In this interview, Robin von Hein from the Simplesurance Group explains how the digital change paved their way to success and how e-commerce companies and their customers can benefit from insurances made easier. Also, in the run up to his talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo on 2nd February 2017, this interview will definitely inspire you to simplify things for your customers too. And perhaps, to insure your pet with just a few clicks.
Paulina, E-commerce Berlin: Simplesurance develops and distributes innovative cross-selling software solutions that have revolutionized the insurance and the e-commerce industry. How did you come up with the idea for this business?
Robin von Hein, the CEO and Founder of Simplesurance-group: I worked in the traditional insurance industry for almost 10 years and experienced how the insurance market was standing still for a long time, not transforming, not using the possibilities provided by digitalization, like other industries. Receiving insurance coverage always meant combing through lots of fine print, a lot of bureaucracy and it was always considered a highly complex product. The gap between traditional insurance and the new digital environment grew further apart. When I traveled in South Africa, I saw how easy it was to get a risk life insurance for a bus ride via SMS, because traffic there is considered more dangerous than any other form of crime. I was instantly fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of closing a contract as fast as by sending a short message. It was there, when the idea for simplesurance was planted. I realized that the insurance market should use the potential offered by technology. I wanted to make insurance for everyday objects just as easy as any digital offer. I saw the most potential in the gap between e-commerce and the insurance industry, especially since cross-selling of two different types of products has been best practice in offline retail stores for many years. Many stationary stores already offered insurance and warranty extensions with their products, but the market looked empty in online retail. I envisioned a company that mediates between traditional insurances and online stores, enabling customers to insure any type of product at the digital point of sale with just one additional click.
You have your own nine retail portals that offer consumers the possibility to directly insure purchased products – this done completely paperless and with only a few clicks. How did you notice that people need such solutions?
Along with the digital change, customer’s behavior has been changing. Nowadays, people are media-oriented, they don’t want to comb through a lot of fine print. The mobile phone has become the new anchor for acquiring new customers, because the mobile phone is omnipresent in people’s lives. It is used for communication, orientation, guidance, entertainment and shopping. Why should the insurance continue to be complex and complicated? Our platform as well as our cross-selling solution that can be easily implemented via software-plugins in various common shop-systems and allow customers to purchase an insurance via just one click.
Do you plan to extend the scope of insurances offered in the future?
Yes, we are constantly driven by our ambition to provide our customers and partners with the best service and products, so we are constantly working on new products. We offer insurances for mobile electronic devices, stationary electronic devices, tools, musical instruments, pets, car legal insurance, tyres, bikes and furniture. In 2016 we started offering stroller insurances and travel insurances as well. We continuously do research to establish new market entry strategies and to develop new products. We’re planning to release a cyber insurance for different types of online activities. More information will follow soon. We’re also currently working on extending our business model.
From the point of view of your customers, what are the biggest advantages of using your portals?
The three main advantages of using our portals are: simplicity, automatization and service. We enable our customers to receive insurance coverage for one product in particular and set them free from insuring more than necessary, while reassuring the best service and insuring a broad variety of damages, such as water damage, breakage and fire damages. This makes it possible for us to offer insurances at a rather low price. The household insurance for instance protects the household, but doesn’t protect self-imposed damages and different types of theft that occur outside of a locked place. By using our portals, our clients can insure any product they want, from smartphones and other mobile devices to bikes, furniture and electric household devices. It only takes one click to insure these products, by simply entering an email-address and the serial number of the product that has to be insured. Customers, who purchase a new product, e.g. a smartphone at one of our partner’s shop just need to make one additional click in the checkout box to add the product insurance, while all information required are automatically taken from the purchase details. For customers, the one-click-solution creates several benefits: the insurance isn’t automatically extended, the process is automatized and mostly anonymous. In case of a damage claim, we handle the process fully automated. Thus we offer an enjoyable and simple customer journey in which customers can report claims to us 24/7 online and have to provide only little data. The claim management is regulated fully automatized as well: after filling in the claim form, our algorithm-based system can handle claims at scale and speed.
And from the point of view of e-commerce, how can e-commerce companies benefit from partnering with simplesurance?
We have more than 1.700 partnerships with e-commerce-companies. The number speaks for itself and shows, that we are the most important provider of cross-selling solutions at the interface of online retail and insurance. Our innovative software enables online retailers with a new way to extend the level of service they supply to customers, as well as increase their profit margins by offering product insurances and extended warranties on their products. Customers have a one-click-experience by adding the product insurance to their shopping basket and have increased protection for their purchased goods. By this means, the shops become more attractive to the customers as they offer additional service and makes the respective shop stand out from competitors. Most importantly, the integration is also simple for the e-commerce. We offer two solutions, one via Plugin which takes two hours to integrate. We also offer a full integration via API, which takes a little more effort but is just as easy to integrate as the Plugin. All interactions can be customized and constantly improved via A/B-testing, by adjusting the design, user experience or prices, to guarantee a high conversion rate.
Based on your expertise, what is the hardest part of connecting the world of insurances with the world of e-commerce?
Insurance has always been seen as a very complex product. However, offline retailers have been selling insurances and warranty extensions for a long time. For us, the first challenge was the implementation of our technology into the e-shop as well as the optimization of the conversion rate. Therefore, we constantly conduct A/B-tests by testing different parameters, such as the user experience, design, price options and different products.
Was Simplesurance so innovative that it did not have any direct competition at that time? Or if you had competitors, what helped you outscore them?
We were the first movers on the market with our cross-selling software solution. It took us two years to perfect it and we are continuously optimizing our software and the conversion rates for the e-commerce.
On February 2, 2017, you will give a talk at the E-commerce Berlin Expo, which is the biggest event of this type in Berlin. What will you focus on in your presentation? Can you reveal some details?
I’m very excited to speak at the E-Commerce Berlin Expo! I’m going to show how e-commerce companies can profit from a cross-selling software solution and show how many awesome and easy ways there are to use cross-selling software plugins in the e-commerce systems. However, I don’t want to spoil the ending.