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Start-up raises £180m to develop InsurTech focused “insurance challenger”

19th June 2017 - Author: Luke Gallin

Gryphon Group Holdings Limited, an InsurTech start-up, has raised £180 million (US$229 million) in funding as it looks to develop an insurance challenger designed to capitalise on substantial growth potential in the UK insurance market.

Gryphon logoThe new company will have a focus on life, critical illness, and income protection insurance, and by utilising advanced digital and cloud-based technology it aims to protect more families across the UK by focusing on customer and advisor needs.

Establishing greater trust and driving improved customer and advisor experience by using technology that enables the development of intuitive solutions and processes, says the company, will enable it to capitalise on the significant growth opportunity in the market, ultimately by putting customer and adviser needs at the core of its business.

“The insurance industry plays a pivotal role in our society but there is work to be done to keep pace with the evolving needs of customers and advisers. We felt there was a tremendous opportunity for an insurance challenger to build a business around the people it serves, and in doing so, establish strong long-term relationships built on trust,” said Daniel Pender, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gryphon Group Holdings.

Pender added; “We are creating what we think protection should look like in today’s digital age. Technology has moved on remarkably and our ambition is to embrace that, bringing an intuitive customer offer and adviser experience to market. This will give certainty to advisers when recommending our products and enable families to feel confident that we can offer the insurance that they need.”

Craven Street Capital Limited advised the capital raise, and the £180 million of funding for the new company has come from Leadenhall Capital Partners and Punter Southall Group. While not certain, the involvement of Leadenhall suggests the new venture could utilise the capital markets, with Leadenhall being a prominent force in the insurance-linked securities (ILS), or alternative capital space.

The investors were reportedly “compelled by the insight and drive of the management team, and cite the significant market opportunity that exists for an insurance challenger who can use today’s technology to create a business which improves customer and adviser experience.”

Life Portfolio Manager at Leadenhall, Dan Knipe, said; “Life protection is an area where good customer outcomes are vital, making a service focussed challenger an exciting proposition. We see strong growth potential for the business as the management team have a deep commitment to their vision and bring significant industry and technology expertise to make it a success.”

CEO of Punter Southall Group, Jonathan Punter, added; “We already know there is a significant protection gap in the UK. This translates into a great opportunity for an insurance company that can solve the issues of customer trust and adviser experience. This company, with its new approach, will be well placed to meet these challenges head on.”

Although the new company will have a strong focus on InsurTech, the firm has said that it will be people-centred rather technology-led. Digital and cloud technologies will support the infrastructure, with the core platform technology partner being Liss Systems, a UK entity owned by Nasdaq-listed technology group, EXL. The company also announced that the digital interface technology partner is Space.

“The insurance industry has been crying out for a challenger that is truly motivated by the idea of making things better for customers and advisers. We are delighted to be working with such an innovative business partner who has the conviction and ambition to reinvent protection from the ground up,” said Paul Brooks, Creative Partner, Space, digital interface technology partner.

Nigel Edwards, SVP Insurance Europe & Head of UK Service, EXL, Nasdaq-listed technology group
that own Liss Systems, added; “Driving innovation in the insurance sector is an important strategic priority for us at EXL. The business model will sit at the cutting edge of current insurance industry developments – providing more customer-centric products and services which deliver at those crucial policy ‘moments of truth’ for customers and advisers.”

“We are excited by the team’s vision. We’re looking forward to playing our part in building what is sure to become a hugely successful insurance business which combines the potential of new technologies with a clear people-centred design,” commented Guy Williams, Director, Liss Systems, core platform technology partner.

Pender added; “One of our key advantages is that from a technology perspective we are starting from a blank canvas with no legacy systems or constraints. This allows us to frame everything around the customer and adviser when creating the product, systems and processes. Ultimately, we want it to be intuitive, simple and easy.”

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