Bitesize InsurTech: Buzzmove
August 20, 2016 Chris Sandilands
Buzzmove is a price comparison website for removals companies.
What’s that got to do with InsurTech?
Well, that’s not how Becky Downing, the lawyer-turned-entrepreneur CEO of Buzzmove describes herself. In a recent chat with Oxbow Partners, she described Buzzmove as a “household contents data company”. It turns out that digitalising the old-fashioned surveying process that removals companies already do is but a convenient way to start gathering that data.
Buzzmove is an alumnus of the 2016 edition of StartupBootcamp’s InsurTech programme and has just raised £6m in funding from investors led by Bermudian insurer White Mountains Insurance Group.
The insurance angle is fairly obvious – use the inventory data in the “Buzzvault” to generate insurance quotes. Becky mentioned Buzzmove had had thoughts about both traditional insurance products and on-demand products.
Buzzmove hasn’t implemented its insurance proposition yet but is currently talking to a number of potential partners in the UK.
With our insurance hat on, we like several aspects of this business:
- Buzzmove can deliver elements of the “insurance concierge” proposition being pursued by some other businesses (for a concierge business, look at just-launched-in-the-AppStore Brolly). For example, Buzzmove could compare your total contents value against your policy limits, or identify high value items that may be uninsured.
- We like the fact that there are opportunities to sell not only traditional covers but also niche covers, for example insurance for goods in storage.
But most of all (and with our general startup hat on) we like the fact that Buzzmove has a clear use case for creating the asset inventory in the first place and love the fact that it’s an intelligent digitalisation process, which doesn’t require anyone to change their behaviour. We’re sceptical – given our personal experiences of startups – of digital propositions that rely on people doing something for a future reward (especially when the reward is insurance, not an ice cream!).
As ever, there are a few challenges the business will need to overcome.
- The “movers” market is a small subset of the overall population, especially in segments that are higher value to insurers. Will Buzzmove be able to make its proposition relevant to other “trigger points”?
- It’s not obvious to us that moving is a strong “trigger point” for switching home insurance. Sometimes people will have bought insurance with their mortgage, and clearly incumbent insurers try to be helpful when it comes to moving.
- At this stage, insurers are unable to use the granular data that Buzzmove is collecting in their pricing models. Buzzmove will undoubtedly run into the same problems that we described in our report with Munich Re about the “pains” felt by disruptive insurance distributors when trying to partner with insurers.
Every business has strategic challenges and we think Buzzmove has a stronger insurance use case than most. We look forward to seeing how the business develops.
Note: we covered Trov, another personal asset inventory startup, in a previous Bitesize profile. A French business in the filed is Cbien.