’By the end of 2025, we expect to be a much larger organisation than we are,’ says chief executive
Seismic events in recent years, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, hit the travel insurance sector hard – with lockdowns seriously impacting bottom lines.
These tough times subsequently saw around half a dozen major players, such as Mapfre and Union Reiseversicherung (URV), making market exits from the UK travel insurance sector.
April 2021 also saw the two cofounders of travel insurance insurtech Blink Parametric depart from their roles for other opportunities.
The two departees – Paul Prendergast, who was also chief executive, and chief technology officer Peter Bermingham – were then replaced by Sid Mouncey 18 months ago, who was appointed the insurtech’s new chief executive and tasked with the objective of rebuilding the business post-Covid.
Mouncey previously worked for Blink’s parent company CPP Group in various senior roles and most recently as its chief operating officer, a role he has remained in alongside his position for Blink.
CPP Group bought Blink just six months after the Lloyd’s Lab alumni was set up in 2016.
Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Mouncey says: “Travel insurance insurtech business Blink was doing well before Covid hit and decimated the business. CPP Group really had to strip down costs for Blink because there was no traction for [around] two years and coming out of Covid the group really wasn’t sure what to do with [it].”
Being a relatively small business, Covid impacted the insurtech significantly.
Mouncey explains: “After a strategic review, the main decision was to focus time and effort on the whole group to drive Blink forward [and] try to ride the opportunity that exists in the global travel insurance market.
”With the forecasted growth of the travel industry over the coming years, it’s a really timely place for us to operate and roll out products.”
For the last 12-18 months, Mouncey says that Blink has been building out its products, making sure infrastructure and platforms are in place and opening a new headquarters in Cork, alongside launching a major recruitment drive.
Top tech talent
Speaking about the firm’s recruitment drive, Mouncey continues: “We are doing a big recruitment drive here in Cork, Ireland – our technology team are based here and some of our commercial teams are in head office in Leeds.
“We have developed a strong pipeline of insurers that we are working with.”
The insurtech aims to recruit a handful of staff this year, build the numbers up in 2024 and is targeting 30 tech job hires by 2025.
“By the end of 2025, we expect to be a much larger organisation than we are,” he says.
”We are also looking to enhance our product suite in travel insurance and are looking to roll out a full user experience from other products in Cork.”
Parametric travel solutions
Blink has also been working on its parametric solution for flight delays – the firm partnered with Europe Assistance and CPP Italy in June 2023 to create a product that allows insured travellers who register their flight schedule to get compensation should a delay or cancellation occur on an outward, connecting or return flight.
The insurtech has also been working on its lost luggage solution, which it has embedded in travel insurance policies from various providers and pays out if luggage does not arrive within a set time frame.
Parametric insurance is a model where the trigger and indemnity are preset, so claims can be paid automatically.
The insurtech is now live in ten countries including the UK, US, Canada, South Korea, Ireland, Italy and Germany.
Mouncey explains: “Our model is to identify and work with large global multinational travel insurers. What we see is that once a big market player has put a parametric flight solution live, others follow.”
When Blink made its flight delay solution live with one partner, the next partner followed just four months later and it now has five clients in Canada alone.
“What we are seeing is that some partners are slower to roll this out – the more risk averse, heavily regulated European markets have not been that fast,” he adds.
Mouncey notes that Blink has access to around nine years of historical data, which helps it with pricing the risks associated with travel.
In the UK, Blink partnered with Irish technology firm Firemelon to create a system that allows different partners to turn Blink’s solutions on as a configuration option with their policy administration system.
These travel claim can be filed via a smart phone and due to the parametric model, can be paid automatically.
Mouncey adds: “We’re still seeing the majority of these delayed flight claims take eight weeks to be handled by travel insurers.
“It generally takes three to four weeks to make a claim [for customers, while] our aim is to handle a customer claims [at the point of claim]. We are trying to close that gap. The future is exciting, there’s so much opportunity with insurers looking to innovate in product sets.”
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