If you’re filling out an insurance quote, you better have set aside some time because it is a slow-moving process that typically requires at least 15-minutes of nonstop, personal-data entry. But mobile insurance app Cuvva prompts users to input their data only one time when setting up an account, and users can be connected with insurers in just one minute. In addition to its speedy onboarding process, Cuvva is pioneering short-term insurance; it provides insurance for traveling (including 150+ activities) and even hourly insurance for personal cars, vans, and taxis.
London TechWatch spoke with founder and CEO Freddy Macnamara about creating the app for flexible insurance that has now raised a total of £2.2M across three rounds.
Tell us about the product or service Cuvva offers.
Cuvva is building a new kind of insurance company that’s flexible, simple, and jargon-free. The insurance startup sold its first policy in 2016. Since then, the mobile app has sold over a million policies.
The idea came about after I couldn’t get hourly short-term insurance, so I decided to build it. I soon realised that insurance was completely broken, so I set out on a mission to create a marketplace for flexible insurance. Cuvva connects customers directly with insurers, providing comprehensive cover within minutes, and 24/7 customer support. Pioneering short-term insurance, Cuvva is the first to provide both hourly motor insurance and insurance via an app in the UK.
Cuvva has expanded to offer personal car, learners, van, taxi, and travel insurance. Shaping clear, fair and flexible insurance, Cuvva is backed by brilliant investors, including LocalGlobe, Seedcamp, Techstars, Tekton, and Breega.
Cuvva is creating unique, flexible products to solve actual customer needs. We were the first to provide both hourly insurance and insurance via an app in the UK.
Additionally, we are the only UK insurance company (that we know of), providing an average one minute customer response time, 24/7.
What market is Cuvva attacking and how big is it?
Cuvva operates within the UK’s insurance sector, which is an enormous market, full of opportunities. We entered the market after identifying a great need in the sector for a better offering, as well as the need for the adoption of new technologies to simplify insurance processes. The UK personal lines market makes up roughly £28B in annual gross written premiums.
Who do you consider to be your main competitors?
Industry peers would include Aviva, Admiral, and Allianz.
What is the business model?
Cuvva’s business model is centered around building a new kind of insurance company that’s flexible, simple and jargon-free. Being solely app-based, all of Cuvva’s policies are bought through an app. You can get policies 24/7, 365 days a year.
Tell us what building your company in London has been like?
London is very conducive and supportive of the startup community. Opportunities in the region are in abundance; startups have access to fantastic, supportive investors; and there are very knowledgeable mentors, eager to support startups.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
During the quarter Cuvva plans to launch single trip travel insurance, which the team is very excited about, as it’s our first foray into a new vertical and underwritten by Axa. Additionally, and in true Cuvva style, the team is hard at work building a modern, flexible answer for long-term car insurance that will be fee-free, with no hidden costs.
Customers who opt to pay monthly for their annual car insurance are essentially taking out a loan from an insurer or third-party provider, which isn’t always made clear at the outset. This means customers inevitably pay far more for the same insurance policy in the long run, leaving them worse off.
According to uSwitch, the interest amount is charged as an annual percentage rate (APR), which is known to reach up to as much as 40 percent of an annual premium in the UK.
We hope to launch our long-term product in the last quarter of 2019.
What does being “Made in London” mean to you and your company?
Being based in London means we have access to the best of everything. Opportunities are in abundance, access to world-class talent and fantastic, supportive investors at our fingertips, have all been imperative to Cuvva’s growth.
According to the UK Government, there are roughly 5.7 million small businesses in the UK and more than 1,000 businesses start up daily.
What else can be done to promote early-stage entrepreneurship in London?
We were very fortunate to be guided by the accelerator, Techstars, who facilitated a very important growth phase for Cuvva, as a result of their deep startup knowledge, experience and complementary resources at hand.
We were very fortunate to be guided by the accelerator, Techstars, who facilitated a very important growth phase for Cuvva, as a result of their deep startup knowledge, experience and complementary resources at hand
Accelerators can be a very powerful tool to leverage when establishing a startup.
What is your favourite restaurant in London?
Hard to choose, love a Wagamama though.