We had the privilege to have a short interview with Getsafe’s co-founder and CEO Christian Wiens on how they started, grow outside the shade of tech hubs and what they’re up to now.
We see young faces on your website, can you please tell us more about GetSafe, how did you guys start?
Getsafe became what it is today due to a lucky coincidence: Our CTO Marius Blaesing searched via Facebook for similarly ambitious founders with whom he could exchange ideas. Marius hosted a get-together in Heidelberg and only me, was the only one who attended the meeting. At that time, I already had start-up experience and had the idea to digitize the insurance world.
We first started with Germany’s first digital insurance manager on the market. But as we still relied on slow, paper-based processes from traditional insurers, we decided to provide insurances on our own. Since 2017, customers have been able to buy and manage their Getsafe insurance in real-time and paperlessly via an app.
You are one of the insurtech companies that emerged outside the traditional tech hubs in Europe. What are your experiences here? What has surprised you? What could others learn from that?
Heidelberg is indeed an atypical location for tech startups. There are fewer investors here, and at the same time there are large competitors from the tech industry.
Also, it is more difficult to hire creative people like designers. But Heidelberg also has many advantages: It is internationally well known – much better known than most major German cities. It is one of Europe’s leading science locations with many bright minds and Germany’s best universities for engineers, scientists and business economists close by. Last but not least, the region is home to a lot of publicly traded companies and accommodates the headquarters of SAP, Europe’s largest IT company.
You are successfully targeting a younger customer group – the millennials and Gen Zs. What are your learnings about them? Are the clichés right or wrong?
We don’t think in terms of clichés or demographic cohorts. But we definitely observe a trend towards digital, mobile solutions. Remember the last flight or train ticket you booked? Most likely, you didn’t go to a travel agency or the counter at the station, but rather booked online or with an app.
With insurances, we are just beginning to see a digital transformation here. And we are convinced that young people don’t trust the traditional insurance industry as we still see it today. At Getsafe, we develop insurance products that are easy to understand and easy to use and that fit our new lifestyle in which information can be accessed instantly with just a few clicks.
What do you think about the tech giants entering the insurance and finance industries?
That is a very interesting development that we naturally observe very closely. Mostly, it’s still rumors. But given the market presence and the technological know how of tech giants such as Google, Amazon, or Facebook, they have a high potential to disrupt the business.
However in contrast to other goods, insurances are quite complex and underlie heavy regulations that differ from country to country. So we are confident that we will profit from our advanced knowledge and experience.
What are the current digital transformation trends you see? Which use cases have excited you over the last 12 months?
Automation and AI will also affect the insurance industry. Digital helpers such as chatbots will improve user experience and allow for more efficient processes. Getsafe is already at the forefront with its technological approach. Our declared aim is to settle claims fully automatically so that only a few seconds elapse from the initial filing to the payout. Also, we want to explore how we can use automatic validation and smart algorithms to detect fraud.
How would you inspire young startup companies to the opportunities being offered outside Global Tech Hubs?
Tech Hubs offer good networking opportunities and make it easier for startups to share facilities and ideas. They also facilitate funding by working together with investors. However, we are a living example that startups can also prosper without this infrastructure, because there are other things to take into consideration. To give an example: It might be much easier to find talented employees in big tech hubs, but often, these employees don’t stay for very long. And when they leave, they also take their knowledge with them to the next thriving startup.
How would you incorporate “legal insurance” into the rise of insurtech and fintech? And also, how would you convince traditional insurance buyers?
We have a clear target group in mind: digital natives that are just starting their professional career. Of course there are many arguments why traditional insurance buyers should come to us: We offer better and faster service, transparent products, more flexibility and above all, our products are user-friendly. But people who don’t feel comfortable with using an app or rather talk to an insurance broker are often better off with traditional insurers.
Any message to those young people who would like to start their career today?
Just start and don’t lose precious time pondering your great ideas. Put them into action.
Expressing our thanks to Christian who personally accommodated us, for his valuable time, for sharing great insights and stories even from a short notice.
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