Insurtech Getsafe’s European expansion halted by coronavirus
Getsafe, which enables customers to take out insurance at any time using their smartphone and uses machine learning, had been planning to launch in France next. Patrick Brusnahan investigates
Germany-based Getsafe has delayed its expansion into more European markets due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The insurtech had planned to venture into several markets on the continent following its success in its native country, but the situation caused by Covid-19 and the associated lockdown measures have forced it to reconsider.
Marketing itself as a digital-first insurer, the start-up currently offers home contents coverage in Germany and the UK, with several additional protection products sold in its home nation.
Speaking to NS Insurance, Getsafe CEO Christian Wiens said: “We wanted to be ready to go live in Austria around this time, but Austria has been a hotspot for the virus in some areas, so we postponed that.
“We were looking at France also as the next country, but it will all be postponed to 2021.
“It was planned towards the end of the year, but I think this virus and the whole situation has delayed these processes at least a little bit.”
What is Getsafe? The story so far
The insurtech expanded into the UK in January 2020, bringing with it plans to “rethink” insurance using technology like machine learning.
Customers can take out insurance from their smartphone and change their details at any time.
It also has a chatbot named Carla, which is available 24 hours a day to answer questions and report claims.
On its place in the UK market, Wiens said: “We are growing faster in the UK than we did in Germany two and a half years ago.
“We just surpassed 1,500 customers. The book is still really small, but the traction is really good.”
Coronavirus impact hasn’t been all negative for Getsafe
While many companies and industries have been affected negatively by the Covid-19 pandemic, Getsafe has witnessed an unexpected boost from coronavirus.
As a digital-first player, it suits the large swathes of the population now under lockdown.
Reflecting on how the business impact, Wiens claimed it isn’t “keeping or holding us back”.
“It’s rather a booster, because people in the UK are staying at home more than they did before,” he added.
“The demand for protection products and services is increasing and the supply from traditional agents and brokers that purely work offline has decreased because they can’t operate as they did before.
“This kind of effect is currently accelerating our growth – it’s not a big explosion, to be honest, But it’s good traction.
“We sold over 10,000 policies in a month [March], which is our all-time record.”
“Insurance is still very paper-based. All processes actually go through human hands in insurance.
“All this stuff is fully digital on our side. The problem is that incumbents are just not prepared.”