Insurance Times cuts the opening ribbon of Daniel Pender’s new venture, which aims to ‘to solve the problem that everyone’s been trying to solve’ in terms of bringing new products to market promptly

EXCLUSIVE: Former Zurich chief financial officer and Prudential UK and Europe executive director Daniel Pender has today launched a brand new business that is designed to provide a “turnkey solution” for insurance individuals who view themselves as “a frustrated change-maker”.

The business, called Insurian, aims to support UK-based insurers, brokers, MGAs and brands to bring new products to market, including embedded insurance – the “full turnkey solution” will see Insurian work closely with client firms to design, build and then manage insurance propositions for both the general and life insurance markets.

Explaining the business proposition, Pender told Insurance Times: “If you are a frustrated change-maker, you’re somebody who wants to bring about change, you’ve got loads of product ideas in your mind and you have authority and some resources – money effectively – then you can approach me at Insurian.

“We could then collaborate to build and design that product. Once that is agreed and signed off as a design, we would then build that product on the Insurian platform and we would then service that product right from collection of premium through to [the] first notification of loss, or indeed beyond depending on the specification that was agreed with that client.

“It’s really a turnkey solution. It’s an outsourcing of a capability. It’s effectively a way in which a change-maker can access ringfenced resources and focus and expertise.”

Pender added that Insurian is a “new way to solve the problem that everyone’s been trying to solve”.

He continued: “We’re effectively creating something a bit new here. It’s not a technology solution – it’s a turnkey proposition, development and management solution.

“We’re solving a technology problem for sure, but also we’re solving the creative design aspect of it from an insurance point of view and then we’re going to run the propositions for people, so they don’t need to set up an operations team and all the other things that you’d need to have.”

Ultimately, Pender has “designed Insurian for somebody like I was formerly in past roles”, targeting the business at insurance professionals “who want to make a difference, who [have] got an idea or several ideas and then come up against many obstacles in bringing them about”.

The business will also be able to assist insurance firms to access new markets.

Turnaround timing

According to Pender, Insurian will be able to launch new products “in a matter of weeks” compared to the 12 to 24 months he has seen it take on average to complete this process at large insurance companies.

“Most larger companies have very significant legacy challenges and that is a very big impediment. Lots of their resources get dedicated to solving their other legacy challenges as opposed to being ringfenced for new ideas and innovation,” he said.

“With Insurian, we can ringfence a group of people to specialise and focus [on launching the product]. Then suddenly, you dramatically lower the risk, you dramatically lower the cost [and] the opportunity for cost overruns. Therefore, it’s a much safer solution for people.”

This speed of product delivery can be attributed to two things, Pender continued. Firstly, Insurian is not “slowed down by well-intentioned bureaucracy”.

He explained: “Often bureaucracy is well intentioned, but it does cause a detrimental effect to speed and, therefore, depending on the arrangement of the capital provider, we can take it from design through to customer product in a matter of weeks. It’s extremely fast to do it this way.”

Secondly, Insurian has the mindset of an insurtech business.

“It’s a way of effectively accessing insurtech thinking, insurtech speed, insurtech delivery focus, but you might be sitting in a corporate,” Pender noted.

“You don’t then have to go re-platform your entire business. You don’t have to set up a big project internally building your own insurtech brand. You can just say ‘hey, I’d really like a great motor policy’ and then work with us to bring that to happen.”

Pender added that an insurtech-style delivery enables “the ability to set the bar higher”.

He explained: “With insurance companies, you start out with your blue sky thinking of what you want and then slowly you peel back those layers of that idealised onion.

“Those layers come off pretty quickly – ‘our system can’t do that, that’s going to be too expensive, yeah that would be great but that breaks that protocol or deal over here’. There’s so much legacy, so you’ve got all these problems to deal with.

“When you’re an insurtech, you can say ‘what is the right thing to do in this blue sky?’ And then you basically deliver that. So, you can set the bar higher and the team are galvanised to deliver that.

“Everybody on the team is there to deliver on that single idealised answer as opposed to perhaps being in a large organisation and not quite knowing what that project is but you’re responsible.”

Plus, insurtechs tend to have more focus as well as a different people culture, where staff are “all shooting for that same, focused purpose”, Pender added.

‘Avengers assemble’

To bring Insurian to fruition, Pender shook hands on a couple of partnership deals that he described as “a bit of an ‘Avengers assemble’ moment”.

This includes linking up with no and low code technology solution business Genasys, which Pender said “has a series of pre-configured products – they’re all cloud-based, multi-currency, multi-risk, multi-language, multi-everything”.

Speaking on the partnership, Genasys chief growth officer André Symes said: “Dan is a passionate believer in the good that insurance can do but has been at the sharp end of experiencing how long it can take for a provider to get something new and different out to market.

“The Genasys-powered Insurian platform is designed to take the tech headache away, remove the need to tackle any legacy challenge and get a new product launched on time and on budget. We’re delighted to be part of this innovative solution.”

Insurian’s second partner is SS&C, which will “work as part of the build to create a great service proposition” and “provide an outsourced administration service for the new insurance products delivered by Insurian”.

Nick Wright, chief executive of SS&C Global Investor and Distribution Solutions, added: “We aim to provide technology, services and support to simplify the lives of financial services organisations and we are delighted to partner with Dan and his team to bring value to this growing sector.”

Time to get moving

In terms of next steps following today’s launch – revealed exclusively by Insurance Times – Pender said he’d “really like to get this machine moving, tell people the story and then build some great products”.

So far, he has “pipeline conversations happening” as well as “some really in-depth conversations with a couple of insurers”.

Although Pender has been actively working on setting up Insurian since the end of last year, he’s had the idea for the business for several years.

“This has been multiple months in the planning, so bringing this to market and getting it out there - it’s nice to be able to talk about what I’ve been working on and I’ve had a huge amount of support from my network and a lot of interest,” he said.

“So now, it’s going to be about actually turning that interest into business and getting some propositions built.”