Modernizing an out-of-touch industry like insurance

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Here’s what I love about today’s guest: He saw how insurance is just terribly outdated. Everything from talking to someone on the phone, to faxing over paperwork, to scanning all the paperwork into my computer to digitize it.

But you can’t change such and entrenched, out-of-touch industry overnight.

That’s why I’m excited about what today’s guest did. Christian Wiens is the founder of Get Safe, a digital insurance provider.

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Christian Wiens

Christian Wiens

Get Safe

Christian Wiens is the founder of Get Safe, a digital insurance provider.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of real entrepreneurs who are really building their businesses. And many of them return here to do interviews themselves.

Once they Dave, once they’ve made it for lack of a better word, check this out. Here’s what I freaking love about today’s guest. He saw what many of us are, which is insurance is just terribly outdated. The whole process, everything from the fact that I’ve got to talk to someone on the phone too. Sometimes I have to fax them paperwork to the fact that they give me paperwork that I have to then scan into my computer, which is a pain in the neck.

The whole experience stinks. They’re completely out of touch. He saw that. Like many of us, he also, like many of us realized that getting into insurance is not easy. There are regulations for, for good reason, right? They’re entrenched competitors who are super strong for a good reason, right. Nobody wants to trust their, their, uh, Their property, their lives to fly by night operators.

They want people who’ve been around for a long time. So we said, how am I going to break into this space? The thing that excites me about Christian story is he said, okay, I can’t day one, start with an insurance company. It’s challenging, especially when you bootstrap it’s challenging. So he came up with this great way into the space.

He said, well, you know, what’s a problem finding all of our records, understanding whether we’re covered or not figuring out what our insurance products are. I know it, we just hired somebody to help us organize our finances. One of the first things we need to do is get him all the insurance that we have, and it’s fricking pain in the neck.

Anyway. So that’s what today’s guests did. He said, I’m going to start off by doing that, digitizing that for, for consumers, I will make money from that. I will get into the space that way. And then we’re going to level up by providing more and more insurance. He’s doing this in Germany and the UK. I wish he was doing this in the us, but I’m just in awe of the fact that he found this way in.

We’re going to find out how Christian veins created get safe. It is. A digital insurance provider and we can do it. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first we’ll host your website, right? It’s hosting my website. It’s called HostGator. You can get them at hostgator.com/mixergy. The second creates great landing pages.

They’ve got a conversion report that will help you increase your conversion rates on your landing pages. It’s called Unbounce. I’ll talk about them later, Christian. Good to have you here. Yeah.

Christian: Yeah, that’s great. Thanks for having me.

Andrew: how what’s the revenue at get safe right now? Give me a sense of where you guys are.

Christian: I always say it’s, it’s, it’s so early in insurance, but we don’t, we don’t care. I, I couldn’t say we don’t care about revenue, but it’s not, not our major, major driver. Right. And KPI, we’re looking at where, by the way, not, not, not disclosing it as we have a lot of VCs and investors involved, including a big reinsurance giant as I would call it.

Um, and, uh, and so what we rather look at is, is how many. Young consumers, can we get excited to buy insurance with us in a totally new way? Um,

Andrew: do you have, who are buying through you?

Christian: We have 200,000 customers, uh, in Germany and a few in the UK that we entered last year. And the interesting thing about that is that we focus on millennials.

We focus on people that buy insurance for the first time in their life. It’s like 90% of the people that buy gets life. Insurance coverage have never bought insurance before for themselves. And that’s exciting because that’s people that are new to the industry that would never go to an agent or to a broker that I used to do stuff on their smartphone.

And we cover almost 10% of that millennial first-time buyer generation in Germany, um, and can grow with them over many, many, many decades. And so that’s the interesting part of, of our customer base.

Andrew: And it’s car insurance, property insurance, that kind of insurance, the whole thing started. And you pivoted, right. As I said earlier from, uh, Uh, digitizing people’s insurance to actually offering them new insurance. Those things started because you had an issue where you needed insurance. What happened to you?

Christian: Yeah, that was, um, as it can always happen. Right. Um, and, and for me, tap into, when I moved into an apartment, I just dropped out of university. So I moved into a new apartment. I was moving stuff around in the basement, uh, off the condo and, and my landlord had said, Store two big glass doors, custom made rounded glass doors that he didn’t need in the apartment.

And I somehow crashed into them, um, broke both of them. And first thing that I did is going to my parents and asking them if this is an entrance case. That is covered in family coverage because I dropped just out of university. I’m a well-educated mechanical engineer by education, but headed. I had no clue in idea of insurance as most of us, right.

When we were young enough or getting started. And the problem is that my parents that had pied up insurance for decades, that own a small business that had like 15 folders with thousands of pages of paper that piled up over a year over the years, couldn’t answer my question and still spend. A few thousand bucks on insurance every year.

And that was pretty disappointing. And it was a Saturday. We couldn’t reach the broker that sold them the insurance 25 years ago. Um, and so that was disappointing. Right. And that was kind of my initial encounter with insurance where learned a lot of things.

Andrew: And the thing that’s, that’s frustrating for a lot of people is you pay for insurance. You don’t know whether you get it until you need it. You finally needed it. You went through the insurance, you discovered no you weren’t covered. And you had to pay for the glass on your own. The next leap was to say, I’m going to start a company based on this.

