 insurance startups. Wow.

Add that to decades in the industry and we have another of the rarest birds in the real world – someone who really is an expert.

The subtitle of “InsurTech a force for good” is an interesting overview “How InsurTech can reconnect insurers with their customers while simultaneously boosting the bottom line”

I met Jonathan at an event recently. It wasn’t a game of Top Trumps but if it had been Jonathan would have won hands down … when you have a database of 1,300 startups that’s a hell of a lot of facts to bring into any debate.

Topics discussed include – Continue reading

LFP056 – “Everything You Wanted to Know About Fintech Venture Capital But Were Too Afraid To Ask” with Rob Moffat Partner at Balderton Capital

Balderton BannerI am  delighted to welcome Rob Moffat, Partner at Balderton Capital to dive into the topic of Venture Capital and Fintech.  As I aim to present London Fintech in the round I have been – for a long time – keeping my eye open for a friendly VC to have on the show. This has taken two years would you believe!

Viewed from Mars you might think this is curious given how the whole mainstream tech media is so focused on fund-raisings, so-called valuations (and fantasy animals with one horn), and the whole machismo around money.

Viewed not from Mars the VC sector globally is perhaps rather problematic. If this is a surprise to you then I recommend as an entry point Diane Mulcahy’s 2014 Harvard Business Review article Venture Capitalists get well paid to lose money. As a former VC she knows where to direct the fire – high fees, illiquidity and underperformance. As I recall in the greatest tech boom ever, in the US the aggregate stats are something like that the average VC hasn’t even returned to the investors the funds they raised, let alone got a carry cheque (the performance related fee).

Furthermore as we heard way back in LFP008 with Richard Goold the UK/European venture capital market was very thin indeed in most of the 20th Century (post-WW2 the UK basically had the (originally government) 3i as the only player for a long time) and returns were poor.

Set against this virtually every Fintech that scales needs VC money – without which there would be no boom at all.

Equally like in all industries there are always some good players with a reputation for adding value. It was such a lead that led me to Balderton Capital who are one of the real players in the London Fintech scene.

Rob MoffatRob also writes a lot on the industry – I recommend his blog – and is on the board of seven of Balderton’s investments, the best-known of which in UK Fintech are perhaps GoCardless and Nutmeg. Balderton invests around £20m per annum into Fintech.

Above and beyond this Rob is – finally – someone who is happy to talk on air about the reality of VC and Fintech. As he joined the firm in 2009 (from Google) he has experienced the Fintech world from roots through shoots and now into a rather varied garden.

There is more than plenty discussed on the show, key topics include: Continue reading

LFP055 – How Fintech Could Become Far Greater by Re-Forming FS with Professor John Kay

John KayI am delighted to be joined this week by Professor John Kay – one of the UK’s leading economists and outstanding authority on Financial Services to discuss the truly vast potential that still exists for Fintech to disrupt FS. Fintech as we know it now has so far only put its toe into that ocean of possibility.

Maybe Fintech as we know it now is as good as it gets. Or maybe it could be far far more. If the latter it really needs to get stuck into the areas we discuss on the show and in a far more radical way really support society at large and both re-form and reform FS.

John’s CV includes having written for the Financial Times for over 20yrs, being a successful author of at least 9 books, a fellow of St John’s college Oxford for some 46yrs, a visiting Professor at the LSE, being awarded the CBE, has been a director of well over a dozen FS companies, a successful businessman (Google tells me he has an investment in London Fintech Nutmeg), a member of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, establishing the IFS as one of Britain’s leading think tanks,  and in 2012 producing a review for the UK Government on equity markets and long term decision making. Post-Brexit he has been appointed to advise the Scottish Government on European Union issues.

So he knows a thing or two about FS. Not only this but as his website strapline is “accessible and relevant economics” he has the rare ability to take all that knowledge and experience and make it readily assimilable to the layman. Never more so than in his latest book “Other People’s Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People?” (which currently gets 4.4*/5 from 32 reviews on amazon.co.uk).

If you want a taste of the book and an education (I learnt a lot and I know a little about FS myself) I recommend checking out John talking about the book at Google or at the LSE. And then buy the book 🙂

Anyway all this deep background serves for a very deep and vitally important issue.

