Time certainly flies when you’re building a business.
When we opened our doors in April 2018, we knew we wanted to do a lot more than just add another option to the over-crowded insurance market. We believed we could use technology and an unconflicted business model to dramatically improve how people experience insurance, improving value for money along the way.
It’s one year later and while we’ve already exceeded our expectations, we’re excited that this journey is just getting started!
Our team has grown, our offices are expanding and our work in the insurance industry is really hitting its stride. But most importantly, the response to our offering has been overwhelming because our clients are genuinely loving what we’re doing.
Many industry players doubted whether we could improve insurance with technology - whether people would feel comfortable buying insurance over the web or on an app. Well, as it turns out, most of our clients have bought cover on a completely self-service basis. Our product has gone down particularly well with people who prefer to transact online, the so-called 'digital customer', which has a younger bias. Customer support requests that are traditionally managed via long-winded phone calls are now being handled in seconds with our app. Not too bad for the new kid on the block, right?
A better customer experience has always been a massive part of our mission. We have grown our user base by an average of 20% per month since launch, and more importantly, continue to receive positive feedback from our current clients.
What excites us even more is that a large number of our new clients originated from referrals from existing customers. In fact, a survey we did at the end of 2018 confirmed that almost half our customers have referred friends to us, typically mentioning the great online experience, convenience and prices. The power of word-of-mouth means we’ve been able to avoid huge spending on advertising campaigns. And less advertising means lower costs to recover from premiums, which in turn means lower prices for our customers. Don’t you love it when basic business principles work in your favour?
Word-of-mouth has been so successful that we’ve decided it’s time we shared the love with all our loyal customers who have been working so hard, telling everyone they know about us. Our paid referral programme is currently in beta and if you’d like to make a bit of cash helping us spread the word, send a mail to email@example.com.
It’s all about the claims
In the end, insurance is really about claims, so we’ve been working incredibly hard to make claims quicker and more hassle-free. We’ve paid out hundreds of claims with minimum fuss to our customers and at a loss ratio of around 80% of premiums since launch, we're doing better than most other car insurance startups, and significantly better than many of the large insurtech startups internationally (many of whom were at 200%+ after a year). This reflects our strong underwriting discipline, and sustainable, fair pricing.
Our team has also really enjoyed “meeting” our customers through the claim selfies they submit when reporting claims on the app. Seeing and hearing someone telling the story of their claim puts quite a unique perspective on things. The claim selfie, together with images of the damage, allows us to digitally assess a significant portion of our claims, speeding up the process and saving on admin costs.
Jade, the AI bot, identifies fraudulent claims early on, which means that you aren’t paying for the dishonesty of others. Fraud is estimated to make up 30% of car insurance premiums, so as our data and models get better and better over time, we’re expecting significant reductions in premiums.
How do you like them App(les)
We’ve also recently updated our app, releasing some cool new features, as well as squashing a few bugs. A Twitter poll by personal finance blogger Brendan Dale from Take Charge of Your Money found that nearly half of the respondents expected that it would take a day or more to get a final quote for insurance, get proof of insurance and complete the inspection. This illustrates just how much time and effort it can take to get car insurance.
We heard you and actioned. You can now generate a confirmation of cover letter on the app in seconds, perfect for when you’re in the dealership waiting to drive your new baby home, but the finance house needs proof of cover.
The app now also scans your licence disk, rather than just taking a photo of it. So if you do your car selfie first, your VIN and Engine number will already be pre-populated in your cover confirmation, saving you the trouble of typing in all those letters and numbers. Pretty cool we think and so do others.
It’s also been incredibly rewarding to see people saving money by actively engaging with our CoverPause feature, especially over the December period. CoverPause also found favour with business people whose cars are frequently parked at the airport, or with their additional cars that are rarely driven. Rather than pausing cover, many of these customers are on a set stationary cover and only switch their accident cover on for a couple of hours while they are driving the vehicle. As the cover switch is instant, it is super easy to manage your cover in this way!
We’ve received hundreds of feature requests and suggestions and please keep them coming - we love feedback! Based on all of your input, we’re working on some amazing new stuff, which we’re really looking forward to being able to share with you. Our most common request is whether we can insure stuff other than cars, and the great news is that some new offerings are well on their way to becoming a reality and should be available in a month or two!
We’re Naked and Proud
As much as we love telling our story and talking about our insurance product - it’s really something we believe in - the last thing we want to do is look and sound like your average insurance company, with repetitive ads highlighting standard insurance benefits. As such, we’ve launched a number of initiatives designed to sincerely add value to whoever gets to see or hear from us.
One example is the Naked Economy: a podcast series hosted on CliffCentral.com that features behind-the-scenes stories of South African companies that are doing things differently and taking new approaches to business to ensure everybody wins. It’s co-hosted by one of Naked’s founders, Ernie North, together with Shane Durrant, wacky creative and hard rocking lead singer of the band Desmond and the Tutus.
Our hope is that it equips listeners to figure out which businesses out there really deserve their support, find new ways of adding true value to whatever industry they are a part of and inspires them to go out there and pursue their vision. The feedback has already left us feeling like we’re making a little bit of a difference. Find it on your favourite podcast app or just click here.
Let’s do this thing
None of the work we do and the things we’ve achieved over the past year would be possible without our amazing team and, of course, our incredible customers. So our thanks to everyone who’s given us the chance to turn our idea into a living, breathing reality.
In summary, we've had the start we wanted, but we have so much more we want to do.