In an office, which may or may not look like a trendy warehouse, somewhere in the City of London...enter Ross Dingwall, Hiscox's Managing Director - Broker Channel. Standing before the panel of insurance industry ‘dragons’, he confidently delivers his pitch.
In the insurance industry we're often told we're slow to change and adapt. That, as an industry, we don't always keep up with how customers like to buy their insurance or indeed develop the right sort of products to keep up with the ever changing risks facing homeowners and small businesses.
Murmurs of agreement from the dragons.
And that it takes a while for us to adopt the latest technology to deliver the type of hi-tech and innovative service that customers want.
Thoughtful smoke rings ripple skywards from his scaly inquisitors.
So, here at Hiscox, we've decided to take a different approach. Earlier this year, we offered up to £500,000 in start-up capital to insurance brokers who could present the most compelling business case for new products and/or services that would shatter the insurance mould.
We called it the ‘Hiscox Innovator’.
“Let me get this straight, you're trying to disrupt an insurance model that's served this country successfully for many years?” snorts one dragon.
That's the idea. We know that there are different ways to do things. And we also know that many smaller insurance brokers are extremely entrepreneurial with some great ideas. The problem is, they might not necessarily have the resources to bring those ideas to market. So, we put up a total of £500,000, and sent out a call for insurance entrepreneurs to come forward and present their ideas to us, dragons' den style.
“Blatant dragon rip off: I'm out!”, says one, though the other dragons are prepared to hear more.
A hard fought contest saw us pick four winners - Insurance Tailors, PolicyBee, Perkins Slade and The Insurance Octopus.
Insurance Tailors pitched the idea of a group of insurance products that can be bought by sharing economy businesses - think websites set up to share anything from cars to lawnmowers, a dramatically expanding sector of the economy set to reach £220 billion by 2025 - to back up their existing insurance coverage.
While PolicyBee's idea revolves around a marketing campaign to provide information and direct micro-charities to the relevant insurance products to help them avoid catastrophic pitfalls.
Perkins Slade put forward an idea for a new insurance product specifically geared towards the sport and leisure industry and The Insurance Octopus also created a compelling approach to selling insurance to mid and high net worth customers in the broker channel.
'I like it,' says one dragon, ' I've been looking for insurance cover for my shared dragon descaler, 'My offer is £50,000 for a 50% stake.'
I'm sorry, the ideas aren't for sale. We've provided each winner with the start-up capital to get these ideas off the ground and are really looking forward to seeing how they develop. It's been such a success and we think there are lots more ideas out there so we hope to be running the Hiscox Innovator again in 2017.
Hang on, who're the dragons here?
You're out I'm afraid.
No dragons were harmed in the writing of this blog, though several insurance industry dragons could be slayed.