Welcome to our final newsletter of 2018. And what a 2018 it has been for honcho!
12 months ago, we were mid-way through our initial crowdfunding round and it wasn’t long thereafter that we successfully closed the round having raised over £800,000 to support the continued build and initial launch of honcho.
Fast forward a year and we find ourselves finalising things for the grand launch of honcho, due in Q1 2019. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time and we can’t wait to share everything with you.
In this newsletter we look back at 2018, comment on growing discontent with the UK insurance market, and update you on our testing and preparation for launch.
The story of 2018
Closing our successful crowdfunding round in January was a momentous step on the honcho journey and paved the way for a big and very busy year for us. In just a few months we:
- Moved offices to our new home in Durham
- Grew our team to add expertise in product, technology and marketing
- Designed a new brand identity
- Firmed up discussions with a number of additional insurers and brokers
- Announced partnerships with our new national PR agency – PR Agency One – and our lead digital marketing agency – Social Chain
And that’s before we talk about software development. In the spring we signed a continuation partnership with our developers – Hedgehog Lab – and work started on transforming our prototype into a real, working product. Progress on this has been excellent with development now complete on our Android and iOS native apps and web app.
Technical integrations with insurers started in the summer, and there are integrations with 10 insurers currently underway with a further four to start in early January – we’re getting ready to go!
December has seen the honcho apps tested beyond the honcho team for the first time with over 50 testers from within our investor community and beyond trying out honcho in a test environment. Initial feedback from testers has been great. A few new bugs have been spotted, and there’s been some great feedback on our user flow processes as well as suggested changes to some of our copy to add clarity.
Alpha testing is continuing across our platforms in advance of us moving the apps into beta testing. If you want to be included in our beta testing phase please click here.
Insurtech UK is a new body set up to represent firms in the UK insurtech sector, and honcho are proud to be one of the 31 founder members. Launched at the end of November and including organisations such as Worry and Peace, Wrisk and Bought by Many, Insurtech UK will promote and represent organisations using technology to transform the UK insurance industry.
Commenting on the launch, Gavin Sewell, honcho CEO, said:
“The insurtech industry in the UK, as per the wider fintech industry, is very London-centric. We are one of the very few founder members of Insurtech UK outside of London and we are very keen to demonstrate that it is not a requirement for innovative businesses such as ours to be based in London to succeed. We are convinced that there are strong benefits to being in the North East of England with respect to innovation capability, lifestyle and cost of doing business.
“We are very excited to be a founding member of this organisation and have high hopes for its impact on the insurance industry in the UK and beyond.”
Pressure grows on outdated price comparison websites
Recent weeks have seen a further escalation in the negative sentiment around the questionable tactics of some price comparison websites. Following the publication by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of their initial findings against Compare the Market, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched its own investigation into dual pricin across the general insurance sector.
Furthermore, the use of ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) clauses has faced further scrutiny in the press. The tide is turning as consumers, regulators and the media are alerting the public to what is wrong with the current dominant system of insurance distribution in the UK.
Commenting for an article in Insurance Post, honcho’s commercial director Frank Speight said:
“We have made no secret of our views on the current aggregator market and the practice of dual pricing. PCWs were the original disrupters, but in the immortal words of Oasis, ‘some might say’ it’s now a case of the tail wagging the dog due to their market dominance.
“The overall balance of power is not equitable, and that’s why they’ve been allowed to get away with the commercial contracts that have evolved over time. MFN clauses are merely a symbol of that historic relationship.
“From an insurer provider perspective there is a risk of incurring the wrath of these giants, because whoever does so, risks a temporary loss of market share in order to regain strategic control and truly independent pricing that benefits consumers. On the other hand, we all know what happened when David took on Goliath.
“We firmly believe that the time is right for a revolution in the way that insurance is bought and sold and that the honcho reverse-auction marketplace, with its inherent equitability, transparency and clarity for both consumers and insurers, is ideally placed to bring much-needed revitalisation to the market.”
Can you help us?
Your help would be most appreciated in spreading the word of honcho far and wide across your networks of family, friends, colleagues and associates as we prepare to launch.
Please invite people to visit our website to find out more and ask them to click I’m Interested to be kept informed of our launch. Please also ask people to like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/honchomarkets/.
Thanks for your help.
That’s all for this update. There’ll be more news soon, and as ever, please feel to get in touch with us.
Season’s greetings and best wishes from all the team at honcho.