Former BGL Insurance chief executive has also joined the insurtech as non-executive director
Home insurance specialist insurtech Uinsure has secured a minority investment from Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, to help “accelerate the growth of the business” and support its ambitions to scale through acquisition.
Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Simon Taylor – Uinsure’s founder and chief executive – explained that the new investment aims to place the insurtech “on the road to accelerate growth”.
He explained: “[LDC has] invested to help us accelerate the growth of the business. What that does is it puts us on the road to accelerate growth – it brings in more expertise [and] more funding to deliver on a number of initiatives that we’ve been working on for the last year or so.”
The new “expertise” joining the organisation includes former BGL Insurance chief executive Peter Thompson coming on board as non-executive director, effective from 1 February 2024.
In this role, Thompson plans to share his insurance know-how and contacts with Uinsure in order to optimise insurance-centric areas of the business, such as pricing.
Thompson told Insurance Times: “It’s a very exciting and vibrant growth business with the right technology platform. Delighted to be on board.”
The investment transaction completed on 25 January 2024. As part of the deal, Uinsure’s existing management team have remained in situ – alongside Taylor, this includes group managing director Martin Schultheiss, chief financial officer James Fawcett and Dan Wright, non-executive chair.
LDC’s Aziz Ul-Haq and Dale Alderson, both partners at the private equity firm, have joined Uinsure’s board following completion of the investment.
Ul-Haq said: “Uinsure’s recent large scale investment in its technology means it is perfectly placed to serve its target market by offering a digital-first solution with a competitive edge.
“It has a highly experienced and incredibly ambitious management team whose offering has disrupted the industry and revolutionised the market.
“We’re looking forward to working with them to help it grow further.”
Manchester-based Uinsure was founded by Taylor in 2007 – this followed Taylor setting up broker services business Bankhall in 1993, which he subsequently sold to Lynx in 2000 and then Skandia Life in 2002.
Taylor decided to leave Bankhall in 2005 – however, a three-year exit deal saw him commit to deliver a home insurance provision to Bankhall’s independent financial advisor (IFA) clients. This led to the creation and launch of Uinsure in 2007 with a fully online proposition.
Today, Taylor describes Uinsure as a technology business operating in the insurance market.
Working with IFA and mortgage broker partners, the insurtech’s proprietary, cloud-based platform is integrated into the mortgage application process to automatically provide home, buildings and content insurance quotes at key points in the mortgage submission process – for example, at the exchange of contracts – from a panel of UK insurers including RSA, LV= and Ageas.
Uinsure’s technology pulls the majority of the information needed for an insurance quote from the mortgage application form itself.
Taylor explained: “The key differentiator for us is that if you go on an aggregator to get a home insurance quote, it’s typically between 50 and 60 questions. We literally ask two questions to get a binding quote and we use Big Data to bring in the rest of the information.
“Where we integrate the Uinsure platform through an application programming interface (API), we actually don’t ask any questions because we drag the information from the mortgage application form or the customer relationship management platform – so things like year built, number of bedrooms, postcode, all those sorts of questions that we need from an underwriting perspective, we drag through and produce a quote.”
For Thompson, this functionality is “properly ground-breaking” and “truly phenomenal”, which was why he was so keen to join the insurtech in a non-executive capacity.
Uinsure has enjoyed a certain amount of organic growth in recent years – for example, it has achieved an average 27% growth per annum over the last 10 years, as well as doubled its headcount from 50 to 110 over the last two years.
However, Taylor and Thompson plan to press fast-forward on this growth trajectory thanks to the investment from LDC, aiming to double Uinsure’s current £70m gross written premium in the next two years.
“[In the] next two years, growth should continue even further,” Taylor confirmed.
Alongside hiring insurance personnel, with Thompson’s steer, Taylor plans to scale up the insurtech through the acquisition of other home insurance-related businesses.
Furthermore, the chief executive wants to expand Uinsure’s client base – while continuing to double down on its core clientele of mortgage brokers and IFAs, Taylor also wants to add more building societies, banks and lenders to the firm’s customer roster.
The business started working with building societies six years ago and currently serves 11 of the UK’s 44 building societies, including Leeds Building Society. Typically, building societies will be tied to a single insurer, Taylor explained, however Uinsure’s panel approach can provide these lenders with “a better price and better technology”.
He continued: “What big insurers can’t offer today is state of the art tech. We can do that, so we see a lot of our growth coming from the lender market over the next few years.”
Other initiatives that will benefit from LDC’s investment include improving the firm’s data and pricing models, as well as extending the insurtech’s product set to include non-standard, mid net worth, landlord and lettings cover. Taylor noted that Uinsure wants to simplify the user journey across these product lines in the same way it has done for the IFA and mortgage broker market.
Thompson added that Taylor’s vision for Uinsure is to be the home for all mortgage-related general insurance transactions.
He continued: “The investment that LDC is making is just going to help us unlock that [ambition] quicker in terms of scaling the business and how fast we are able to address the different opportunities.”
For the investment transaction, Uinsure was advised by GP Bullhound, Eversheds Sutherland and Deloitte, with bank facilities provided by HSBC and Santander.
Meanwhile, LDC was advised by DLA Piper, KPMG and LEK Consulting.
During her tenure so far, she has taken home prizes such as Best Trade Award and Publication of the Year from Biba’s annual Journalist and Media Awards, been annually shortlisted in the General Insurance Journalist of the Year (B2B) category at Headlinemoney’s yearly awards event, as well as received numerous highly commended prizes in the Insurance and Risk Features Journalist of the Year category at WTW’s annual Media Awards.View full Profile