Breaking the silence. What we’ve been up to…
We’ve been a bit quiet recently. That’s because we’ve been reflecting on what we should be offering and how we can make the biggest impact on people’s lives. So here’s an update of where we are — the first Pluto monthly update, written slightly late.
Operating within an industry that’s riddled with complexity and hidden small print, transparency is one of our core values. So, in the spirit of being transparent, every month we’ll give a quick update on how we’re doing building travel insurance that’s out of this world.
Rethinking what we’re offering
Over the past few months, we’ve been learning from the first proposition we launched into the market. And to summarise: it wasn’t good enough. We were trying to help people “manage” their existing insurance policies, but we weren’t delivering enough value in exchange for the effort it would take someone to sign up to the service. What’s more, with this proposition we weren’t able to have an influence over the worst things about insurance. Stuff like not knowing what to buy, figuring out what you’re covered for, or suffering through a claims process.
So we decided if we wanted to have a real impact and make the fundamentals of insurance better, we needed to sell insurance. So, we set ourselves the challenge of creating a proposition that overcame all of the terrible things about buying insurance, starting with travel. And the proposition we landed on is: Travel insurance for people who don’t like insurance. Easy to understand. Hassle-free claims. On your side.
Pluto here we come!
More changes you ask? Are you guys mad? Doing things differently is what gets the team out of bed in the morning, it’s why we started our own business. On this point, we realised that our previous brand identity and name (Mia) didn’t reflect our desire to do things differently, so we needed a change.
To quote the full article from our Head of Product & Design, Harry
To deliver on this, we need to do things differently…To overcome this, we want to build a brand and product that’s bold, progressive, smart, fun, and even a bit of a renegade.
Our old colour palette was generic to insurance and the name felt cliche.
This led us to a new name: Pluto. Why? Because we’re creating travel insurance that’s out of this world. Beyond this, planet Pluto is the epitome of a renegade. The planet Pluto doesn’t fit into the category of a “regular planet”. It sits alone as a ‘dwarf planet’. The little guy out there doing things differently. That’s us.
Check out the full article here.
Support from the Swiss
Insurance is a serious business, there’s lots of regulation, you need have a lot of capital (money) in order to sell it, and you need expertise in calculating the risk of the insurance you’re selling. This isn’t something we can ourselves, we also quite like that we don’t have insurance expertise in the founding team (this might seem counterintuitive, but it helps us approach things with a fresh pair of eyes, no limits, shoot for dwarf planet and all!).
So…we need to work with an insurer a.k.a. an underwriter. For us, this comes in the form of the trustworthy Swiss insurer giant Zurich. They’re not new to working with startups and they have their own programme for engaging with early stage companies, called the Innovation Foundry, of which we’re now in the final phase of, the pilot stage. This means we’re both committed to launching something live in the market as soon as possible to prove the demand, the technology and any operational aspects.
All about the money
This isn’t strictly true, but without a little money, it’s very difficult to get a business off the ground and build something amazing. In July we closed our first fundraising round and boy did we learn a lot!
We also surprised ourselves and raised more than we thought. We closed our pre-seed round at £115k, to some people this is a lot of money, to some people it’s not very much. Importantly for us, it’s the magic number for us to get a product into the hands of our customers and prove we’re solving a problem in an awesome way. There really isn’t anything more important to us over the next few months.
Playing in the Sandbox
What has a sandbox got to do with launching an insurance company? Turns out quite a lot!. The FCA have created what they call a Regulatory Sandbox, effectively a safe space for startups, or any company in fact, doing something a bit different (from a regulatory perspective). It’s an opportunity to have your hand held through the process of becoming a regulated company, which is required to sell travel insurance.
We’re proud to say that we were accepted into the 2018 cohort! Along with loads of other interesting companies, from automated mortgage advisers, to blockchainers and even Natwest bank.