Are you someone who’s so entrepreneurial that you’re always looking for a company opportunities. I mean, you told our producer about that guitar business that you started as a kid thinking of that. Can you tell people what that was

Christian: I to answer your question. Yes. I’m always looking into always looking to building something from nothing. I like to start in a white page. Paper a piece of paper and then, and then see what I can do. And it started with me being 14, 15, and I played a lot of guitar. Um, and I was at a public music school, a music school, and my brother as well, we were in a jazz band and all that kind of stuff that you do spend a lot of time with music.

We’re good at that age, but we were not excited about the teachers at the public music schools. They were older and didn’t want to play the music we wanted to play. Um, So we decided to start a music school on our own with a crappy website. And we, we invited other friends at the similar age, right? All people between 14 and 16 to become teachers as well.

So we started becoming teachers for other, other, other, uh, other scholars and, and young people, but also parents of the kids that we, that we teach and, and did it in a new, new fashioned way. We’re very pragmatic. Play the music they wanted to play today. You have apps for that, right? You have guitar hero. I don’t know how all they had called.

I’m not into that business anymore. That’s where entrepreneurship gets started for me.

Andrew: I know what you mean. I hated guitar class. I wanted to play heavy metal, these like obscure 1970 songs. Nobody even knew them. Let alone cared about them. And my teacher wanted me to play classical music on the guitar. I couldn’t deal with it. And so I gave up on the guitar until I found some sheet notes that you can kind of go through on your own.

I get that too, to this day. Do you still keep a sheet or note pad somewhere even on your device with different business ideas? Is that the way your mind thinks.

Christian: Yeah, look for tools that help improve my life. And I think I, I recently only switched to two to digital paper, let’s say, uh, like, uh, a pencil, um, and an iPad. And I have that. Yeah. I have a list of, of, of ideas.

Andrew: Give me some, some that you’ve written recently that you may not pursue.

Christian: Yeah. Um, well, th th th there are some that I also kind of converted into action. For example, my brother is a dentist, um, and, and he, um, and he always had the idea that dentistry is broken.

And so we collected that as an idea. And now he started a, a modern dentist chain that is using technology to improve the experience. So that was one that I

Andrew: do you mean what’s different about his, his dental chain?

Christian: The dental chain is essentially it started with a patient journey where you book your appointment online, where we ask you all different kinds of questions about, uh, well, he asks people all about all different kinds of questions.

If you have any fears or if you want to listen to a podcast, for example, During your treatment, um, which kind of Faye flavor of toothpaste for your cleaning, you want to have all that kind of stuff. So we really customize it. We ask for your insurance, we check if it’s covered, we’re transparent with prices.

So before the appointment we make it better, then you go into a studio. I mean, it’s still in the making, right. And to get a studio that is, that is, that is modern. That doesn’t look like a, like a, like a clinic, but rather a place where you want to be. Uh, that is welcoming. And then we have doctors, um, that are not paid by, by, by commissions or so, but by NPS and patient satisfaction.

And that get also if they’re young doctors, for example, get AI based recommendations on which is the right order of treatments. So which treatments options you have and the billing is done online, all this kind of stuff without getting too much into it.

Andrew: Give me, give me an idea that you’ve written. That is it’s good, but you’re not going to pursue, let me, let me get one of the cast offs too, to get a sense of how you’re thinking.

Christian: Yeah, one is, one is, uh, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s random, but it’s a water filter, right? Um, so I drink tap water all the time and in Germany

Andrew: from that glass jug. That’s a beautiful job that you’re drinking out of.

Christian: Exactly. And now we have this failure systems in Germany that are coming more and more, um, uh, that you cannot really implement into, into the whole, like.

Technology or a few house. And, but, but you have these, these glass fruits is also that there’s a company from Germany called Brita. I don’t know if you have it in the, in the U S or so, and, but they’re, they’re actually, they’re made from plastic. And so, and, and I always wanted to make a filter that I want to also put on my, on my table when I have friends at home for dinner, that looks nice.

That has made from glass that is perhaps more sustainable. That is something for example, I never did,

Andrew: You know, Christian, I interviewed an entrepreneur who did it. Um, Mike Del Ponti, it called this thing so much. It looked beautiful when I would put it out on the table for dinner. People always complimented it and looked at it like it was something like fine art. I wonder why he didn’t stick with it. What happened?

The thing that I liked about his business was not only was it beautiful, but. This is a subscription-based business. He said you don’t have to worry about getting new ones. We’ll just automatically send it over. And frankly, even if he didn’t have people on subscription, you eventually see that their filter is kind of out of date.

And so you order another one there’s ongoing repeat business there. Where, where it makes so much sense. I wonder what happened. Yeah, you should get them

Christian: Sounds good, but at least it doesn’t exist in Europe. So here

Andrew: exist here anymore. Really?

Christian: To order something like this is impossible here in Germany and Europe, but that’s, that’s one of that’s one of the things I, I thought through the other one is, is now everybody is working remotely and I have this company where actually, again, that’s, that’s again, an idea that I put into action we’re invested in the team is they’re essentially helping companies to easily rent.

Furniture for their workers that are tome, but not just, but they go through distributors like through, through big kind of, um, uh, office furniture shops where you as an individual can really customize and get the right chair and the right design that fits into your home because people want to have there.

The home office to look good. Right. And not just be a random office chair that you get kind of from your employer and kind of that, that model is, again, that’s an idea that I had early during the pandemic. And then I found a team that wanted to do that.

Andrew: And you’re finding furniture shops that are willing to rent out their furniture.

Christian: It’s a leasing while they essentially sell it to the company. There’s a, the employer’s paying for it for the employee, but the employee can choose and customize and everything and then gets it delivered. And professionally also builds up, um, at home.

