Insurance is rarely anyone’s favorite topic of conversation. Handling it all can be a headache that many of us would rather avoid. It’s a world that could greatly benefit from simplification – and that’s exactly what companies like Getsafe are promising.
Getsafe is a digital insurance company and one of the leaders in the insurtech space.
Getsafe utilizes new technology to create a seamless, app-based experience for purchasing insurance.
In this episode of Disruption Talks, Anthony Mayer, VP of Engineering, and Konrad Heimpel, VP of Product & Data at Getsafe, share the processes, innovation, and benefits behind Getsafe.
What is insurtech?
Insurtech is the use of technology to improve and streamline insurance industry practices. Much like fintech and the banking industry, insurance is an industry facing a digital shakeup. Just as neobanks are leaving traditional banks in the dust, insurtech companies look to be doing the same to incumbent insurance firms.
Companies like Getsafe aim to make purchasing and managing personal insurance a much more customer-friendly experience.
Filip Sobiecki: Can you both introduce yourselves?
Anthony Mayer: I’m the VP of Engineering at Getsafe. Before Getsafe, I worked mostly for Silicon Valley companies and spent some time working remotely for a German company in the marketing tech space. I’m originally from Germany, which is why I decided to move back here from the US. About a year ago, I got to meet some people from Getsafe, and realized there were some exciting opportunities in the space, so I jumped at the chance to join.
Konrad Heimpel: I’m the VP of Product & Data at Getsafe and joined one and a half years ago. I took over the data team back then and also took over the product lead around half a year ago. I’ve spent my whole professional life between strategy consulting with a big focus on digital products, product management, and digital business models.
What’s a day in the life like at Getsafe?
Konrad Heimpel: My day is usually full of one-on-ones. I love to spend time with my direct reports and team members discussing any issues that crop up and how to overcome them. A big part of my role right now is hiring, as we’re growing so fast.
Anthony Mayer: A lot of my day is spent with my team. Our engineering team is broken up into a squad model, so I’m actively involved with a few of those. As we scale up, it’s necessary to support the team so a lot of my time is spent in stand-ups, planning the week, or on one-on-ones.
Are there any new product features that you can tease?
Konrad Heimpel: Right now, we’re really doubling down on using our app, our digital product, as the channel and tool that the customer uses to manage everything.
Anthony Mayer: Claims is one of the areas where we're trying to really push ahead. The whole reason people have an insurance product is that unfortunate things happen. When they do, we want to be there to help them. When filing a claim, it's usually a confusing process. For a lot of people, it's hard, and we want to make it really easy.
Do you have any advice for building such high-performing engineering and product teams?
Anthony Mayer: We're hiring smart people and want to give them the chance to work independently to show us what they've got. We try to make sure there's a solid structure and clear goals, and a roadmap of where we want to go. Then we just let them operate independently. Not only does it give them more ownership, but it also gives them the drive to find the best solutions rather than being dictated to from the top.
Konrad Heimpel: We also always try to pair up people in teams that have diverse skills. Not everyone has the same kind of skills, so we pair people to maximize diversity. This keeps the right balance between the very detail-oriented people and also those who are more open to exploring new things.
What is your opinion on machine learning and data hygiene?
Konrad Heimpel: With data hygiene, I think you need to find a healthy balance between collecting everything and collecting it in a clean way. I think that there are tools out there that now do a major part of the job for you, so you don’t have to think too much about it.
On machine learning, I’m a fan of always looking at it from a user or business problem and really making sure that we’re solving something real. As we’re a start-up, we do not have unlimited funds, so we can’t throw money away on things that don’t have a real impact. It’s important to always have a clear idea of what kind of problem you’re solving before diving into machine learning.
What do you think the next big thing in insurtech will be?
Konrad Heimpel: I think there’s a whole ecosystem of interesting services and directions that the industry could go into. Looking at the B2B space, we’re adding a whole ecosystem of preventative measures, risk prevention, which will add another whole dimension between the user and the end company.
Anthony Mayer: Coming back to the data topic, as we have more data, we look at what things the customers are looking for? What are they filing claims for? What claims are getting rejected because of a lack of coverage?
Over time, we can use this data to provide the right kind of coverage for users without them even having to think about it. It’s like on Amazon when you make a big purchase, you’ll see an option to add an extended warranty.
What advantages do you have over the incumbents, and do you see them catching up?
Anthony Mayer: We absolutely have an advantage in the fact that technology is just ingrained into everything we do. Every decision we make is based on, “what can our platform do? What do we need to keep adding to it?”
The incumbents have legacy IT systems that are 40 years old at this point. We’re always innovating, whereas the incumbents might need years to get new people and start building technologies. That’s going to slow them down and make it harder to catch up.
What is your decision-making framework?
Konrad Heimpel: A prerequisite for me is that you need a good strategy and good goal setting. It needs to be a very specific decision that everyone can align with and discuss. When there’s an important decision to be made, we get everyone who’s affected and take the time to really discuss it and let everyone be heard.
Anthony Mayer: I love this idea, I think from Jeff Bezos, of there being one-way and two-way decisions. With one-way decisions, you go through with it, and there’s no going back. It’s either too difficult or expensive to change. With two-way decisions, you can always come back if it doesn’t work out.
The first thing I do is identify what type of decision it is. For two-way door decisions, I try to make them quickly. If it’s a one-way door decision, we’ll spend a little more time discussing it.
If you could give every 12-year-old in the world a new skill, what would it be?
Konrad Heimpel: I would help them to stay curious and open-minded about whatever comes their way. I would also help them to spend time on relevant problems, but also remember to have fun.
Anthony Mayer: I would say making sure everyone learns to understand the other side of an issue. I think it’s always important to work with context. Too often, people make the wrong assumption and tell people they’re wrong without understanding the reasoning behind it.
This discussion is part of our Disruption Talks recordings, where we invite experts to share their insights on winning innovation strategies, the next generation of disruptors, and scaling digital products. To get unlimited access to this interview and many more, sign up here: www.netguru.com/disruption/talks