nexsurance: IoT and insurance from a single source

ERGO is focusing on "Internet of Things" (IoT) innovations as the risk minimisers of the future. The central platform for all of the insurer's tech offerings is called nexsurance. //next spoke to the two managing directors of nexsurance GmbH, Gregor Wiest and Jacob Spönemann, about why such an independent platform makes sense.

Jacob Spönemann and Gregor Wiest, Managing Directors of nexsurance GmbH (f.l.)

Why do you need nexsurance as a separate platform?

Jacob: We launched in 2018 as a pure testing platform for innovative insurance products. Since then, we have used it to test new types of insurance on the market, such as eGamer, garden and wedding insurance. The platform enables us to test products and services on the market within a few weeks thanks to fast development times. The questions we ask ourselves: Is there interest and demand for the products and how and through which channels do we best address the customers? So we can work in an extremely customer-centric way. With the relaunch of nexsurance, the strategic focus is now on risk-avoiding products and services, mostly based on IoT. For the platform itself, we relied on the cooperation with tech11, and thus on the expertise of an innovative German technology start-up.

From the insurer's point of view, risk reduction also means a risk of disruption, doesn't it?

Gregor: Yes, you could say that. If you think it through to the end, less risk would also mean less insurance premium in the long run - and thus less revenue for us. By now offering both - i.e. risk-reducing technologies and insurance cover bundled together - we also benefit from the "new" source of revenue from technology. In this way, we are moving from being a risk insurer to a risk manager. In other words, we don't want to be there when a loss occurs - we want to prevent it from happening in the first place, thanks to new technologies. This is also in the interest of the customer, because he also prefers not to be robbed in the first place. For this reason, we sell IoT products together with our insurance policies. The first product bundle is based on bicycle theft insurance.

And that is new?

Jacob: Yes, that's new because, legally speaking, insurers are only allowed to offer insurance products and services. For this reason, we have founded nexsurance GmbH. Through this, we are allowed to sell non-insurance products, such as SmartHome devices, especially also bundled with insurance. 

Gregor: Our first real bundled product is for bicycle fans: it combines classic bicycle theft insurance with risk-minimising technology, such as a smart lock or a GPS tracker. The customer can directly buy both - insurance and technology - and get a discount of up to 40 percent on the insurance premium. This is new and unique on the market. We recently received an award for this: The bicycle insurance took second place in the Golden Bull 2021 in the category "Insurance Innovation of the Year". That makes us very proud, of course.

Even though it's still quite new, can you already say how the bundle is received by your customers?

Jacob: We can see from the sales of bicycle insurance that "smart" bicycle protection is very popular, especially among e-bike riders. Around 50 percent opt for a combination of risk-reducing technology with our insurance. This shows us that we are right on trend with our bundle.

What else is planned?

Gregor: nexsurance remains our test platform in order to be fast and flexible and to be able to experiment. Here we now develop new products in a few weeks - thanks to cross-functional teams and our own IT platform. The next products we are planning for nexsurance are "after-the-event insurance" and something in the direction of cyber security. But I don't want to give too much away yet.


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