Insurance is like a “diamond in the rough”

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Insurance is like a “diamond in the rough”

After completing a $45m (£36.71m) funding round in June 2022, codeless insurance technology platform provider Instanda is now poised to grow.

Over the next 12 months, the company plans to use this funding to increase its engineering capacity, deepen its customer relationships, and expand its teams in the UK, Portugal and Romania. It will create new engineering teams in the US.

The firm currently employs around 150 people and has approximately 80 clients worldwide – however, Insurtech still has ambitions it wants to fulfil.

Speaking exclusively about insurance times, Insurtech CEO Tim Hardcastle says: “First, we’re investing in some new markets – like Japan, for example.

“We are a very diverse company and we celebrate having many different cultural backgrounds in the business – at least 50% of our senior team are women.”

Hardcastle identifies as an ethnic minority as he is Anglo-Indian – a person of mixed British or European and Indian descent.

The insurance industry has historically lacked ethnic minority participation, particularly in senior management positions, and retaining diverse talent is an ongoing industry-wide issue.

For example, ABI research published in February 2021 found that only 2% of senior insurance executives were from an ethnic minority group, despite 10% of entry-level professionals identifying as an ethnic minority.

Instanda wants to help remedy this situation – it aims to increase the diversity of its staff in the coming year.

Hardcastle says, “[Diversity] it creates a very rich work environment, but you can’t just say ‘we’re diverse’ – you have to have an environment that has inclusive communication, so the environment is based on meritocracy.

“You have to have a medium and a framework to make that really come to life — otherwise you’re just going to have tokenism in diversity.”

an ethnic minority journalist

Tokenism is a symbolic effort to be inclusive without making changes that are intended to have a lasting and meaningful impact. This could include, for example, hiring a small number of diverse candidates to demonstrate that a firm is inclusive.

Hardcastle continues: “We want to deepen our approach to working with a real range of different people and markets – that helps us with customer engagement.”

Building on this focus on diversity, Instanda also aims to “continue to smooth [its] own diamonds” in 2023. By this, Hardcastle means that Insurtech plans to continue improving its platform and the way it interacts with customers.

Instanda’s ultimate goal for 2023 is to contribute to its 10-year vision to be able to work with every major insurer in all markets in which Insurtech operates.

“We embrace companies in the core markets – focused on property and casualty as well as life and health [insurance],” says Hardcastle.

Starting from scratch

For Hardcastle, “insurance is like a diamond in the rough.” He says insurance is important to both business commerce and people’s personal lives – however it has always been a reluctant purchase and a product that consumers usually only engage with at the time of a claim.

Hardcastle’s entry into the world of insurance came in 2005 with insurer Hiscox, when he was headhunted and subsequently appointed as the firm’s chief information officer. Hardcastle notes that he was inspired by former Hiscox CEO Bronek Masoyada, who is stepping down from the insurer at the end of 2021.

“Sometimes life hits you with serendipity, and after a while you look back and think, ‘Wow,'” he adds.

After a year in that position, he became a founding partner of business management consultancy F2X Group in 2006. Although F2X Group owns Instanda, which was founded in January 2012, Hardcastle’s time at Hiscox inspired him to pursue his own you are a business.

“We started Instanda from scratch at Starbucks,” he says. “We were building something that [customers] we asked and the thesis we had was that insurance is quite complicated.

That was when the firm decided to look at the end-to-end insurance chain, personalize it and put more of the process in the hands of consumers. Hardcastle describes this as “democratizing technology.”

For Hardcastle, changing consumer attitudes about insurance involves taking a “show, don’t tell” approach. “As humans, we only believe what we see,” he adds.

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