Insurance Edge is tagging along on the Tour de Insurtech ride this July, so here is a little preview of the event;
The event is one of those light-bulb ideas that Andre Symes from Genasys Technologies had earlier this year, after lockdown got him out cycling a bit more in 2020. As well as a chance to tour around some scenic parts of the UK, the ride also brings together some interesting people from the world of UK Insurtech.
The Tour starts in London, moves into Kent, explores Essex, veers North to Nottingham, then across to historic Chester. Then it ventures into the SW, with stops at Bristol and Dartmouth.
IE chatted with Ed Gaze and Andy Thornley recently, and we will be updating this piece with some more Q&A comments from the riders involved with the various stages, over the next few weeks.
ED GAZE – LLOYD’S LAB
Ed has been a pioneer on two fronts; he works at Lloyd’s Lab, which as many people in the insurance sector know is bringing new ideas forward. Plus Ed is a subscriber to the Boris Bike service, having previously had a bike stolen and figured it made more sense to pay about £90 a year to hire a bike whenever it was the best mode of transport around London town. Yes, the Netflix lifestyle works!
Ed is doing his stage on a Boris commuter bike just to keep it real, so IE wondered if he had developed a sixth sense to counter the various road traffic hazards in London?
” I used to be a motorcycle rider, so I’m used to looking into the whites of taxi driver’s eyes to try and figure out if they are going to make a quick U-turn. You use the same tactics on a bicycle, basically you are always scanning traffic for erratic behaviour, something that doesn’t go with the flow. One way to escape the risk is use towpaths though – really enjoy cycling along the canal – plus there are new cycle lanes in London now that let you feel separate from the traffic.”
Is insurtech racing ahead in 2021 IE wondered?
“I used to think insurance was boring, but after getting into the Lloyd’s Lab I really think it’s an exciting time right now. We are enabling people to cope with everyday risks, in every aspect of their lives. Tech is letting insurers look at emerging risks and build new products in just a few months, or weeks.”
ANDY THORNLEY – CARPENTERS GROUP
Andy is well known to many in the insurance sector as the voice of BIBA’s press office for some years. Now at Carpenters, Andy is a keen cyclist who used to race mountain bikes in his teens. He really got back into the world of two wheels during the lockdowns, which as he says `was great at first in London as there was much less traffic on the roads, plus we now have more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods too, which makes it that bit safer.’
IE wanted to know what Andy thoguht of the e-scooter trials in London;
“The hired e-scooters will be restricted to 12.5mph in London, rather than the 15mph in other cities, which will make it safer. They are also using geo-location ring-fencing, so an e-scooter will only be useable in certain areas, you can’t just ride off miles away. I have used an e-scooter in Liverpool when I visited there by train and then finished the journey on the e-scooter – really good fun. Overall, because there are loads of bicycles on the roads already in London I think the scooters will kind of blend in.”
Andy also thinks there is a wider movement towards shared space transport now in cities, which is good news for insurtech companies since we will all need new PAYG policies;
“You can see that in a few years’ time there will be as many car renters as owners. Space in cities is at a premium, so why own a car, when you might only need to use one a few dozen times a year? The other thing is that 5G opens up so many possibilities in insurance and connected things, not just cars and scooters. With 4G you can network about 100K connections per square kilometre, but on 5G that increases to one million. That really means you can gather data from all over, truly interact with various devices. Brokers and insurtechs can use those 5G data systems like road or rail systems – they are the platforms. What you build on them can be bespoke, build a brand, offer a flexible product.”
Andy is looking forward to the ride in July, with a Kent stage route that winds its way past Biggin Hill. IE will be bringing you more previews and coverage of special stages in July.