General Manager of Verspieren Smart Up talks about their support for InsurTech



In an exclusive interview, Mr. Jérôme Laumonier talked to Global Health Insider about the newly-established Verspieren subsidiary, Smart Up, which seeks to fund and support innovative start-ups. Aligning to their digitalisation strategy, Verspieren hopes to identify disruptive technologies that can revolutionalise the insurance market through the project.


Mr. Laumonier, who spent five years as Verspieren’s Affinity Insurance Manager, felt that his current role is not a significant departure from his previous position. He explained that, beyond financing, the start-ups that they are partnering with often need guidance on finding the right affinity insurance solutions for their clients as well.


Verspieren Smart Up has currently received more than 200 pitches and will be looking out for trending areas such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics in its selection. Learn more from Mr. Laumonier in the full article below.


Q: What is the mission of Verspieren Smart Up?


Verspieren Smart Up is a financial holdings company, which aims to fund companies in a digital ecosystem, InsurTech or not. Our mission is to support inspiring and innovating ventures while providing them with valuable business expertise. We have a threefold goal. On one hand, we want to align our company with tomorrow’s innovative companies, disrupting the insurance market. On the other hand, we are looking to solidify our ties with the tech industry in order to encourage sharing experiences and to identify future opportunities and insurance needs. Finally, we are trying to diversify our brokerage activity and invest in high growth potential companies. We have an initial budget of 1.5 million euros equity in order to carry out this project. But we won’t prevent us to go further if opportunities emerge.


Q: How does it fit into Verspieren’s values, strategy and goals?


Verspieren Smart Up is completely in line with our strategy. Since its creation in 1880, Verspieren has always innovated and offered products that are now insurance standards. Working even closer with startups will allow us to work alongside innovating companies about to revolutionise the insurance market. This tight relationship will enable us to discover new tools that can improve our customer services, and to identify tomorrow’s products and services that may require new insurance needs or services.


We have always supported entrepreneurs, helping them grow and scale their ventures. Thanks to Verspieren Smart Up, we can now be more than an advisor and help them financially. This point is significant because for some startups, finding insurance solutions is like an obstacle course. Thus, we have helped French startups like Frizbiz, Ouistock and Adrénaline Hunter and find affinity insurance solutions that offer more essential services to their own customers, which is a plus to the customer promise (example: a damage insurance for the stored materials via the collaborative platform “Ouistock”).


More generally, this project is part of a global Group strategy of digitalisation. As such, we have created a digital hub that is led by Aicha Mahloul, who is now our Chief Digital Officer.


Q: How is your new role as the General Manager of Smart Up different from what you were doing before?


My role is rather more complementary than different of my former one. The start-ups we’re looking to partner with are in need of more than just financing. They may also need to offer affinity insurance solutions to their clients. This is where my five-year experience as Affinity Insurance Manager at Verspieren comes in.


Q: How many InsurTech companies is Smart Up projected to fund?


During the former 18 months, we had the opportunity to listen more than 200 start-ups’ pitches. The selective process needs time. More concretely, we may contract a first investment in two or three start-ups within next September.


Q:  What are the eligibility criteria? Will you be welcoming international projects?


It is not set in stone. However, we are looking for ventures with disruption potential, clear business model, solid management team, a clear business model with the ability to innovate.


Even though we understand start-ups have global potential and we are looking forward to assisting them in their international expansion, we are seeking France-based ventures to begin with.


Q: In your view, what are the top insurance-tech trends in which a broker should participate and engage? Any particular area you hope to see among the project proposals received?


We are focusing our attention on companies working on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and predictive analysis solutions.



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