Kinsu: The “kind” app promising to change the way you feel about insurance
7 min read
25 April 2018
Real Business sat down with Chris Sharpe, CEO and co-founder at new socially conscious insurance app Kinsu, to discuss ethical standards amongst tech startups and helping customers by getting rid of bullsh*t insurance jargon.
Offering something different in an industry that’s traditionally complex and uninspiring, Kinsu is the new app promising to make insurance simple and transparent for consumers, whilst making the industry a force for social good.
For every home contents insurance policy bought from Kinsu, the startup helps one rough sleep get off the streets via charity partner StreetLink. Launched in early 2018, the app is available to download for iOS via the iTunes App Store and Android on Google Play.
(1) In your own words, how would you describe Kinsu?
Kinsu is the fastest and kindest insurance app in the UK. We have built a beautiful platform for distributing truly wonderful insurance products for people who, up until now, have for whatever reason not engaged with the traditional insurance players.
Kinsu currently provides market-leading phone, gadget, bike and contents insurance through an easy to use app, backed by the world class security of Lloyd’s of London.
We have a claims’ promise that states: “We will pay out, not wriggle out. And if it’s grey we pay” If there is any confusion about the policy we will look for ways to pay out. and we don’t put up your premiums just because you make a claim.
(2) Why did you decide to launch the business?
We realised that everybody hates insurance! It’s a shame there is such a disconnect between how people perceive insurance and what it does. We think it’s beautiful, it’s a truly elegant system of sharing risk.
Insurance is the essence of the sharing economy – the premiums of the many, paying for the losses of the few – and with charming heritage. The birth of insurance came from communities clubbing together to buy a fire engine.
There was something missing from the world of insurance today. We built Kinsu to solve the problems facing insurance and make people fall in love with it again.
(3) What needed changing about the traditional world of insurance?
Insurance is all about behaviour and delivering on promises when people need you most, so for Kinsu behaviour is extremely important. It starts with our products and simple policy, informs our technology and our UX and then dictates our claims service.
I think the insurance industry is well meaning and sincere but doesn’t quite put the customer at the centre of the whole process. We at Kinsu are trying to put that right.
(4) Has Kinsu been met with any scepticism from the insurance sector?
None! We have been met with joy, excitement and sometimes confetti. The insurance industry is comprised of a lot of smart and wonderful people – lots of whom we know very well, all helping to make the wheels of this world turn.
(5) What’s been the key challenge when accessing funding?
We were quite lucky in that we did not have too many funding challenges. We know enough crazy people who believe in our mission, our product and most importantly in us, to help make something meaningful out of this lovely idea.
(6) What are the “responsible” and “ethical” elements of your brand?
Responsible is about our commitment to making insurance better for the customer. Better in terms of product fit and value, and better in terms of ease of use, and in terms of reducing the anxiety surrounding the whole process.
Ethical is pointing towards our corporate structure as an aspiring B-Corp and Tech For Good – we’re striving to be the good guys of insurance. This means thinking about and taking on responsibility to treat all our stakeholders with equal respect.
Currently, we make a donation to StreetLink for every policy we sell to help one rough sleeper get away from the street.
(7) Why has it become important to introduce ethical standards for tech businesses?
I think it’s important for all businesses, not just tech or insurance businesses. More generally in society, we are seeing governments struggling to control and protect labour, and increasingly obvious to me, there is little appetite to do something about it.
Businesses have to take on that responsibility for themselves and people will “vote” with their wallets for companies that share and live the same values that they have.
(8) Which companies/ business leaders do you admire for their ethical values, and why?
I’m sure most would suggest leading founders that have been hugely successful and have grown radically, such as the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world. But that’s not what I think it’s about. I admire everyone else – the B-corp CEO’s, teachers, doctors and nurses, not for profit workers and many other inspirational people who don’t make the news.
I admire them for aspiring for more than cash and shareholder value. They have a more thoughtful and broader definition of success and are trying to create a better world, not just trying to grab hold of a massive slice of it.
(9) What are your main business objectives in 2018?
To grow Kinsu into our target audience, to sell great insurance products and prove there is a Kinsu-shaped hole in the UK insurance market. And to still be in business in 2019!
(10) In the next five years, where do you see Kinsu headed?
We hope to become the insurer of choice for the digital generation, providing a thoughtful, well-designed product for busy people and make the world a little bit better along the way.