7 Questions

7 Questions with Ben Shaw, Director of Programs at the InsurTech Hub Munich

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.

Difficult to separate the two: For work my team and I connect all dots needed to accelerate the insurance industry. We bring structure through proven frameworks to companies attempting to reach product/market fit, help insurers open up to outside talent and work with investors to better understand a companies’ potential. 

Prior to the InsurTech Hub Munich I ran FinTech Innovation Programmes for Barclays in London and New York, connecting the bank to FinTech founders.

I also connect for leisure – I love festivals and concerts and am passionate about organising parties or group trips, the most recent one being with more than a dozen young professionals to Lithuania.

 

2. What are your focus areas, overall and within the FinTech space?

We focus on the entire value chain of an insurance company. Many forget that every insurer is also an asset manager and therefore has a lot of interest in the FinTech space. Any cross-industry proposition is just as relevant, whether it’s new data, compliance, legaltech or related to HR. And of course insurance is very broad covering verticals such as cyber, mobility, health, logistics and many others.

 

3. Could you share a couple of your recent investments or partnerships?

On the corporate side we recently added the US originating insurance company Markel to the list of our partners. Two of our alumni recently closed pilots with partners Nuernberger and ARAG insurance.

 

4. Which areas of FinTech innovation do you find overhyped and which ones are worth watching out for?

Customer orientation is key. Be wary of technologies that are looking for use cases. A scalable business typically tailors the technology to its customer.

In financial services keep an eye out about real value added services, in FinTech this could be anything that influences how you interact with your finances, in InsurTech more specifically the focus is on prevention. For example: Instead of waiting for the house to burn down you prevent it from burning down by putting the right precautions in place.

 

5. Which way do you see the (European) financial sector going and who would be the likely winners?

The distintion here is between instiutional clients and end consumers. Institutional clients are only price sensitive between banks and insurers who satisfy a degree of trust, quality and service – it’s therefore much harder to undercut and break into that market. 

For end consumers the fast paced tech startup that undercuts competitors can definitely become a threat to incumbent insurers and banks.

 

6. What tip would you like to give FinTech entrepreneurs?

Demonstrate a demand for your product before you even begin your endevour.

 

7. What’s on your bookshelf/holiday reading list?

Ken Robinson – Finding your Element

Angela Duckworth – Grit

David Epstein – Range

Bill Aulet – Disciplined Entrepreneurship

James Clear – Atomic Habits