Meet the insurtech: Getsafe

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Shortly after graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Getsafe’s founder Christian Wiens encountered a frustrating situation that led him to change his career trajectory: Needing to make an insurance claim, he found that his insurance coverage was inadequate.

“I had broken something, and my parents had pages of policies and updates, and nothing covered it,” Wiens says. “I had started mechanical engineering because I was fascinated by cars, but found it difficult to start a company in that space. This got me intrigued about insurance.”

Getsafe started as a mobile-app-only broker, with the goal of providing customers with a single source of and view of all their insurance coverages.

“We wanted a solution that doesn’t have our customers end up like my parents” with piles of irrelevant paper, he says. Eventually, it became an MGA; now the company has its own insurance license for certain lines.

“We will have a hybrid model where we underwrite some products on our own balance sheet,” he explains.

Wiens says this is because he wants to give customers access to the most relevant coverage for themselves at their life stages. His vision is to acquire customers at the age he was—right out of university—with the simpler to underwrite policies like bicycle and renter’s coverage. Then, based on on data from customers’ interactions with its app, Getsafe can identify life stage changes that open up more complex needs.

“We believe that behavior of customers, if you can track that, is general and agnostic to the business that you write” he explains. “We are one of the very few native mobile companies. This gives us a lot of engagement with customers. We see correlations, how much it affects your loss ratio depending on how you interact with chatbots, if you buy quickly, if you go back and forth, day or night, which phone model, or battery status.

“A traditional actuary doesn’t know what to do with these data,” he continues. “The data we collect are not just interesting for social comparison. You can measure that they’ll buy term life as the next step, for example.”

However, key to Getsafe’s value proposition is that the data it collects beyond traditional insurance demographic date are specific to interactions with its own app. The company doesn’t tap into anything else on the phone.

“We come from Germany, and data privacy is very important here. We try to not get access to any sensitive information from customers—just this more generic behavioral data.”

With the coronavirus crisis ripping the globe and impacting business of all kinds, Getsafe has continued to add staff to support its growth and product development ambitions. Wiens says it has onboarded 15 employees via teleconference and they are fully enabled to work remotely.

But it’s the consumer behavior changes post-COVID-19 that intrigue him the most.

“What’s more important for us is the consumer adopting behaviors like getting financial advice fully digitally,” he says. “COVID-19 is creating a new normal: It will be OK and normal that you buy insurance digitally.”

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