Most Londoners are likely aware by now that their city is rated as number 1 for in the world for FinTech start-ups thanks to the success of companies such as TransferWise (£37m raised in funding), The Currency Cloud (£12m), Market Invoice (£7m) and Azimo (£12m), but there is no reason for the innovation to stop there.
Many experts ascribe the success of FinTech in London to the Capital’s geography, with major financial centres Canary Wharf, Mayfair and the Square Mile a relative stone’s throw from the creative and disruptive start-up communities of Shoreditch, Haggerston, Hackney Wick, Westminster and Brixton, and if that’s the case then there’s all the more reason to think that the disruption of industries like Insurance, Asset Management and Investment Banking across London will follow hot on the heels of Fintech.
That’s certainly what Worry+Peace Founder James York believes as he leads a vanguard of start-ups intent upon disrupting the industry he has worked in throughout his career; insurance. Worry and Peace provides insurance packages including travel, gadgets, phone and cycle cover but also offers companies the chance to forge “affinity partnerships”, or collaborate on a brand-enhancing project, as the company recently did with cycling apparel designers Paria; “Paria are a fresh and confident challenger brand in the growing urban cycling market,” says York. “And we relate to that.”
Worry+Peace are offering a unique fusion between the serious, albeit mundane business of Insurance and the more creative and colourful world of independent start-ups and brands. Regulated by the FCA, they bear all the usual responsibilities of an insurer leveraging York’s contacts and industry know-how to provide competitive deals, but their website is unashamedly aspirational, exploring how collaborations or partnerships might work and providing cutting edge fashion, gaming, travel and gadget news via their “content buzz” blog posts. They even have their own “lab” which they promise will be used for “managing, conceiving and funding” new disruptive or innovative projects; “part of our DNA is rooted in project exploration, making things that might seemingly be unrelated to insurance”.
This kind of fresh new approach to an industry that does little to fire the imagination currently could well be a canny move. As the baby-boomer generation slowly begins to drift into retirement homes and to let go of the purse strings they are being replaced by a younger, more aspirational demographic with ambitions to change the way things are done. It’s no longer enough to provide a service, generation Y, or millenials as they are sometimes called, demand more. They like to understand the benefits of every transaction they involve themselves in and expect to be pitched to with informed reasoning and pledges to make the world a better place, rather than being told “you must have this as it’s against the law not to”, or “this is the sensible, practical strategy”.
That said on a pragmatic level Worry+Peace estimate that in the UK one in seven people are not properly covered for either home or specialist insurance, placing £5bn worth of goods at risk every day, and that the average person carries £851 worth of hand held gadgets on their person. In London, the figure reaches £1034. Worth spending a few quid to protect yourself, then.
The start-up’s latest project is a partnership with Pocket-Lint, a leading UK based gadget site, to create a consumer friendly content hub around the subject of gadget insurance. “Bad Luck Needn’t Suck”, as York has termed the project, will see Worry+Peace become the site’s first ever Gadget Insurance Partner and will run for an initial 4 months. It sits well with one of their flagship products, Gadget Insurance which is underwritten by a specialist partnership between UK General and Ageas, an A rated Europe wide insurer.
Marrying great content with the chance for readers to buy products, and insure them, is a relatively new approach that has its roots in a new-fangled concept, native advertising, and what it does is create an atmosphere that a customer can feel part of and make a contribution to which is how today’s consumer likes to operate. Off the shelf pre-packaged products are neither sexy or fun or innovative, therefore Worry+Peace’s unconventional and individualistic approach has every chance of being successful. We’re glad we found an insurance store that’s both modern and customer obsessed,” says Ricky Harewood, Pocket-lint’s commercial director.
What do you think? We welcome your comments on Worry+Peace and their disruptive approach to “Insure-Tech below.