Andrew: Yeah, that makes so much sense. I, I feel like somebody should do that also for zoom setups, you know, just send the team members all that. They need to look good on zoom for their specific environment, right. Depending on the room that you’re in, you might need different, different setup. All right. I’m totally with you.

Let me see if I understand the basics. So here, it seems like you constantly come up with these ideas, almost like you’re flexing your entrepreneurial muscle. So when you’re hit with a big problem, like the fact that you weren’t on your parents’ insurance, instead of bitching the way a lot of people do your training yourself to say, I can solve this.

Let me see what I could come in. I told you, before we got started, the brilliance of your business to me was the way that you got started. You said I’m not going to create an insurance alternative. I’m going to create a way in that makes sense. I feel like you underplayed that when we talked, tell me about how you made that leap.

Christian: I mean, we were as multimode two, Fonders no experience in insurance. I came through that industry. I think. Hunter my first touch point, what that experience with the glass doors. So I literally had to go through glass doors essentially to, or to break through glass doors, to, to get into the, the industry wasn’t interested in insurance as a mechanical engineer at all.

And, and then the first real problem that I saw was my parents’ problems. So having 15 folders, a lot of papers, spending a lot of money, a few thousand bucks every year for insurance and not even knowing if their kid is still covered in family and trends, which entrance covers. If they have double it double insurance, double coverage or not how they can.

Reach somebody, if they have a claim at any time, seven days a week. So all of these things, we’re not, not approachable. And so we thought it’s unrealistic for us to go through all the regulation and having an insurance license where you have to own ring fence capital for regulated regulatory reasons that we didn’t have that.

Right. So, but we thought. If we could solve our parents problem, of course, we started to talk to our other parents and other people in our uncles and relatives. And so, um, and then the, and it was very clear. Everybody hates managing their insurance stuff every year. And.

Andrew: So I thought you said to yourself, I need to make a better insurance company than the one my parents had. Instead, it seems like what you said was I’m going to help people like my parents and relatives organize their paperwork. Was it in the back of your mind that you would be creating an insurance company or was it always in the beginning?

Just creating better data.

Christian: No. It absolutely was because for me, the North star was to build an insurance company so that people like myself and my friends would never end up like my parents. So that was kind of the newest idea that I had. Um, and, but it was clear that it wasn’t practical. And, and I always learned, always start with a feature that makes a hundred people, a thousand people happy, and that’s exactly what we did.

And we could start, how great is that? Right? You build a startup and a tech product, right? That your P your parents, your, your biggest critics normally would use. So I think that sounded really reasonable and what wasn’t, wasn’t so difficult from a regular regulatory perspective and, and funding perspective, and it really clicked.

And there’s this company I think, called mint.com, or there was a company at least in the U S and it’s similar. I always explain it like this. It’s a mentored comfort insurance. So you aggregate. We aggregated all your data around your existing insurance. We looked for gaps. We look for savings potentials.

We help you. When you had a claim that we acted like your, your better broker, essentially, that is digital in your smartphone. And that was the first feature we started with.

Andrew: All right. I want to do an ad for my first sponsor. It’s HostGator. Listen to me if you’re out there and you’re seeing how Christian just keeps coming up with ideas, and as a result is basically pumping up his entrepreneurial muscles and you want to do the same thing. I urge you to go to HostGator. The thing that I like about HostGator is they’ve got that.

If you go to hostgator.com/mixergy, you’ll see there’s a middle option on there that gives you unlimited domain hosting, which means anytime you have an idea, instead of just sitting on it, you can just try to implement it. And. If you don’t like it, you discard, it doesn’t cost much. It’s so inexpensive to host with them.

It’s so dependable that I have staked my whole business on their platform. And it’s a good way to stretch your muscles. If you want to get started, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. They will give you the loan price. In fact, I know it because Christian, one of my listeners emailed me and said, Andrew, you always say that you have the lowest price that people use.

hostgator.com/mixergy. I found a lower price. Believe it or not. I went to HostGator. Same day. HostGator responded, changed my pricing to be the lowest possible price in, in reaction to some other low price that they had somewhere else. But people, if you’re listening to me, Don’t go because the price is low go because frankly, you’ll get great service from HostGator.

You’ll be supporting Mixergy and it will be a good business decision and a good life decision for you. hostgator.com/mixergy, and keep telling me about your results with my sponsors, hostgator.com/mixergy. All right. The first version that you created you, uh, you were bootstrapping how much money did you put in?

Christian: Okay. A bit under a hundred K and that was money that I that’s a lot of money for a graduate, I would say, but it’s money that I saved and got done for my first startup that I, that was a startup that I started during university. It was not the music school. That was what it was backed by get back, back, back at school.

But you knew. It was Gore Mayo, and it was like an open table for Germany. Again, a problem, a solution that everybody, no it’s in the U S it says booking a table in the restaurant online instead of calling her. So, um, and it didn’t exist in Europe. And so that was the idea. And I founded it with my flatmate during university.

So it was really, uh, my first ever true serious entrepreneur and experience. And I made some money from, from that. And so I invested around a hundred K.

Andrew: were able to get  into local restaurants, they actually implemented your software. How did

Christian: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it was, it was, it was not such a small business at the end. It was funded. We had 75 people. We were live in most of the larger German cities. We tried to expand in France and the UK, but then. What we, what we, what we realized, and it’s still the case, by the way, in Germany, you call the restaurant to, to, to book a table.