Fintech would not be where it is today without the FS crisis of 2008. Leading authorities – John, the ex-governor of the Bank of England and the ex head of the FSA – have all written books saying that the fundamental dynamics behind that crisis have not been eliminated and that we will see a similar crisis again. I agree entirely.

In his Google Talk John mentioned that his book was in part educative but also in part so that when the next FS crisis breaks authorities will not be able to say (as they did last time) they had no forewarning and no policy prescriptions to reach for.

This made we wonder whether we couldn’t repurpose and leverage John’s work – inverting it as it were – turning problems into opportunities and showing what Fintech could do to both reform and re-form FS. Continue reading

LFP048 – A Deep-Dive Into Corporate Venturing & Insurance with Ben Luckett MD Aviva Ventures

LFP Aviva bannerWhat is corporate venturing perchance you ask? One definition is an “internal VC arm of a corporate” – although this hides some major differences with VC per se.

Ben LuckettIn London Fintech Podcast episode 48 I am delighted to welcome Ben Luckett MD of Aviva Ventures to dive into corporate venturing.

For the company doing it corporate venturing is a classic route to get exposed to innovation in a marketplace that’s moving faster than a large corporate can easily replicate itself. As an example The Economist wrote in this context about Intel’s venturing which has over 20yrs invested in more than 1,300 companies in 56 countries. Set against that the HBR points out that the median lifetime of a corporate venturing project is one year – so not all of them fly in the sky.

For the startup/scaleup corporate venturing it is a source of growth capital but it can, at best, feel not like a type of venture capital funds (which can come with plenty of winces as I see daily talking to Fintechs) but as a steadier, less profit-orientated perhaps, source of funds.

On the show we discuss all this and more: Continue reading

LFP042 – Bumper Fun-Packed New Years Show On Fintech & Star Wars, Beer, Media, 2015 review & 2016!

source: focusrs.org

source: focusrs.org

This is London Fintech Podcast episode 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything. Well a bit of everything anyway. And I have the pleasure to be joined today by – er – myself.

In the now traditional (um – can doing something twice be a tradition?) first podcast of the year step away from diving into a topic with an esteemed guest and take a more top of the mountain view of the landscape.

As it’s a bumper funpack we will cover a whole range of topics all of which pertain to Fintech.

So we start today’s show with the relevance of Star Wars; move on to beer and deep dive into a topic that applies to Fintech and to the whole of our perception of the world, the media – mainstream and indie.

Next a review of key themes from 2015 UK Fintech and finally we wrap up with some thoughts about the future.

In the next episode I’ll be back to the far easier task of asking folks smarter than I the answer to life the universe and everything or at least what’s going on in their corner of the Fintech phenomenon

Share and enjoy!

Happy New Year to all 🙂

~~~

Links I reference are:

LFP033 – A Deep Dive into Legal Risks in Fintech with Jon Segal Partner at Fox Williams

JOS Fintech podcast

In a world where Fintechs are on a rapid startup-scaleup-mature company growth curve how does legal risk look? In a totally new scene how can we know how well legal structures may, or may not survive events that have never happened?

Jon SegalI am delighted to be able to be joined today to discuss these issues and more by one of the City’s most prominent Fintech lawyers Jon Segal Partner who heads the Fintech practice at City law firm Fox Williams.

“Tech debt” is a well-known phenomenon in the startup/VC world. In essence you start your business with a spreadsheet, then need to upgrade to an access database, then SQL etc etc. The main point being that unless you are careful you are always in tech-catch-up mode.

In a recent article for AltFi I extended the concept to “Risk Debt” … you do what you have to do but in the exponential growth phase from startup to scaleup to mature company you are once again always playing catch-up.

One of the categories of Risk Debt that is so important it deserves a show in its own right is Legal Debt. Once again you start with some simple dos you downloaded from the net and carry on. Once again you are playing catch-up. Once again you are playing with fire hoping that you don’t fall through the tech/risk/legal holes.

An additional important angle is that in a new sector (a rarity in itself) one never knows how good a legal structure or document is until it is tested in court. Before then its just a bunch of words and some fees.

So for example Continue reading