Insurtech was one of the big VC bets of 2017, and that looks set to continue into the new year as startups spot gaps in the insurance market.
This has already seen new types of products launch, such as Zego’s gig economy insurance play or pay-as-you-drive insurance from Cuvva, which address changes in the way we work and live, respectively.
Continuing this trend is Dinghy, a new startup that offers “flexible” insurance for freelance professionals, all delivered and managed through a mobile app. Officially launching today, the London-based company is also disclosing $1.2 million in seed funding led by Balderton Capital, with participation from unnamed industry angel investors, and insurance investment company ReSolution.
Aimed primarily at tech developers, designers and consultants, but capable of insuring any freelance professional, Dinghy offers a suite of insurance cover. This includes professional indemnity, equipment cover, public liability, and cyber liability. The latter is designed in case client data you handle is lost via a cyber attack.
But the company’s key differentiator is being mobile-first and more flexible than traditional insurance products in this space.
“Traditional insurance is a slow and tedious process, that is not designed for freelancers,” says Dinghy co-founder Rob Hartley. “Also, traditional insurers do not give freelancers the ability to change their insurance when they are not working, so freelancers either pay for coverage they don’t need, or worse, cancel their policy and throw away the insurance coverage they just paid for”.
In contrast, says Hartley, Dinghy is built from the ground-up by freelancers (with over 39 years insurance and tech experience) for freelancers, and the resulting product enables cover to be applied for and managed all online through the Dinghy app. This includes making changes to your policy with zero admin fees.
“Freelancers can change their working status to save money on their insurance when they are not working but keep their insurance protection,” he explains.
In addition, the claims process is available online 24 hours a day, so you don’t need to wait on hold to make a claim. This also means 24/7 claims handling for equipment, which sees Dinghy committed to replacing equipment within 24 hours of notification. If that isn’t possible, the startup says it will provide an instant cash settlement so you can source what you need as quickly as possible.
“We know that freelancers rely on their equipment to work, so we wanted a solution to meet their expectations of being served as quickly as possible,” says Hartley. Perhaps fitting its target customer, who themselves are sometime chasing payment, Dinghy also charges in arrears.
Adds the Dinghy co-founder: “We anticipate our main customers to be tech professionals, management consultants and designers who are driven to buy insurance by work contracts. However, we hope to reach out to the creative industries who typically do not buy insurance as it’s painful and confusing; and show them that there is a better way to insure their business risks”.
As for what other insurance products might be next, Hartley doesn’t want to give too much away, lest he alert competitors. However, obvious holes include accident or illness cover, late or unpaid invoices, and travel insurance.
Meanwhile, Balderton Capital partner Rob Moffat reckons the traditional insurance model doesn’t provide the affordable and flexible cover that many freelancers need to fit their own flexible way of working.
“There is a huge opportunity for a company that offers Professional Indemnity and other policies on a ‘pay as you use’ model, which the Dinghy founders understand deeply through their unique combination of insurance and freelance experience,” he says.