Insurance

Sherpa’s one-pot insurance puts a lid on hellish forms

By Kitty Knowles 30 August 2017
Summary

All your insurance in one place.

Moving house? That’s insurance hell.

Jumped into self-employment? You just lost your private medical care, your travel insurance and your laptop cover.

What about keeping your car on the road in a new company? Don’t even get us started.

For the most part, insurance today remains a messy online-offline scattering of complicated deals – with important information stored by different companies, covering different bits of your life, stashed in forgettable places.

This is the reality that smacked Chris Kaye – a former Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group – in the face, when he left Hong Kong for Malta to start his own business.

“It was a nightmare,” he tells The Memo. “I cannot tell you about all the swearing, the frustration, the bumping of fists on the desk, and the shouting down the phone.”

“It was hell,” he says.

It took Kaye, a seasoned expert in insurance, more than 20 hours to renew as many as 7 different insurance policies over the course of a month.

But the infernal experience also made him more driven to get his company off the ground – a bright new company called Sherpa.

Sherpa leads the way

Sherpa is a personalised insurance account that’s entirely unique to you – and your risks, says Kaye.

That means: instead of having your all your varied insurance policies in different pockets, you have one Sherpa account, with the Sherpa team responsible for finding and bundling the most suitable insurance deals together for you.

“The primary benefit you get from Sherpa is time, and the primary person who’ll benefit is someone who’s time is very precious,” says Kaye.

“You don’t have to spend your time filling in forms, you don’t have to spend time answering the same question twice, and there is no time lost on claims forms or renewals.”

Experienced professionals can have the hefty burden of insurance lifted away, he says, while young adults just getting to grips with the industry can feel empowered to make smart choices.

“Insurance is a very hard thing to learn, and it’s a real painful process, so we’re trying to make it simple and easy for you.”

How it works

Instead of completing half a dozen ‘insurance journeys’ you fill out one Sherpa form online with your preferences.

“We take you through a very simple Q&A process to work out what you actually need, and what you can actually afford,” says Kaye.

“We can then construct a deal for you, with a budget attached to you, but you can slide that budget up and down according to what you can afford.”

You wouldn’t know it as a customer, but the Sherpa team then sources deals for you through a selection of white label insurers, and the world-leading re-insurer Gen Re.

Sherpa doesn’t take commissions, it only has to pay to bring you on board once, and doesn’t have to have fancy offices around the world. All of this could save you up to 30% on like-for-like cover, says Kaye.

“Effectively you’re getting wholesale pricing, you’re getting bundled pricing, but you’re getting best in class individual cover.”

The future

With its regulatory approval arriving imminently (and a recent funding round raising$2.3m) Sherpa is due to launch in the UK in the autumn, with 2,300 customers already keenly signed up.

At first it will only provide a specialist offering aimed at those jumping into self-employment, or who are looking for similar policies (health, life insurance etc).

But by mid-2018 Kaye wants to offer full mobile-first insurance offerings to anyone, at any stage of their life, whether that’s for your car, your home, or your smartphone.

What’s more a distribution agreement with a British partner could see a further 20,000 customers sign up in January 2018.

Perhaps what’s most exciting however, is the almost magic dynamic insurance Sherpa could bring you just a little further down the line.

With all your data on your smartphone, you could soon permit the service to shift intuitively to your needs whatever they may be.

“You would leave your house and get into your car, and your car insurance will automatically switch on; your home insurance will change from occupied insurance to unoccupied insurance,” Kaye explains.

“You get on a plane and your travel insurance switches on, and when you buy your ski pass, the app automatically add ski insurance.”

If you’ve just had a baby you can slide up your life insurance, and when you buy a house get mortgage protection at the click of a button.

The future of insurance is coming. And it’s personal.

It’s time to put a lid on endless forms.