You’d never do it online. And it’s still not the case because I think the culture of eating out as is way less developed here in Germany, specifically than in other countries, like the U S for example. And so it’s still not a thing. That’s why maybe we’re too early and it’s still toward either the product Microsoft fit wasn’t there.

There were some implementations and, and people that booked it, but the openness to also pay for it from, from the restaurant owners side. Wasn’t, wasn’t just there that the problem wasn’t big enough.

Andrew: And so in retrospect, what would you have done to understand that before you got started?

Christian: Hmm. That’s a good question. So I, I spoke to a lot of restaurant owners and to be honest, I had to. I had to do a lot to convince them to, to implement our solution. And that perhaps was the point where I was so much, I was so pumped to, to get this first company up and running and make it work. And also to be honest, get the learnings and convince investors.

And so that, that perhaps I didn’t listen to that feedback so much. And this is still my number one advice. When I talk to young entrepreneurs is. In a certain phase until you find product market fit, fit. Be super self-critical always go ask the hard questions. They’re not comfortable, but. You essentially should feel if you’re right, if you’re wrong and you should be very honest and Frank towards yourself.

And I think that’s the hardest, one of the hardest skills in life in general, but in entrepreneur for ship specifically. And I wasn’t that good at it. And it’s still difficult because once the ship is running, it’s, it’s, it’s always hard, right. Potential direction.

Andrew: You know, what I find is especially hard about it is if you’re an entrepreneur, your job is to persuade other people, to be optimistic, to see a vision where it doesn’t exist and has no right to exist. And so. That goes against what you’re saying, which is also be so brutally honest that you can say, this is not a good idea for the moment.

Not a good idea for the place. Maybe not the right thing. And that’s hard.

Christian: That’s why that’s why it’s, it’s, it’s lonely as a founder, right? It’s always lonely because you have to have that discussion with yourself, maybe with your co-founder, but not with the rest of them.

Andrew: Okay. Um, and so you had a little bit of money from there, actually considerable amount of money from there you decided I was going to, you were going to invest in it. The first version was, what did it look like? And then we’ll talk about who, who signed up for it.

Christian: Yeah. Luckily the frisk version is something my co-founder and I could, could build ourselves. That was great because we were what I call a full stack team that could build the software. I did design and product management and PR and marketing, and he did the coding. Um, so he’s a physicist by education, but he always coded.

So that was easy, but what we did from day one, um, and that was definitely one important sign and value. And first principle, we follow up from day one because we knew that ultimately we would build an insurance company. For young people that should never end up like my parents with thousands of pages of paper and so on, we build it mobile first.

So we always were an app only mobile, only provider. And essentially it was a mobile app on Android and iOS that you could download what you would. Give us just the I’ll select the names of the insurance providers and the, the products, the policies you have with them. Let’s say, motor insurance with Geico or life insurance with Allianz and your name and some, some, some of your, your data.

Then you would sign a power of attorney to allow us to go to the insurance company in your name and ask for the policies and documentation. We didn’t ask you to scan it or so.

Andrew: You don’t have to go and scan it. I don’t have to go and find it. I just say you have the right to do this. Now you go to the insurance company and you get it. Oh, that makes so much sense.

Christian: that was a critical factor because you need to build a product and solution that is so good that people can say no. Right. And, and, and, and if you had to scan everything on your own, that would have definitely failed. So the convenience for the consumer was there, but the nightmare for us of course started because.

All these insurance companies started sending us faxes and paper mail that we then scanned for our customers internally and uploaded in the app.

Andrew: And then why didn’t you ask for username and password? Is that too much of a privacy risk mint, I think was doing that using, um, I forgot the service that they were using, but they did that.

Christian: Yeah, but it’s a fair question. But in insurance, there’s nothing like this. There’s no API, there’s no login area. At least I’m talking about European traditional insurance companies. Right. Um, There’s nothing like this. There’s an API where you could access the data that are digitally stored somewhere and just, just do it.

And I suppose it’s all also pretty difficult in every other country. It’s not like banking, like mint, where they grabbed all the, all the information from, from other banks or accounts that you have and entrance it, it doesn’t work like this. It was talking for us, but it’s it’s as it is. And still like this.

Andrew: And, you know what I think, even an insurer, even in a banking mint used to have to come up with all these different, they sound a first with a service that then went through all these different, um, They basically had a lot of things to do in order to get past banks resistance, to giving up data. So I get the challenge.

You had real human beings, then take the paperwork, scan it. That’s a lot of money, a lot of time. That meant you had to charge your customers for it because you are essentially bootstrapped. Right. And if you had to do that, am I right about that before? You’re not asking my next question. I’m looking at your face and I wonder did the first people pay.

Christian: Um, the people didn’t pay that indirectly. So we got commissions from the insurance companies because what most people don’t know is that brokers get commissions from insurance companies, both if they sell an insurance company, insurance product for you, but also if you renew it. So whenever you renew it, they’re getting your commission.

And so we earned money from people. Um, from, from us managing the insurance policies for our customers as a broker, essentially as a digital broker and getting commissions and renewal commissions every year. Um, and also from selling additional policies to our, our customers. And, and so it’s, it was free, uh, for the, for the consumer.

Andrew: Got it. So if you’re looking at car insurance, people can renew that every six months, right. Home insurance, renters, insurance might write about that again. I saw your eyes

Christian: 12 months.

Andrew: So that means that you had to wait for about well, up to a year, uh, to renew, but then once you did, they didn’t have to pay you, but you did earn money.

