The Future of Insurance Podcast – Steven Mendel
Co-Founder & CEO, ManyPets
Season 3, Episode 9, August 2, 2022
Steven has over 25 years’ experience as an actuary in financial services which has included leading Close Brothers Wealth Management during the launch of their non-advised offering; creating the world’s first art-focused wealth advice offering for Christie’s; working as part of the team that formed Barclays Wealth and heading the McKinsey UK Savings and Investment Group.
Steven founded ManyPets, which is disrupting the world of pet insurance through the innovative use of tech, and is building a business to become an irresistible employer that is obsessive about customer service.
In April 2019 Steven was included in the London Business School Review of 30 People Who Are Changing The World.
Highlights from the Show
- Steven is an Actuary, who has worked in several different larger, corporate businesses to build startups within them before leaving to start his own business
- Steven did a lot of work for insurers, but intentionally never went to work for one after leaving consulting because of what he saw as an unfair way consumers were treated by large corporate insurers
- He talked to a close friend and colleague about leaving their corporate jobs to do something different and better in 2011/2012
- The idea they came up with was to build communities inside of insurance to help individuals with niche insurance needs get access to better coverage than they’d be able to get on their own
- Better, to them, meant better around price, product and customer experience
- What they were building, which they called Bought by Many, was a digital broker before that was really a thing, with a hope of getting better access to product for their customers, but they still struggled to get them a better customer experience, so the solution was still not really solving the problem they focused on
- They discovered that the underlying brand of the insurer didn’t matter as customers kept thinking Bought by Many was their insurer, and would complain to them when the insurer was doing a poor job on claims, which suggested to them that they could get into insurance despite a lack of an insurance brand
- They surveyed their various community members across all the spaces they had coalesced around, like pet ownership, cycling, travel and more, to see what products seemed to have the most interest, and what needs their members had around those products to know what needed to be developed to have something successful
- BBM’s biggest and most engaged community was pet owners, and their needs lead to seven new pet insurance products that had not existed on the market yet
- They also needed to define a totally new customer experience, taking six months to define a totally different customer journey, launching in 2017
- They added travel in 2018, and then small business coverage
- They struggled to manage the growth across these three product spaces, and refocused on pet insurance, and set a vision of being the leading pet insurer in the world, leading them to expand to Sweden (where pet insurance had originated), and then to the US
- They are a tech-focused business, using the scale they’ve built to leverage their tech investment to deliver a more efficient, smooth customer experience, using the data their tech generates to keep doing better
- When the pandemic hit, they saw many things change, firstly that they easily went remote while most of their competitors couldn’t
- They also realized many people would be struggling financially, and may not be able to pay for the existing products, so ManyPets created a more stripped down coverage that met the basic needs people would have to avoid catastrophic pet health bills
- They also launched in the US in the midst of the pandemic in March 2021, and 6 months later, had a half million pets insured