In the second of the Timetric series assessing the insurance start-up landscape, Ben Carey-Evans, InsurTech analyst at Timetric’s Insurance Intelligence Center (IIC) analyses the range of challenges insurance start-ups face when trying to enter a market.

In Timetric’s InsurTech Start-up landscape report, Carey-Evans explains these 3T challenges essentially involve

  • Time management
  • Talent recruitment
  • Trust in the brand and gaining positive publicity

In the first place, Carey-Evans explains it is extremely difficult for a start-up to compete with larger players in underwriting risks due to the amount of capital required, and the entrenched nature of the big companies.

The opportunity therefore lies in the spaces left by insurers in technology, platforms, customer service, mobile access and many other areas, which require far less capital and regulatory requirements.

Interviews Timetric has conducted with senior executives in InsurTech start-ups reveal that while the regulatory process is not complicated, it is time consuming and occupies very precious staff hours.

The head of insurance at InsurTech start-up, Cover Genius, Graeme Dean, says: “Regulation is a long process, it’s not difficult but it takes time. Other challenges are turnaround time – just being able to deliver and get insurers comfortable with new products.”

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Talent recruitment challenge

Hiring – and especially replacing talent – as well as simply meeting all of the required deadlines with a small team on a low budget were all very prevalent time-based issues raised in Timetric’s research. This ties into building up a brand, as earning customers’ trust, without having a familiar name, means the service has to be substantially better than what is already available in the market.

Perhaps one challenge that would not seem obvious when entering the InsurTech market is a lack of knowledge about advertising and marketing a business.

Often founders come from insurance backgrounds and know what they want to do, but haven’t got the experience, skillset and, again time, to raise sufficient publicity, while seeking outside help often isn’t affordable.

Startubootcamp marketing mentor, Damien Seamon, said: “Marketing is one [challenge], how do you build up customer personas when you haven't got customers yet. Some do, but very few have an idea how to market themselves at first.”

The danger of holding customers’ personal data and the subsequent risk of a cyber-attack is a relatively niche risk now, but is certain to be an ever-increasing issue. It will require start-ups to maintain extremely secure systems or risk losing personal data and all of the reputational damage that comes with that.

Timetric’s InsurTech Start-up Landscape report will be published shortly on the Insurance Intelligence Center and will be downloadable from the Timetric report store.

Visit the IIC at