Canopy won ’startup of the year’ at the Insurance Times Tech & Innovation Awards last month  

Canopy has hit 10,000 users and appointed a new chief marketing officer.

Ruth Polyblank took up the position with the app-based rental market disruptor two weeks ago, after spending the last two years developing the SME division for Chubb in her former role as digital lead.

And in Q4, the firm’s app is looking to get an open banking function.

Polybank has 17 years of experience in the insurance industry and said her new role is about “driving customer agenda and making sure all customers’ needs are served.”

What really attracted her to move from a big incumbent to a startup was Canopy’s proposition in the way it is creating solutions for “generation rent” using a reward-based initiative.

Polybank added: “I have been in the industry a long time and have had the benefit of coming from a marketing background, but also understanding insurance and being able to build new products.

Ruth Polybank

Ruth Polybank, Canopy’s new chief marketing officer 

“I think insurance is a superb tool if used correctly. All too often I think we see insurance transacted the way it has always been transacted and its simply not fit for purpose for a lot of customers.”


Generation rent

Founded in 2016, Canopy is an app-based insurtech that caters to “generation rent” and all those in the process using a “simple one-off” insurance policy backed by Hiscox replacing the need for deposits.

Polybank, said: “What we are typically seeing in the world today of ‘generation rent’ is a whole generation of people who through no fault of their own are going to be renting for much longer and its growing exponentially in the UK.

“The process of renting isn’t really ‘fit for purpose anymore,’ it was designed when it was very paper based and cumbersome and although there are partial solutions in the market there isn’t really anyone who is making renting easier and more rewarding for renters as well as servicing everyone in the rental market.”

Canopy’s ‘rent passport’ feature allows customers to build a good credit rating through the firms’ partnership with Experian.

This means that content can be revisited through the app and bills can be split for those that share accommodation.

It functions as a portfolio and passport into rental properties doing away with “cumbersome referencing” that is time consuming and costly.

This feature Polybank said is one of the reasons it has seen a dramatic boost in users.

She said: “One of the massive benefits of our products is a customer who is simply paying rent using our rent passport increases their credit score and has recognition for that through our partnership with Experian which means that further down the line if they wish to buy a property they are in a much better position to get a mortgage.

“It’s our hope in the future to partner with providers to be able to innovate and get them a preferential rate of mortgages and mechanisms to help them save deposits while they rent if buying is what they want to do.

“We have strong partnerships in the agents and property sector, it’s good for them as they are reducing their administration through the application.”

She added: “It’s about understanding all the pain points and putting solutions in a single place, in a single ecosystem that people can access simply.”

Chief executive and founder, Tahir Farooqui said: “Since launching our latest version of the app in June, we are thrilled to already have 10,000 users.

”In such a short space of time, Canopy has proven its commitment to revolutionising the rental eco-system, transforming the lives of all parties involved in the rental process. The company has gone from strength to strength, and such a positive initial reaction to our offering of affordable financial products shows that this is just the beginning for Canopy.”

Canopy is a startup, which last year secured funding of £1.6m to expand across the UK. It won “insurance startup of the year” last month at the Insurance Times Tech and Innovation Awards. 

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