Digithy Talks: Running a Digital Insurance Provider
Updated: 6 days ago
For our second episode of Digithy Talks we had a chat with Rob, co-founder of Feather Insurance, a boot-strapped insurance business geared towards providing insurance to expats in Germany. The service first started with the goal to provide insurance for everyone. Realizing that marketing to everyone would be a tough task they decided to opt for a niche: providing insurance for expatriates.
The reason behind this particular niche actually stems back to when French co-founder, Vincent, was struggling to navigate the insurance system when he first came to Germany. The company first began 3 years ago with both Rob and Vincent working together to help facilitate insurance. Rob’s experience involved insurance mathematics, consulting for insurance companies and how their IT systems work. Vincent acts as a full-stack developer with a focus on making financial operations easier for users. He also has had previous experience in creating IOS financial applications. With Feather Insurance they decided to address the gap in the market regarding insurance services.
Was entrepreneurship all you expected it to be?
Rob shares that he knew in some way that he would be a co-founder, but he didn’t expect things to take as long as they would. Though it should be said that the process paid off for them in spite of the time it took to manage. Rob made a point to mention that being an entrepreneur is not just about ‘the cool product” that you build, there is still everything else you need to manage around that product. There is a lot that comes with running a business, from payroll to finances, to partnerships and how they work. It’s likely that these are things you won’t know when you start out but with time you will get better at them.
What’s one thing you could eliminate from the process of making running your business easier?
We asked Rob if there was one aspect of running Feather Insurance that could do with becoming smoother. Naturally, because the service they provide is in the insurance sphere much of it is heavily regulated. Although, there are some regulations that were put in place in the “paper world” they do not make sense in the digital world. He mentioned that if regulations could be eased to facilitate users on the digital side, things would run a lot smoother. Though Rob acknowledges that’s why what Feather Insurance does makes a difference.
“Every time you make something easier, you make the process for the customer better.”
Solving the problem and addressing market gaps
A big part of selling insurance to people means that they have to be informed on what is covered and what cannot be covered. When filing for insurance, a customer is tasked with the problem of having to read the terms and conditions while also wanting to sign up in the quickest way possible. Rob points out that in a traditional setting, an insurance company’s sales and claims departments rarely coordinate, which leads to miscommunication and customers not getting the product they initially wanted. By providing pop-ups and relevant blog posts on their platform they ensure users get all the relevant information before signing up. He highlights that trust and communication are an essential part of insurance.
How did the pandemic affect your business?
The pandemic hit all businesses differently, we wanted to know how the COVID-19 pandemic affected Feather Insurance. As expected, there was a downturn in the number of new customers and it actually took around three months to recover. Since then they have launched several new products and have actually tripled their peak revenue from even before the pandemic. Rob even added that for businesses that have had to ride the wave of the pandemic that he found smaller businesses to be more flexible and to have more opportunities when it came to weathering the losses in 2020. What Rob remarks as being a help was their ability to manage finances taking their time with the hiring process, which helped them have savings as a buffer to weather any losses.
For future entrepreneurs, how would you advise them to help them forecast problems?
Since a portion of Digithy Talks is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs we wanted to know if there was a way to truly forecast a problem so that it does not adversely affect your business too much. Rob divided his answer into two parts, firstly he suggested taking action and “do stuff” instead of talking about them. To launch the product you have in mind is much better than theorizing over the possible implications that could occur. The other part of his answer was to ask yourself if what you are providing is going to generate value for your customer, because if it is not generating value then they are not going to pay for your product.
Rob also mentioned that expertise is really important, and building relevant expertise is essential for a boot-strapped business, and we could not agree more! It is vital for an entrepreneur to know everything about their business if they want to build up their product themselves.
If you are an expatriate based in Germany and are struggling to navigate insurance policies and paperwork, you can connect with Feather Insurance for a simpler and more transparent process.