Robin von Hein was practically born into the insurance business. With his parents coming from insurance backgrounds, Robin had a period of rebellion where he started his banker training after school, but soon he gave it up to follow his fate.
He started studying business insurance administration, and spent years gathering varied experience across business insurance, consultancy and liquidity management, with German and Swiss companies. He found he was working closely with a lot startups, performing risk analysis and developing insurance-based products. This inside view of how the insurance world and startup world fit together already made Robin aware of the inefficient practices in need of improvement.
The idea for Schutzklick came to Robin during a trip to South Africa. He observed passengers on long-distance bus journeys taking out life assurance policies via text message. With an innovative system already in place to process customer details electronically and automatically, this still relatively developing country was miles ahead of the rest of the world, who were still stuck filling out forms for everything insurance-related. Bringing that speed, efficiency and ease to the European insurance industry became Robin’s goal, and after impressing Rheingau Founders with his vision, simplesurance was born.
The key product from simplesurance is Schutzklick, using cross-selling technology positioned strategically at the meeting point between insurance and ecommerce. Schutzklick offers low-friction insurance policies to customers, for items as varied as phones, laptops, bikes, glasses and pets, directly at the point of sale. “We insure the product, not the person,” Robin explains – this is how they are able to simplify the process. With only one click, plus your email address and a product ID, your product is insured. It’s all automated, online and paperless, and not just the sign up process – the whole claim process is, too. No pile of forms in sight.
The response to Schutzklick has been amazing. They finished their last funding round with a total increase of capital stock of US$11.5 million, with two US-based investors joining the reinvestments from the existing associates.
What started three years ago as a team of only a few people has grown to almost 70. Since 2015, simplesurance has been focusing on internationalization, and has expanded into Austria, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, the US and Canada. On top of all of this, simplesurance is beginning to expand their product range.
This kind of progress wasn’t without challenge. simplesurance wanted to do something bold and huge, and the available technology presented an early obstacle. Plug & Play solutions for different shop systems had to be developed, as well as for custom systems. This meant a huge range of technical requirements to be met by the software to ensure widespread adoption. With a highly-capable team of developers and ecommerce experts, assembled through Rheingau’s extensive network, they found their solution: a standard customized plugin and API, making it easy for partners to incorporate Schutzklick’s software directly into their selling process.
Disrupting an industry as established as insurance was of course going to present some friction. At the end of the day, the products have to be insured by insurers, many of whom were reluctant to open a policy without the usual amount of personal details for the customer. But the strength of Schutzklick’s offering gave Robin’s team a strong negotiating position, and by focusing on the product they were able to strike a balance where insurance companies get enough information without requiring too much time or effort from the customer.
After conquering these challenges, Robin is eager to take on the next one. “Of course we have competitors,” he says, “but I think that is very important, and gives us the essential everyday challenge to constantly improve us and our products.”
As for the role that Rheingau Founders continues to play in simplesurance’s success, Robin takes a very realistic view. “It’s stupid to think you know everything, that you can do everything by yourself. Find good people to work with and everything will be a lot easier – good and reliable co-founders that complement you with the skills you don’t have.” Networking and recruitment has been key to their success, he explains. Getting in touch with other founders, startups, fintech companies and investors was invaluable for finding early-stage clients, not to mention the perfect combination of team members that Rheingau helped bring to the table.
“We still have our first employee. He started as an intern,” Robin reminisces. “He’s now responsible for our launch in the US and Canada.”