Now I understand how the business worked. You got to how much in revenue with that, that I think you can talk about since you pivoted away. Right?

Christian: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I can roughly say that it’s still the same company and same, same entity. And we sold that part of get safe tour to another company, to a price comparison site that wanted to have that feature, um, uh, because they needed an executive that, so we were at a, at a single seven digit. A few millions in revenue.

So it wasn’t working, working bad. Um, the pivot didn’t come from the business model that didn’t work well enough, right. Or the scale or so it was, it came from our conviction that if you really wanted to build a huge company, that people are really love, that was not the right foundation. I can tell you why two things.

First of all, you mentioned the. Menu work. We had to put in to digitize all these policies that came in and paper from the insurance companies because they annoy APIs. And the second problem is the service. We provided the speed of service we provided in claims and underwriting in digitizing, all that stuff for our customers could only be as good and as fast as our insurance partners, the big insurance companies provided it and they’re not known for providing stuff.

Quickly, um, and in digital ways, especially if she comes to the claim is experienced. So we could, we were building a company on the processes and products and the, and the foundation of traditional insurance companies that could, it, it could never be better than that. And that was the point when we said, how can we ever build an experience for, for people that is not like what my parents had to experience.

And that was the moment when we pivoted the business into being. A broker aggregator service call it as you like policy management service into a proper insurance company where we would start building our own renter’s insurance product and motor insurance product. And sell it directly to consumers, still through an app, still with all the convenience of having all your policies and, and certificates in place.

Being able to fire the claim through the, through the app, but everything with a way better and quicker and real-time experience because we now own the whole processes and product and platform and technology behind it.

Andrew: That you have to sell off that other business because it would be, you’d be competing with your customer. No, you wouldn’t be. You’d be it. I guess, would you be, is it because your new insurance company would compete with the insurance companies that you are representing as a broker?

Christian: Also, but also because of focus, to be honest, because for us, it’s really two different business models and also to Deerfield different audiences, to be honest, because with what gets saved us today, we are trying to. Make insurance really accessible for young, for millennials, for young people that buy insurance for the first time that expect such a mobile first digital paperless experience.

And before that we rather solve my parents’ problem. So people that had piled up insurance already. And so it was a different audience and, and yeah, it was a focus question then an opportunity also to, to sell that part of the business and technology that we wouldn’t use anymore. Anyway.

Andrew: Uh, and then I can see also you told tech crunch a while back. You said we have a bigger vision. And one of them is like, once you digitize, it’s not just the purchasing experience and the management experience that gets better. It means you also, if you have a good smart app, you can tell how much people are driving their car.

And if they’re not driving it much, because they’ve decided to work from home, then that’s that reduces their coverage. If they are driving it a lot and you see every day driving to and from an office, Or long drives, I guess that also changes the insurance plan. Am I right about that? That’s the vision.

Christian: Yeah. Yeah. You know, what’s great. Is that the benefit of building a mobile first and company with young people is that all of our customers use our mobile app to manage the policy. They trust us as an insurance company. So you have be very kind of trusted business. And so we have that nice device that our people use our customers use anyway.

And now we can start making the entrance product smarter and more personalized by saying, Hey, you can pay for car insurance, like what you would pay with another company, but you can also, and yeah, that’s that’s vision because we didn’t implement that yet, but we have 200,000 people using our app. Even a few times a month or a year.

Yeah. It’s, there’s a certain engagement, which is not normal for insurance. Right. But the usual insurance company has a touch point with you every three years on average. So it never essentially. And so we could offer you to personalize your insurance experience because we are on the smartphone and that is incredibly hard.

For traditional insurance companies to convince their traditional accomp customers to change the experience from broker or phone to mobile and get all their customers on that device, which challenge trivial for other industries. But it’s a big asset for us that over time. And it goes in, I mean, you mentioned car insurance, motor insurance, but the same applies for smart home, right?

Connecting more of your home to our app, which gives us more insights in how safe you keep your home and kind of making the insurance coverage more predictive and cheaper for

Andrew: You mean connect the alarm system into the phone. You do that now. And to know whether I’m arming my alarm every night or neglecting it, that type of thing.

Christian: No.

Andrew: All right. And still you told our producer that was a problem. Boom. A pain point. And we’re going to get to that in a moment, but first I’ve got to talk about my second sponsor.

It’s unbalanced, you know, Unbounce, Christian, what do you know about Unbounce?

Christian: It’s a, it’s a, it’s a tool where you can test a lot in a super easy way. So you can, you can, you can create AB testings and landing pages and experiments that by the way, now, look. Really good because of their template library. That is amazing. Um, without a lot of, without any engineering, to be honest, to be involved.

Andrew: And you know, what, and the design, I think is one of their best assets. It’s it’s the first time that I was able to actually make designs for my site. Look good. When I used Unbounced to create landing pages. I remember showing my friend Noah Kagan. He agreed to do a, uh, an online course for my audience.

And he did it as a favor. And then I created an Unbounce page and I showed it to him. I remember seeing the look on his face when I showed it to him, he was like, Hmm, that is impressive. You know? And Noah never says he’s impressed unless he really means it. He likes to give it to you straight. All right.

Well, here’s what they’re doing. They’re not advertising on bounce right now. What they’re doing is they’re saying that they’ve got there. New conversion benchmark report. It’s available to 2021 report is out right now. You can get it directly@unbounced.com slash C B our conversion benchmark report. And why would you want to do that?

