For those outside the UK, Ocado may not be a familiar name. Founded 20 years ago by two ex merchant bankers (Jason Gissing and Tim Steiner) as a disruptive grocery play with no physical shops and a direct from distribution centre to customer model - powered by technology to drive much of the backend inefficiencies out. On writing this, it's hard to believe it's been 20 years.
I'm a huge Ocado fan, they have been delivering to our house for over 10 years. It just works so well for us as a family and saves time.
I often challenge my team to find the link back to insurance in just about everything. One of my most read articles is where I explored the link between insurance and supermodels (I promise, there is one).
Not quite as captivating, reading this article, got me thinking...what are the similarities between Ocado and their pivot to technology in the grocery market and InsurTech?
We have seen many insurers already move away from 'direct to market' to focus solely on their tech (for example, Trov who are now a pure platform play for other insurers). Many others have followed suit and I think it's a super smart move. I have written before about the core system being the lowest common denominator for the InsurTech revolution here.
So if we apply the same principal to todays InsurTech's, that means you are either a full stack carrier (new tech, but focus on dividend) or an enabler (tech company). My take is, there are more miles (and money) in the latter, given how dated many of the technology estates are in the traditional insurance world. It's why companies like Instanda, Kasko, Unqork, EIS and so many others exist and are doing so well, and why others have pivoted. Focus on the pain point we all know that's staring us right in front of our eyes.
That leads us to Lemonade and their imminent IPO. There is plenty of good commentary and wild speculation out there. For me, the key question is - should we be judging them as a full stack insurer (WeFox, Poncho etc)? Or as an amazing new technology stack that could be licensed to other carriers? (Following the example of Ocado)
The other key difference, at least in the UK, is market saturation. Almost all personal lines insurance in the UK is already online and digital acquisition (direct and aggregators) vs the grocery market which has doubled in recent months from approx 7% to 13% - leaving huge amounts of opportunity for growth.
In the insurance world, if we are at 80%+ online already, it purely comes down to being the best and most efficient processor and acquirer of customers. Time will tell...
On that note, I'm off to order the weekly shop and see what cake I'm baking this weekend. Maybe my next article will be the link between cake baking and insurance...the link is strong than you think.
It said the new money would provide “the financial flexibility to capitalise on opportunities arising from the significant acceleration in online adoption and grow faster over the medium term”. Although the company still sells groceries direct to consumers in the UK, its main focus — and the main driver of its share price — is the commercialisation of its intellectual property through licensing deals with other food retailers.