A few weeks back we caught up Niall Barton, CEO & Co-Founder of UK-based startup Wrisk. We met Niall and some of his enthusiastic team at a Partnership Day we facilitated for a client back in 2017 and were hugely impressed with their entrepreneurial flair.
Niall was able to find some time amongst his busy schedule to answer a few questions and let us get under the skin of the company.
- Hi Niall, can you tell us a little about yourself and what your company does?
Wrisk puts all of your insurance products in one place and essentially insures the person, rather than creating artificial product silos. It’s a continuous policy that reflects how we do business in other areas of our lives. You don’t change your bank account provider every year. Why would you want to change your insurance? So we won’t just engage with our customers once a year, when they have to fill in a long form and write a fat check. We want to be a permanent policy.
As for me…I’ve been in the insurance/reinsurance business all my career. Underwriter, broker, agent, multinational companies to start-ups, and Wrisk is the most stimulating and challenging of them all.
- Where did the idea for Wrisk come from? What would you say makes it unique?
I marvelled at the insights that apps such as Monzo, Citymapper and Uber have, and when compared to the lack of similar insights customers get with insurance, I thought it’s probably about time to do something about it.
The idea really started to come to life after I met Darius Kumana (Co-Founder) at an InsurTech dinner. We quickly realised we shared similar views on the future of insurance, so we spent a few days working on the idea and we haven’t looked back since.
Darius holds the product vision, bringing a wealth of experience in technology and digital to the business. His job is to run the whole thing, and together, we are merging the worlds of technology and insurance to develop Wrisk.
Wrisk is fairly ambitious because we’re trying to change the mindset of the customer as to what insurance is and how they can buy it. People don’t understand insurance, they don’t trust it; it’s not connected to their lives and devices.
We’ve designed our app to make insurance more transparent, personal and convenient. Wrisk enables people to buy and manage insurance in one place, from your things to your car to your next holiday – in a few taps.
What’s also key is the fact Wrisk is more than just buying insurance; it’s about managing and understanding your risk. Most insurers are not likely to tell you what factors impact the cost of your policy. To tackle this, we have created a credit score for personal risk – the Wrisk Score – which helps customers understand their risk profile, how it impacts their premiums, and what they can do about it.
- What do you see as the most important qualities in a company’s team?
Shared vision, mutual respect, a hunger to challenge the norm, as little hierarchy as possible, humour and tenacity. That should do as a starter.
- Can you name a new venture within the insurance ecosystem who inspires you and why?
Cuvva. I know how hard it is to set up an InsurTech business even if you know the inner workings of the sector, so I take my hat off to Freddie and his team for having had the insight and persistence to create Cuvva and the following that it has.
- If you were able to give one piece of advice for aspiring startups looking to disrupt the insurance industry, what would it be?
Build as deep foundations as you can by going for quality colleagues, investors, insurance partners, lawyers, accountants, advisory board etc. Insurance is a service built upon trust and without the luxury of time, you will need to surround your business with high quality people/partners from the outset.
- Finally, your go-to TV series right now?
Inside Number 9.