ERGO Bike Tracking: Beating thieves at their own game

If your bike is stolen, it’s usually gone, never to be seen again. The police file the case and you head for the nearest bike dealer. Or at least that is what many people believe who have had their bike stolen. However, the situation is currently changing quite significantly and the police success rate for solving bike crime has been rising for years. This is mainly due to smart locks and bike trackers, which transmit radio signals and cannot be detected by thieves. ERGO sells these products and 15 other security solutions in its new online shop A win-win situation: for ERGO, for product suppliers – and, above all, for customers.

Von Mark Klein, Chief Digital Officer at ERGO

Insuring an expensive electric bike costing €3,000 against theft at costs €50.37 a year. However, the premium is immediately discounted to €30.22 if you also click on the Bike Trax GPS Tracker in the online shop. That is a 40 percent discount.

However, you can also buy an alarm box from nexsurance that emits a loud noise as soon as your bike is moved by the wrong person. Or a smart bicycle helmet that automatically calls for help in the event of a fall and triggers a reporting chain if the impact shock is too severe. We offer a total of five smart digital products to improve the security of your bike in our online store. And that's not all: nexsurance also has Smart Bike, Smart Home and Cyber Security tech products in its range.

The shop is designed for anyone who wants to make their life simpler, but also safer, with technology. We supply a total of 17 externally manufactured technical solutions. Customers can only buy the technical product separately or together with the insurance cover, usually linked to a considerably reduced insurance premium. Customers who already own one of the relevant technical products and only then take out the insurance as a package can also benefit from the discounted premium.


From risk insurer to risk manager

We wish to expand the principle of insurance with nexsurance. We don’t just want to cover the risk of damage but rather be there before the damage occurs – as it were, preventing the damage in the first place. Thanks to smart technologies, our package products mean that we are developing from being risk insurers into risk managers. And everyone stands to benefit from this!

The 40 percent discount on bike insurance premiums is not a gift – and is definitely not a discount on a previously artificially raised price. Our standard price without a discount is totally in line with the market, and often features in the Top 3 insurance products with comparison sites, like Check24.

However, with the high recovery rate of bikes, there is now a much lower risk that the bike will be (permanently) lost by theft. This reduces the expected claim cost and almost halves the insurance police costs.

Thinking about customer needs

It also means lower premiums for the insurance company itself! In this respect, people might think the fact that we are aggressively promoting smart products in our online shop could be viewed as having an adverse effect on our own business. But that is not the case: in fact quite the contrary. We wish to offer a broad-based, dovetailed security-related service in the interest of our customers. Not just thinking about unconnected products – bikes, insurance, locks – but more about what customers actually need. 

Bikes are the hot way to get around today, sales figures have been rising steadily for years, and electric bikes in particular are driving forward the boom. Whereas a bike rarely used to cost more than €500, today customers are investing €5000 in a premium-quality electric bike. That is rather like a small car and so purchasers immediately think about protecting it against theft.

And so, as an insurer, we wish to be part of the extended customer journey and offer attractive bike security products (locks, trackers) and rider safety products (smart helmets). We hope that this approach will enable us to develop new and innovative business models that go far beyond mere insurance. 

Darknet scanners and leak sensors

But we don’t just provide complete cover for your bike. We also offer a range of different “Cyber Security” and “Smart Home” solutions. Interior cameras, interior sirens, door, window and vibration sensors, as well as motion detectors, transmit directly to smartphones, transforming them into connected security hubs to prevent break-ins. The smart home products also include smoke detectors and digital sensors for water leaks on water pipes and washing machines. 

Soon we hope to have package offers for these products in store as well. Smart home cover in conjunction with cameras and sensors. This could lead to a reporting chain that would let the police or a security firm to switch directly to the camera in the event of an emergency call. The latter point is still far from being a reality, but we are already considering it.

We are also focusing more and more on protecting customers against cyber crime. “EyeOnID” is available to them if their personal data has already been stolen in a cyber attack. Regardless of whether login data for e-mail accounts or credit card numbers have been stolen – darknet scanning software detects whether data belonging to you is circulating out there somewhere.

Customers simply enter their credit card or identity card details to check whether this data is being used without their permission and, if so, where. On average, almost two months go by between thieves stealing and then using individuals’ data. It is precisely during this period that the software is effective.

E-gamers’ insurance – success despite failure

Our vision is to use innovative Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology to become the risk manager of the future. Even if we are already up there with our competitors, we are nonetheless at the start of our journey. That is why we have set up nexsurance as a test platform. We wish to experiment, trial new solutions quickly and flexibly, and change them again if we need to.

The online shop platform is perfect for this. Thanks to cross-functional teams and our own IT platform, we are also in a position to create new product packages and make them available in the shop within six weeks. Our learning curves are impressive. At the outset, we even built and tested prototypes for the sensors. That quickly proved to be inefficient, and since then we have been packaging together existing, market-ready technology products. 

When nexsurance was still known as “”, the range also included e-gaming insurance for amateur players. It had a “Tech Shield” to safeguard the expensive hardware and an “Account Shield” for the virtual game figures and avatars bought together in the store. Admittedly, it was not a success as there is no market for it or we did not appeal the right way to amateur gamers (it is a different matter with the professionals, a group rapidly growing in size). 

We regard this “failure” as a success. After all, our inexpensive experiment enabled us to avoid considerably higher product development costs for all ERGO sales channels. Product managers and sales partners were initially very enthusiastic about a product like this.

Close development collaboration with product manufacturers

We do not just sell our product partners’ IoT solutions in our shop. Instead, we work with them to create an improved ‘customer journey’ and consider how we can add value for customers together with them.

One of our partners, the one that supplies the bike tracker, works closely with the police. Customers provide the police with the details of the location of the stolen bike so that they can seize the electric bike. We are now even having to deal with services, like bike recovery. Together, we also want to reduce the rate of fraud, that is the percentage of reported thefts that are nothing other than insurance fraud.

The figures impressively demonstrate that these collaborations are welcomed by our customers. 40 percent of all electric bike insurance policies are now concluded by customers as tech packages at nexsurance. Almost half of them opt for the tracker. This significantly increases the probability of them getting their bike back should it be stolen.

The figures clearly show that we are on the right track with nexsurance.

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