Scouting Insurtech: +Simple Insurance "There is no such thing as The Customer..."


Eric Mignot of +Simple

With our new interview series "Scouting Insurtech" where we will present insurtech start-ups from different industries ecosystems.

 

Our goal: to learn more straight from the movers and shakers about their use cases, lessons learned and secret sauce of success.

 


Insurtechs are well-known for their customer centric thinking and approach when it comes to insurance digital products and customer services. We are excited to share the interview with the President and Founder Eric Mignot.

 

Learn how by not recognizing "The Customers" revolutionized their success in the insurance industry - actually they won more customers.

If a 10-year-old kid asked you "What are you offering with +Simple?", How would you respond?

 

+Simple has created the first Robo-broker for professionals. That means that if you are a hairdresser, you connect on +Simple, you put the name of your company, we ask less than 10 questions and you get a bespoke solution to cover all of your risks. You sign online, you pay online and you are immediately insured. In case of a claim, +Simple takes care of it.

Please share the visions of your company and how do you see them next 5-10 years? What is role do you aim to take on in the insurance industry of the future?

 

Our goal is to bring - through technology - customer centricity to the professional insurance world and become the preferred partner of all the players who have access to those professionals. Our dream is that professional clients ask themselves in 5 to 10 years: how was it to buy insurance before +Simple ;-)

Can you share your most compelling use cases and developments of your company over the last 12 months?

 

Our entrepreneurial risk was to invest in technology and an eCommerce user interface (our Robo-broker) that was both addressing a poor client experience and solving an issue with the economics of distribution for small professionals. We decided to share that technology with corporate players who can give us access to this very fragmented market of sole traders and professionals. 

 

Our big win in the past months was to convince the French Postal Bank (11M clients) to partner with us to address their professional clients needs, starting with health insurance.

What kind of partners and customers are you looking for?  

 

+Simple is currently operating 13 different platforms with brokers, bankers, insurers, mutuals, professional associations, platforms, … We are at our best with professional clients with 0 to 10 employees. We are happy to discuss with all potential partners in Continental Europe who have access to those clients and want to enhance their user experience with insurance either from a UX or an economic standpoint.

How do you see the role of the customer and how do you react to it?

 

We firmly believe that there is no such thing as "The Customer". We have created a team and a methodology at the core of our organization which goal is to understand what hairdressers, plumbers, florists, … have in their minds, what keeps them awake at night and what are the solutions that we can build to address their needs. This is truly a revolution for the insurance industry that reminds me what was happening with the computer industry 15 years ago: when you wanted to buy a computer you would go the computer shop and there the expert would ask you what do you need. You would answer “I need to do office work and accounting” and the expert would look at you and tell you “you did not get my question: I meant what is the size of the memory and the speed of the processor that you need” … and at some point, Apple came truly focusing on your need with very simple solutions. 

 

Well, this is exactly what is happening with the insurance industry: my hairdressers have a need for peace of mind at a fair price and he is asked to know whether he should buy general liability or professional liability and for which limit…

How do you see the future of the insurance agent and broker?

 

I was lucky enough to live the revolution with the retail banking industry. When I launched the digital banking offer with Boursorama, 90% of the experts in the market were predicting a big failure. Customers were so happy with the relationship with their bankers in their branches that digital banking would never fly. 

 

We know that things have changed since then. I think that brokers and agents are currently at a crossroad and that they are facing only 2 types of Insurtechs: some, as +Simple, have decided to collaborate and share their technology. If brokers and agents embrace this opportunity they will be able to forget about administrative tasks and focus on value added relationships with their clients. On the other hand, some others have decided to “disrupt” the market and do their best efforts to replace traditional distributors. 

 

The war has started and we will know the winner in 7 to 10 years.

On your own confidence, you think we as an industry have a chance with tech giants Amazon, Google, Apple entering the insurance industry - how and why?

 

I believe that the tech giants from the US and from China pertain to the “disruptor” category and that they may well be the winner at the end of the game. 

 

The insurance industry suffers from 3 types of inertia: technology (the % of IT budget dedicated to true innovation is nowhere compared to the R&D capacity of the tech giants), social (how to enable tens of thousands of employees to radically change the way they work and build new types of relationships with their customers?) and cultural (how many leaders from the insurance industry see their companies as tech companies today?).

 

But war is not over and by partnering with innovators and fully embracing technology I believe that the insurance industry can reinvent itself.

Please share your 3 do's and don'ts in building a new company.

 

Do's: 

  1. The Stuntman Approach: embrace the risks that you are taking after carefully preparing yourself.
  2. Reinvent Yourself: what brought you here won’t get you there (cf Marshall Goldsmith’s book)
  3. Be Humble: build a strong team with people better than yourself

 

Don'ts: 

  1. Be Impatient: building a strong business always takes time
  2. Be Arrogant: the strength of your vision must build desire
  3. Cash is King: Do not forget about making money

What piece of advice can you share young people and startups who want to enter the fast-spinning world of Insurtech and Fintech?

 

My pieces of advice for a newcomer in the Insurtech space would be:

  • Be very clear about what your entrepreneurial risk is and what you are bringing to the market.
  • Have or build strong connections in the market with people who deeply understand how the market works.
  • Be very careful about acquisition costs.

Please your top 3 books everyone today needs to read and top 3 tech gadgets one needs to have?

 

Books: 

  1. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (available in Germany, in the US, in the UK, in France, in Italy and in Spain)
  2. The Innovator’s Dilemma (available in Germany, in the US, in the UK, in France, in Italy and in Spain)
  3. Zero Marginal Cost Society (available in Germany, in the US, in the UK, in France, in Italy and in Spain)

 

Gadgets:

  1. Jabra Conference Call (available in Germany, in the US, in the UK, in France, in Italy and in Spain)
  2. Portable Video Projector (available in Germany, in the US, in the UK, in France, in Italy and in Spain)
  3. Beat X Headphones (available in Germany, in the US, in the UK, in France, in Italy and in Spain)
Scouting Insurtech: Eric Mignot +Simple Insurance
+Simple Insurance

Eric Mignot joined Suez in 1994 as international controller before becoming CFO of Lyonnaise des Eaux Latin America in Argentina. After graduating from INSEAD MBA in 98, he co-founded Certant, a digital consulting firm in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico after raising 3 M USD from leading US private equity firms. 

 

Back to France, he headed the development of CaixaBank in France before merging it with Boursorama. He was MD of Boursorama France for the successful launch of the digital banking activity in 2005. In 2010 he became MD of Hiscox Insurance company for 5 years before founding +Simple, the 1st digital insurance broker for SMEs, professionals and sole traders.


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