The chief executive wants to engage younger consumers with insurance through boxing and social media
Being an insurtech entrepreneur is much like being a boxer, according to Stubben Edge chief executive Chris Kenning.
There are competitors trying to win an advantage, constant ups and downs as a predetermined strategy won’t always ensure a win and match success is mainly built away from the ring.
That’s why during times of stress, Kenning has always turned to boxing – it is a sport he has loved since he was 13-years-old.
Kenning tells Insurance Times: “I do think that boxing is relevant to business – it’s about winning, it’s competitive.
“It’s about how you can reconcile your confidence because you don’t get it right all the time. You must be reactive and responsive, as well as building resilience, so that you get through different parts. That’s what I have learned from it.”
Founded in 2018, Stubben Edge - which provides technology for financial services intermediaries - secured £5.6m capital in February 2023.
This brought its valuation to around £175m following an acquisition spree in Q4 last year - this included the purchase of insurtech Insurercore in December 2022.
Engaging new audiences
For Kenning, boxing is also a way of engaging young people with insurance.
This is why during the Covid-19 pandemic - when gyms were shut due to national lockdown measures - Kenning started a unique boxing project.
Alongside Stubben Edge’s chief technology officer Jason Bingham and former professional fighter Ciaran Duffy, Kenning designed an app called Duffy Boxing, which will launch in April 2023.
The app aims to give users content about boxing training, to help those who want to take up the sport without spending a fortune.
Kenning explains: “If you are going to engage with a different demographic, in terms of the younger generation, particularly for financial advice, they don’t have the same requirements as their parents - but sports is something that actually allows you to have that conversation.
“What we are looking to do is build [the app] around our life insurance offering, so we can offer it to the mass market at a low cost – but also allow it to be embedded into other insurance products.”
Other stakeholders in the app include British professional boxer and light heavyweight Johnny Nelson, as well as former boxer Spencer Oliver, who is now a pundit for Sky Sports.
Once the app has launched, Kenning hopes to use some of the profits from this to start his own boxing club for the wider community. He hopes that fighters from the club will then be able to create associated social media content that also highlights relevant insurance products.
He gave the example of a boxer who mentioned an insurance brand in his post-fight social media interview after a bout at Wembley Arena earlier this year - this video received 1.4 million views. Kenning feels this approach would be a great way to engage a younger demographic with insurance products.
Kenning believes that Stubben Edge’s boxing app shows “how technology, data and products in the insurance industry can be flexed to do interesting things” – this is also often something that independent brokers do, he adds.
Discipline and resilience
For Kenning, boxing and achieving physical fitness requires discipline and resilience - traits that are also needed to succeed in business.
He says: “Boxing is dancing for people that are bad at dancing - it’s a discipline.
”The physical side of it is a good stress reliever, but it’s not just about physical fitness. It is the mental side of how am I going to beat that person? You can benchmark yourself quite well.
“The gym is an interesting place because there is no hierarchy beyond who trains the hardest. You get to speak to people from all different parts of life. That’s what I find fascinating – there’s a community.”