It’s because you want to see how your conversions stack up against other companies like yours. You want to understand which of all these best practices actually are supported by data and which ones we’re all following because we’re all following. And so you’ll see if what you’re doing works out.

You’ll get numbers, conversion rates to tell you whether you’re competing well with others, and maybe you should be aspiring to do more. And also tell you how realistic some of what you’re looking for is they said that in their surveys, people said that they would not be satisfied with their conversion rates until they hit 26% or above.

Meanwhile, if you know the truth, you know, that conversion rates industry-wide might be 11 point 88%. And so the more you know about your industry, the more you know about what’s possible, the more you’ll be able to reach the Heights and beat what’s possible in your space, but go to unbounce.com/c B R right now, to get that con that benchmark conversion report.

See how you stack up and get ideas. That’ll help your conversions increase Unbounce. Thanks for sponsoring. Um, you said, look, the challenge for us was we were now back to zero. So you go from finally making it to down to zero. What is it about you by the way that makes you say I’m going to have to do this, instead of saying I got a good business here, let’s take this out to other countries and be done.

Why’d you have to go into insurance and suffer.

Christian: I can tell you my motivation and it’s pretty it’s, it’s, it’s still the same and it’s still amazing and excites me every day, which is first of all, all of my friends, parents relatives. Everybody needs entrance. That’s what I love so much about building consumer products and retail products, all of your peers and people around you can use it.

And in turn, as somebody something you, you may not talk about that so much with your friends, but do you know that everybody has it right? And you can give them a better experience. That’s the first and the second one is, imagine a tech company like. I dunno tick-tock or something. And if I ask you how likely is it that it’s still be there in 30 years, right.

And they still have a stable business model that gets better and better and make money at there. And it’s not, it’s not guests working. It’s it’s predictable insurance is that business because our customers are an average between 25 and 30, when they. Kind of, um, uh, become customers for the first time and by the first insurance policy with us.

And what’s also novel. And if you check with, with yourself or other people, people tend to keep insurance for decades. Mostly until they die. And it makes also sense for some insurance products to stay with that provider because it gets more expensive if you drop out and go to another one. And so the, the nature of insurance is super long-term.

And so now we can build a tech company applying all the tactics of the Airbnbs and the Ubers and tech companies apply to insurance, but build a tech company that has a high, high probability because of the nature of the model. T so that the customers that I acquire today, my first customer is very likely to be with us in 30, 40 years.

And that’s exciting.

Andrew: I found that to be true too, for my life that most insurance, you just kind of set it and forget it. You make a, like, we did a lot of research when we first got our car moved away from Uber’s to getting a car and we found the right one and then we just stopped evaluating because they do well by us. I see what you’re talking about.

Was it then. Was it helpful at all to have gone through the first iteration of the company? The one where you’re digitizing people’s products, where you’re acting as a broker, or was that just a way to get money and traction to build your new idea?

Christian: probably yes, but in a shorter timeframe. So we spent two years almost doing that first. Let’s say first feature, first face of the company. Was it helpful? Yes. Why? Because we did two things. We spoke to a lot of frustrated insurance com customers. So people that joined get safe, the mint.com off insurance, as I call it to digitize the policies with us, obviously not satisfied with the way high insurance work before with them traditional insurance.

Right. So we learned a lot about the pain points and the things we need to fix on the consumer side. But we also partnered with a hundred entrance carriers because we were just a broker, right. We didn’t have our own products. We were the intermediary and we learned about the pain points. And that was the more interesting of insurance companies we learned about their tech systems or non-existing tech systems, but they, how do you do customer service?

How are structured as companies where they split distribution, right? Agents and brokers from headquarter, which is a problem, I believe in direct to consumer where you get direct cause funds from your consumers, what insurance companies usually don’t get, right? Because of this split. So we learned a lot and we could apply a lot of that.

And that’s why I think that. Compared to other InsureTechs and startups that do insurance. We have an advantage because we built, we didn’t build our, our platform and backend system and proposition on the Greenfield, but with all that knowledge of the first two years. And so I think we, we now built the more scalable, better and more accurate.

System out there that in the longterm will be a benefit. So I don’t regret it. Let’s say I would make it shorter, but it was a useful experience.

Andrew: You then you also realize the people who had insurance, who were coming to the first version of the business, which you call like mint, mint.com for insurance were different from the ones who are going to sign up for get safe today, which is insurance. How did you realize that you needed to go after brand new people?

Christian: It was, it was pretty clear to be honest, he’d was solving my parents’ problem first and solving my problem. You remember this story? When I broke the glass tours was Jessica.  had to buy insurance for the first time. Didn’t do that. That’s why I had that problem essentially. And it wasn’t covered. Um, it was pretty clear because of first of all, because we wanted to solve that problem.

And then because insurance had, and you mentioned that has this tremendous lock-in effect, which as a business is a good thing because. Once you have it, you forget about, you may forget about it and just keep it, which also means it’s, it’s tremendously difficult to get somebody like you that perhaps is locked into a system and happy entering your experience.

And, and, you know, the business model that we pursue is we get people. When they’re very young with a renter’s insurance, usually, and then we start offering more insurance product like car insurance, and we will go into a life and term life insurance. We will go into a home owners, insurance, why, when they become a home owners instead of being renters.

So we grow with our customer base. Um, and that, that’s why you need a young customer base to kind of have that, that, that bundling then in the customer base over time.

Andrew: By the way this, even the first version of your business makes so much sense. I feel like someone should start doing that in the U S I started Googling to see if anyone’s doing that mint.com for insurance paperwork in the U S I don’t think anyone is my right. Yeah.

