5 years ago, Robin von Hein and Joachim von Bonin started revolutionizing the distribution of insurances and have redefined the industry. Simplesurance has become of the most successful InsurTech startups in Germany.
Robin von Hein was born into the insurance business. His family owns a traditional insurance broker business. During and after his studies in insurance management and business administrations, Robin has spent years gathering varied experience across business insurance, consultancy and liquidity management with German and Swiss companies.
At that time, he was developing risk analysis and insurance solutions for different companies as well as various startups. This inside view of how the insurance industry and startup world worked together already made Robin aware of the inefficient practices that were in need of improvement.
It was there when he realized that the insurance industry was standing still. Concepts were being reused. Digitalization was an alien concept to an entire industry, while other markets were transforming and using the chances provided by the online sphere.
After having worked in that industry for more than 10 years, Robin decided to take on a new challenge. In 2012, he decided to embark on a trip to South Africa. There, he noticed that people could purchase life insurance via SMS. The beauty and simplicity of this fascinated Robin. And he wondered, why purchasing insurances couldn’t be as simple as that. He envisioned a modern world in which insurances were a digital good and attractive to a broader audience, attracting digital natives, tech-affine customers, and those people who hadn’t had touchpoints with insurance yet.
Bringing that speed, efficiency and ease to the European insurance industry became Robin’s goal. He saw potential in the gap between e-commerce and the insurance industry. Selling product insurances at the point of sale had been best practice for many years in the offline retail. In e-commerce, this practice was new. After impressing Rheingau Founders with his vision and bold idea, simplesurance was born. His courage payed off: By 2017, Robin is counted as one of 100 most innovative Germans who drive progress forward, according to Handelsblatt.
A year after founding the company, Joachim von Bonin joined simplesurance. As Co-Founder of simplesurance, he is responsible for Finance, Legal and Compliance as well as Internationalization. He has more than 15 years of experience as Finance Executive and has worked at KPMG as auditor and consultant, and as CEO at the Heineken Group, and at Yoc AG and has gathered experience in Mexico, the US and Germany.
simplesurance operates in three areas: Its first product was the direct-to-consumer business. On dedicated websites in nine European countries the company offers an easy and convenient way to purchase product insurances. The low-friction insurance policies for items as varied as mobile electronics, stationary electronics, bikes, furniture and even travel insurance and pets can be purchased in the company’s own e-shop.
The second area of expertise is the company’s cross-selling technology. Our solution enables cross-selling of product insurances directly at the point of sale in e-commerce. It integrates seamlessly into the checkout process of online shops and offers a one-click experience for consumers. “We insure the product, not the person,” Robin explains – this is how they are able to simplify the process. The e-shop partner benefit highly from that integration, by optimizing their customer service and generating higher margins. simplesurance promises high conversions by continuous tests and optimization.
Furthermore, simplesurance guarantees a fully digital and automated supply chain in both their cross-selling-business and their direct-to-consumer-business, from selling the insurance, to every related step, such as claim management and repair process.
With the last business extension, simplesurance has found a way to extend the customer life time value. The digital broker solution enables consumers to manage their insurance policies digitally via a multi-device app. Users have access to all their insurance contracts and can reach their personal broker via phone, in-app-messaging and e-mail.
Only five years after its founding in 2012, simplesurance now is one of the 30 best funded InsurTech companies in the world. They finished their last funding round with a total increase of capital stock of more than 30 Million Euro. Among Rheingau, other investors are well known companies such Allianz SE, Rakuten Fintech Fund and US-Venture Capital Fund Route 66.
By 2017, more than 150 employees from 30 nations contribute to the success of simplesurance. The company focusses on internationalization, and has expanded into Austria, Poland, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, Great Britain as well as North America via a Joint Venture with Assurant. On top of this, simplesurance is continuously extending its product portfolio and developing innovative products such as Cyber Insurance.
The company’s 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 and refined. A huge range of technical requirements was met by the software to ensure widespread adoption. With a highly-capable team of technology experts and engineers, insurance specialists and ecommerce advisors, assembled through Rheingau’s extensive network, they found their solution: A standard customized plugin and API, making it easy for partners to incorporate simplesurance’s software directly into their selling process.
Disrupting and modernizing an established industry like the world of 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 simplesurance’s offering gave the 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. Lastly, insurances realized the benefits that were created by simplesurance’s cross-selling approach. They started to acquire new customers for a broader range of insurance by offering insurances within a new distribution channel.
As for the role that Rheingau Founders continues to play in simplesurance’s success, Joachim 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 and insurtech companies and investors was invaluable for finding clients, partners and investors not to mention the perfect combination of team members that Rheingau helped bring to the table.
Within five years, Robin and Joachim have changed the way people see and buy insurances. simplesurance belongs to the most successful startups in Germany, being the market leader for cross-selling solutions in the e-commerce market and simple access to insurances.