Cloud Insurance, an all-in-one InsurTech solution, is currently in the midst of a global expansion effort. With new offices opening worldwide and an international partner programme in place, the company aims to become a leading provider in the insurance space.
The InsurTech offers a SaaS solution for the insurance industry, enabling insurers to reduce time on managing policies, claims, financials and reports. Clients can leverage the platform to implement digital services for policy administration, claims management and distribution, and improve customer journeys across digital channels.
When the company was founded in 2016, the founders made a critical decision. They wanted to become a global business. The quickest way to do that was by focusing on specific verticals. Tim Nguyen, CCO of Cloud Insurance, said, “We didn’t want to go out there and say that we will be the best for everyone because that’s too big of a task. Maybe we’ll get there one day, but to start with, we set a goal to become a leading global provider within our selected verticals.” This approach enabled the InsurTech company to build innovative solutions, quickly win clients globally and achieve drastic growth in revenue (in 2019 – 138%, in 2020 – 100%). Once it has a foothold on the global market, it can explore new products.
This international growth is now well underway. Cloud Insurance, which started in its home country of Norway, has customers and users in more than 20 countries on five continents. One of the most recent moves was into the UK, supported by a new UK office last year. Part of what makes the Cloud Insurance team unique and able to handle its international growth seamlessly is its diversity. Their team of 23 has nine different nationalities and includes techies, ex-consultants, and heavy hitters from the finance and insurance industries. It enables Cloud Insurance to have local knowledge of markets and better understand what the customers in that jurisdiction prefer.
When moving into a new jurisdiction, the way you sell an insurance policy might be similar, but there could be a range of differing regulatory requirements. It means having someone native can help ease the move by having a better understanding of how things work. Another benefit of having a diverse team is that it allows our customers to feel a closer connection since communication remains an important success criteria.The idea of caring for customers is another part of Cloud Insurance’s current expansion drivers. Mariia Shvets, Digital Marketing Manager of Cloud Insurance, said, “We want to be even closer to our customers. It enables us to actively react to the changes appearing in the insurance arena and provide innovative technology at the time when it is most needed.” Part of this includes helping MGAs, brokers and agencies to solve problems in the fastest way. The InsurTech aims to build solutions that can meet clients’ specific needs in every market and jurisdiction.
As for deciding what countries are prime for Cloud Insurance to move into, there are several factors that come into play. It includes market sizes versus growth potential and where the company can get closer to its existing customers. Shvets stated that its current priorities are Europe, the US, Canada and South Africa. However, the company is also looking at opportunities in the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Nguyen said, “We are still very agile and opportunistic. So it may also occur that next month we engage with an interesting prospect that says they would like to partner up and be present in their local market. We will, of course, do those kinds of considerations.”
Moving into the UK
As previously mentioned, Cloud Insurance launched its UK office last year, however, there were a number of difficulties along the way caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nguyen said, “In March 2020, we had two ways of approaching the pandemic situation. Either we can slowly pull the break to see how the pandemic will work out and then act afterwards. The second alternative was to say, ‘okay, we have everything in place, we have the financials and we have a plan in place, so we should we just gear up and then become a stronger company on the other end of the pandemic.”
The company had initially planned to move into the UK in March 2020, but the country, like many others, went into strict lockdown. The team stalled the launch, but just to better position itself. By August, the first lockdown was ending and it looked like the situation was improving, Cloud Insurance decided to push ahead with the office.
The decision to move into a new market during a turbulent time is tough, but Cloud Insurance have taken it in their stride. Nguyen said, “It has been more challenging than we expected, but at the same time, I would say that we have gained experience and we have used the time efficiently. We stuck to the plan, we ramped up and created a lot of awareness in London.” Over the past 11 months, Cloud Insurance has engaged with several players in the market, built a solid pipeline, and increased its awareness and interest within the market.
Having the challenge of the pandemic actually helped the team become stronger. Nguyen stated, “it has brought us some more dimensions into the way we work and the way we approach the market.” Echoing this sentiment, Shvets added, “We don’t think it’s impossible to have expansion during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is just the processes of expansion, the operations and overall go-to-market strategy changes. For us, with the UK, it just took some time to understand the transition from the way we usually expand.” Cloud Insurance had initially planned to boost awareness of its expansion by attending events and meetings, but the pandemic just required them to rethink the approach.
Moving into South Africa
The UK move is not the only recent expansion for Cloud Insurance. In June, the InsurTech company signed its first customer in South Africa, through a partnership with cloud-based insurance platform Kinga Insurance. The companies first engaged with each other in 2018. At the time, Kinga was looking to become the leading insurance provider in South Africa and was seeking technology to support this goal. This is where Cloud Insurance came in. The companies worked together and earlier this year, Cloud Insurance believed it was to make the move. This was led by its partner programme being ready to launch and a lot of prospects cropping up in Africa.
Shvets said, “We have got this customer thanks to our team flexibility, continuous product innovation, and of course, our marketing funnel. Being a relatively young company, we’ve been focused on the needs of our prospects and customers since day one. We do not sell to them anything just for the sake of selling, but being the partner for them, we help to solve a problem in the most convenient way. This is what really differentiates us on the market.”
A core part of Cloud Insurance’s expansion plans is with its Partner Distribution strategy. The partner programme launched last year and will hopefully boost the InsurTech’s market penetration. To achieve this, the InsurTech will leverage the local knowledge of partners and help build products around what the customers in the jurisdiction require.
There are three core pillars for the programme. The first is its sales and referral programme. It involves seeking new companies to work with. Cloud Insurance is seeking partners that will help to extend its presence in local markets through its existing network and promotions through their channels. The second pillar is its integration and implementation programme. It revolves around onboarding the client and helping them implement the Cloud Insurance software so they can start offering new products to their own customers. The final pillar is the support and operations programme. It comes into play once the client is fully onboarded and Cloud Insurance will continue to support them and help them meet the local customer needs.
Shvets stated that this programme will be the quickest way for Cloud Insurance to expand its international footprint. This is because people around the world can easily work with Cloud Insurance and build digital insurance offerings. With this in mind, Cloud Insurance has been careful to make sure its technology can be used by anyone. Nguyen added, “We need to develop our product in a way that is easy to onboard new partners, so that they can manage the processes themselves. We will fail if we keep our product to be something that only our team knows and can manage.”
With the partner programme well underway, Cloud Insurance is eager to accelerate its international presence. It is currently in the process of identifying a new market to move into, with its ambition to establish itself in one or two new countries by the end of 2021.
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