Christian: there’s, there’s a fun story. There’s a German team. And I think today they’re called Gabe. G a, B I N that one. Yeah. To do that, to copy that European idea, which is by the way, also very rare that European idea gets to the yes. Normally it’s the other way around. And really I’m really, I really want to change that by the way, but still, um, but.

It just was, I think they pivoted now and now doing price comparison, unconference or so.

Andrew: Price comparison for insurance auto

Christian: by the, it was a German team based in the U S had tried to copy that. I don’t know why it failed, why they didn’t stick to it. Um, insurance at its core is similar in all countries, right? You’ll cover your home, your car, your traveling, but there we go.

Their regulation is very different. That’s why I don’t believe. There will be an Airbnb, a global leader or tech monopoly so quickly, but rather continental leaders that will be a digital insurance company that wins in the U S digital insurance company that wins in the, in the, in Europe and in Asia. But not that global leaders so quickly because it’s yeah, it’s regulation is, is different.

Andrew: also there’s much benefit, right? Airbnb that works all over the world is helpful for me, because I don’t want to have to figure out what the right Airbnb is. Ditto for a car service like Uber or grab, but I get it for health it for health insurance, car insurance, whatever I need. I’m not looking when I moved to. To the same company. Right? How did you become an insurance company? That seems like one of the hardest things that you’ve done.

Christian: Yes, but, um, this is there there’s, there’s easy, easy waste and shortcuts that I would say. So there’s this thing called MGA where you’re not a broker, but not an insurance company essentially. Building your insurance business and you’re doing everything. The pricing, the, the, you can do the underwriting, the claims handling, but you build your business on the balance sheet of another traditional insurance company, a big insurance company.

In our case, we found re-insurance companies like Munich re and Swiss re that people may have heard about the big global reinsurance leaders. That didn’t just provide us the re-insurance, but also that save bill regulatory licensing framework that you need to build insurance products and sell them in your name.

So, so we took kind of that. We outsourced that part of the business and now step by step at taking stuff on all a balance sheet, essentially. Um, so in, in five years from now, if you ask me. Get saved will, will be a full stack carrier that has all the business on there all balance sheet. And we are really a proper in the, in the narrowest sense insurance company.

Today, we are an insurance provider that is kind of outsourcing part of the risk management and taking regulatory stuff to very experienced companies, right. That people also trust, I think, is the trust rectors that makes the organization the capital requirements way more lean for us. Um, and so we are we’re we’re growing within the value chain.

Step-by-step that’s the approach we have taken there’s other startups that start with a bank with a big regulatory setup that is expensive and maybe not. I think it’s a distraction that you don’t want to have in the beginning, we, we, we took this step wise approach and that means it was E that doesn’t mean it was easy, was easy, right?

Because still it’s to become this MGA it’s regulated. You need to do a lot of, a lot of due diligences and, and, and you are a regulated company essentially, but it’s easier than people might not.

Yeah.

Andrew: The other thing that I was trying to understand was then where you got your customers. So I went to SEMrush and. One thing that I realized there was drone insurance is pretty big source for you, right? I guess people are by drone. They want to see what insurance is. And so that’s one of the big products I could tell because that page is pretty big.

And then I saw that where you were getting your customers and maybe this is overly simplistic, but it seems like it’s from deal sites, right? People are looking for deals on insurance. They don’t just go to Google. They look for people like, uh, that gabby.com site that we talked about. And that’s where you partner.

Am I right?

Christian: Yeah. So would we have a lot in Germany? So we do do a mix to be honest, right? So we have. A decent part of organic growth, unless, I mean, the point is insurance is not viral, like other products. So that’s, that’s, that’s a dream that doesn’t come true. It’s not that, that interesting and sexy that it goes viral, but we have a decent amount of, of, of, of organic growth that is very important for us.

Um, especially we have a lot of repeat customers. So one out of three people. Buys a second product with us very quickly out that they signed up with the first product and that’s, that’s the growth loop that you want to have, right? People bundling more policies with you and the deal size as he called them, uh, in Europe are very, very well-known it’s it’s it’s price, comparison size aggregators that make the intrinsic buying experience more transparent for.

For users because they compare insurance providers and it, and they called price comparison, but they much more than that. Essentially they’re rating the rating sites with customers rate the service level, the product, the pricing of insurance companies. And. We are, as we are way more sophisticated in how we do our pricing, how we change it quickly, how our service is quicker, right?

Our claims experience is way better. We are really winning on these sites compared to other insurance companies. So for us, It makes a lot of sense to be compared to other traditional insurance companies. And that’s what happens on these sites where we get a lot of traffic from, um, I think they’re, they’re way bigger in Europe and the UK and other European markets than in the U S but, um, it’s a good

Andrew: didn’t realize them. Look, there’s one. My deal’s dad D E apparently they’re sending about 5% of your traffic, their comparison side for everything. Credit cards to Crocs, from what I saw, I didn’t realize how big they were. Uh, and then there’s another one simple Germany, I guess that’s for ex-pats who are moving into Germany, who need to understand according to the site, how to deal with the bureaucracy, what they need to get.

And one of the things that the site says is you need insurance. Let’s explain the insurance system in Germany. And then, uh, I guess people from there end up signing up, uh, for you. Am

Christian: know, funny it’s it’s we were, we were just the only provider that does things in English. So we offer product terms, but also customer service in English and, and insurance companies here don’t do that. So it’s it’s besides, and besides being, having a great customer experience in product, um, we’re, we’re pretty unique in doing that.

