InsTech's Henry Gale speaks to Andrew Cons, CEO Europe at bolttech, to discuss bolttech’s business model, how the company became a unicorn and trends in embedded insurance.
Henry: Can you give a brief overview of what bolttech does?
Andrew: bolttech plans to build a technology-enabled ecosystem for insurance. It connects insurers, distribution partners and customers to make buying and selling insurance easier.
bolttech’s insurance exchange helps insurers tap into new distribution channels and reach new customer segments. It allows companies to add insurance to their value proposition by becoming insurance distributors without needing to obtain their own insurance licenses or partner directly with insurers. Most importantly it allows customers to get the right protection at the point of need, adding value across the insurance ecosystem.
To provide context on its size, bolttech currently quote over $44 billion USD in premiums on its exchange annually.
Henry: What is your role and what does it involve?
Andrew: As bolttech’s Europe CEO, my role involves creating and driving the strategy for the short, medium and long term in Europe, along with managing relationships with our existing and prospective partners. I was part of the team that first launched bolttech in Europe in 2020, and the team has grown substantially since then, becoming the fastest growing region for bolttech globally.
Henry: Tell us about bolttech’s beginnings.
Andrew: bolttech launched in early 2020. Its goal has always centred around making insurance more accessible and convenient for customers by empowering insurers and distribution partners to provide insurance products at the right time to meet customers’ needs.
bolttech subsequently achieved unicorn status following a US$247 million total series A funding round in 2021.
Henry: What companies does bolttech work with?
Andrew: bolttech’s insurance exchange has an extensive network of partners. bolttech currently operates in 30 markets across North America, Asia and Europe, with over 700 distribution partners and 180 insurers worldwide. Globally, bolttech partners with the likes of fintech Maya in the Philippines, e-commerce company Lazada, and electronics business LG U+ in Asia, and insurers such as Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and USAA in the United States.
bolttech’s distribution partners include telecommunications companies, electronics manufacturers, retailers, e-commerce businesses, banks, super apps and more.
In Europe, bolttech’s partners include telecommunications companies such as WindTre, Salt, Drei, electronics giant Samsung, online refurbished electronics reseller Back Market, hearing aid retailer Amplifon, British pharmaceutical retailer Boots and many others. We will be announcing several new strategic partners over the coming months.
Henry: What insurance products are being offered through bolttech?
Andrew: Device protection is a large part of the business and it was the first product bolttech offered in Europe. Other products available through bolttech include cyber, travel, home contents, car insurance and many more. The insurance exchange is not confined to one set of products or one insurer, but can adapt to provide whatever products suit distribution partners and are offered by insurers to meet the needs of the end customers. bolttech can also configure customised insurance products to meet the needs of its partners’ customers, working closely to design product offerings with partner insurers where necessary.
Henry: bolttech became a unicorn in just a little over a year since its launch: why has it generated so much attention from investors?
Andrew: bolttech has welcomed a number of strategic investors including EDBI, the investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, venture capital firms Activant Capital, and Alma Mundi Insurtech out of Spain. Investors’ confidence in bolttech validated the business proposition and our conviction that the insurance exchange model has long-term potential to become a driving force in the future of insurance distribution.
bolttech’s key differentiator is that its insurance exchange creates a many-to-many ecosystem of insurers and distribution partners. The platform has been proven at scale internationally. Distribution partners can access insurance products from multiple insurers through bolttech’s exchange, which means they only need to make one single integration to offer a range of choice for their customers. Similarly, insurers can extend their reach and sell their products to new customer segments in distribution channels they couldn’t have easily accessed before.
Henry: What is your take on embedded insurance?
Andrew: The total addressable market for embedded insurance is immense. Especially in Europe, customers want more relevant and personalised insurance products, and a simpler purchase process from brands they trust. Embedded insurance can match the right insurance product to a customer in an appropriate, convenient context. This offers a win-win scenario for all parties involved - embedded insurance offers the potential of being a high-margin and high-growth revenue generator for businesses, but it also offers customers ease of access to get the protection they need, when and where they need it.
Henry: What examples can you give of how bolttech is embedding insurance?
Andrew: In Europe, bolttech is working with a variety of partners from different sectors to offer protection products to their customers.
Using Back Market as an example, it’s a multi-geography partnership in which we embed protection products for refurbished devices into their existing online purchase journey in seven different countries. With the complexity that working across geographies can bring with different languages, cultures, and buying behaviours, we tailor country-specific embedded journeys to improve the insurance purchase for the end-customer.
Another product bolttech has designed is Home Protect, a standalone IoT-based application which can be integrated within the apps of bolttech’s partners. For example, a telecommunications company could sell WiFi routers with embedded cyber insurance. When a customer activates their router and opens the Home Protect app, it scans all devices connected to the router. The customer chooses which devices they wish to protect with either individual products or bundled plans, all the way to home contents coverage.
Our insurance exchange also offers an embedded marketplace model. For example, bolttech is working with mobile phone operator dtac in Thailand and fintech and digital payments company Maya in the Philippines to offer their customers a choice of products from multiple insurers in an embedded marketplace. By offering insurance products directly through dtac and Maya’s customer touchpoints, we provide customers with a choice of relevant products that are easy to purchase from a trusted brand. We are currently preparing to launch an embedded marketplace with a Europe-based bank and we look forward to announcing this partnership before the end of this year.
Henry: Why has bolttech joined InsTech as a corporate member?
Andrew: InsTech helps bolttech to connect with potential partners and industry peers, which is especially valuable to us as a relative newcomer to the region. InsTech also produces research and insights into global and local insurance market trends which help our teams to stay abreast of the latest industry trends and happenings. bolttech is delighted to be part of such a well-respected community and looks forward to being actively involved.
Henry: What sort of companies would bolttech like to connect with?
Andrew: bolttech would like to connect with any brand that wants to distribute insurance or could increase their revenue by adding adjacent and complementary insurance and protection products to their customer journeys. bolttech is especially keen to talk to brokers, insurers, banks, telecommunications companies, e-commerce and utility providers.