Andrew: And that’s because what you have, I noticed that by the way, too, I I’m on an iPad. Like you are. I don’t think I pad’s translation button works nearly as well as the one in Google Chrome. And so a lot of the sites that I look at to understand how your business works, I have to manually put it into Google translate to understand them, your site easy.

There’s always on the upper right English or, or DIII for, uh, for German. I get that. What’s the point of that though? Do you have a lot of ex-pats who sign up? Is that what it is?

Christian: No. The major reason is that. Our business language at get safe as a company is English. It’s not German because we have a lot of experts working with us. Um, we have a small team in London, um, as we were active also in the UK. So our whole daily language is English. So we built. That’s funny. And that’s what German European companies besides startups don’t do we build everything in English and then translate it to German.

We’ll try and say to French. Once we go to France, two, it Italian. Once we go to Italy, but English was always be there by default. So for us, it’s, it’s kind of the default language. We had it there anyway for free. So we just edited. And then by surprise, we found. That we are the only company offering that and that organically without any, and doing a lot of marketing, a lot of experts come to us too to cover themselves.

It wasn’t planned.

Andrew: Uh, yeah. And I see that the English version, um, again, I’m just using SEM, Rush’s traffic analytics tool. I see how popular the English version of the site is. Let’s close it out with this first of yeah. Vision for the future. Where do you see the business going in the future? What’s the opportunity that we may not notice as we’re looking on the sidelines.

Christian: So, first of all, what I mentioned is we’re building a business that. There’s a hundred percent probability that as a business and business model will still be there in 30, 40 years with the same customers, right. That we have today. So that’s, that’s one thing that we’re building. And so it’s growing over time.

Um, the other thing is that that entrance. Even if you look at New Jersey generation spying insurance is a huge, huge market. It’s a mass market. And to give you a number there’s millennials in Europe. So people between 20 and 35 in Europe alone, and that’s all marketplace. Right? I mentioned continents. So we are focused in Europe.

We’ll buy a billion, you, you insurance policies in the next. 10 years. And in this decade, essentially, if we manage to, if we manage to get, let’s say 15, 20% market share, we fees with these falls and the next 10 years, we will be one of the biggest insurance companies in the world, um, in 10, 15 years from now.

So it’s it’s and we are at 10% market share already in Germany is so we see we can replicate this. So it’s a realistic, it’s realistic. Why. Because there’s no competition for us in the sense that traditional insurance companies offer a totally different experience, right? It’s way more paper call, center, whatever based.

And so we have that window of opportunity and that’s, what’s exciting. There are maybe other startups that do similar things, um, but incumbents are so locked into their legacy technology and. Agents and brokers system that they can really act. And I think that’s your opportunity as a business that we see, plus the dream to that, that we have to build a 40, 50, a hundred year old company, maybe even that exists when we are dead, um, ourselves.

And that’s exciting for us.

Andrew: All right. Here’s what I’m learning from you. I’ve learned a bunch. Number one. I used to think that if you have a bunch of business ideas as an entrepreneur, you’re actually getting distracted. Instead, what I’ve learned from you is you’re training yourself to look for opportunities. You’re training yourself to spot business opportunities, business solutions, where other people are training themselves to stop to spot problems or to ignore them.

The other thing is that. Obviously in a problem, there’s a potential business, which for you was in understanding what insurance your family had. That was a business, but also in the fact that we have a lot of paperwork, all of us in the world and information is locked in there and human beings looking at papers, not the solution.

I’m also starting to think what else is there that, where there’s paperwork, where software could maybe help people understand what rights they’ve got based on those agreements, what they should have asked for based on those agreements, or even just software to. Organize it so we can make it easily searchable.

That’s an interesting opportunity. The other one is any German businesses have ideas that we’re ignoring. Maybe one of the reasons why so many people are copying American businesses because they’re getting so much attention. Maybe there are other businesses, Germany in, uh, in Africa where people are coming up with creative solutions that would apply here and we should be copying finally.

This big business idea that you had, I would have been intimidated to get into the insurance space, but there’s a way to do it. Just like in banking. There’s a way to create a bank without creating a bank. Right? The challenger banks are built on other banks, and that is an opportunity. That’s not obvious, but it should be obvious.

I think I’ve taken a lot away from this beyond that list. What did, what did I miss? If anything.

Christian: it’s, uh, it’s amazing. It’s a perfect summary. And I think, um, I think that what you mention is. Distraction or focus. I think focus is, is totally important. Right? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t encourage people, but I encourage people to, to state to be curious. Right. And, and, and, and train your mind to stay creative.

And sometimes if you have a business, sometimes you, you, you get also trapped into that tunnel. And, and sometimes it’s, it’s refreshing to think about other problems, uh, to stay creative and also motivated for your business. So that’s how I, I apply that. Two, if I can kind of just add something to what you summarize pretty well.

Um, so I think it was, uh, an exciting session with a lot of learnings and topics.

Andrew: Thanks for doing it. And I’m noticing you’re home. The whole background keeps getting darker and darker because it is later in Germany. I appreciate you being here and staying up late for me. Um, I’ll tell everyone who wants to go check out the site. Hello, get safe.com of course, in the upper, right. As I said, you can switch to English or Germany depending on your preference.

I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first, if you have any kind of landing pages, you want to understand how you can improve them. Go to. Uh, unbalanced.com/cbr unbounced.com/c B R. And if you need a website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. Bye everyone,

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