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Some of the most interesting innovations are those that disrupt existing industries.

A perfect example is the pet insurance industry.

Pet insurance has been around for ages. So what can you possibly do to disrupt it?


The Need for Disruption

The first sign of an industry that needs disruption is the lack of sufficient market penetration.

Let’s look at a few numbers.

  • Only around 25% of pet owners in the UK have pet insurance.
  • 30% are ineligible
  • Therefore, roughly 45% of pet owners are untapped.

That’s roughly half the size of the market!

Huge potential, right?

It’s a clear sign that something’s missing in the market. And that gap is exactly what Waggel, a UK-based insurtech company, is trying to fill. The company was founded in 2017 and is currently finalizing it’s Series A funding round.

Filling the Gap

Waggel is trying to fill the gap in the market in three ways:

1. By making it easier to take a decision.

Waggel stays miles away from convoluted insurance contracts. Its policies are super simple to understand.

2. By making it easier to take action.

By digitizing the insurance process, Waggel enables people to sign up with just a few clicks rather than go through a painstaking process of getting in touch with an agent or of filling up paper forms.

3. By providing additional incentives.

Signing up with Waggel gives you access to discounts on pet food, toys and more.

I recently had a conversation with Andrew Leal, CEO and co-founder of Waggel about how he conceptualized the business and how he’s growing the company. Here’s what we discussed.

Discussion with Andrew Leal, CEO and co-founder of Waggel

Peter: How did you recognize the need for a digital-based insurance product?

Andrew: I come from an entrepreneurial background, so when a friend mentioned what a pain they were having with a pet insurance claim that got me pretty curious about what was happening in the space.

I had a hunch that the industry was behind from a digital perspective. After the initial research that certainly proved to be the case. At the time there wasn’t one offering that had a fully digital system. Every insurer was still using paper forms that were being posted between the customer, vet and insurer.

From that hunch we then built an MVP to show the current providers and the rest is history.

You believe that the “pet insurance is a market ripe for disruption.” Why do you think there is a huge opportunity in this market?

The huge opportunity for me is that only around 25% of pet owners in the UK have pet insurance. 30% are ineligible for insurance, which means that there is still roughly 45% of pet owners that could potentially take out pet insurance.

The other reason is that incumbents in the market have very little differentiation and this has led them to a general “race to the bottom” on price. To get the perceived price down, insurers resort to “creative” policies that are complicated and jargon-rich, which normally leads to nasty surprises for the customer.

As with most disruption, most of the times it is just making things easier and simpler for people to understand. We only offer one type of policy that is customizable by coverage and excess and all our claims are handled digitally. In addition to the insurance we offer a rewards platform where Waggel members can get exclusive offers from hand-picked pet partners. The aim of the rewards platform is that people get continuous value.

How did you validate Waggel’s product market fit?

The honest answer is that we haven’t yet. We are still only 5 months in and we are still making changes and finding our feet. The strategy of offering a value-added service will remain the same but we are now fine-tuning the offering.

Do you have any competitors who have similar offerings? Or is this disruptive for the moment?

As far as insurance that includes a “membership” offering we are pretty much the only ones. However, there are a number of competitors that are building a standalone pet membership platform. A few insurers are including these offerings as a value add to their customers.

Who is your ideal customer persona?

Not to get too technical in this, but our ideal customer is somebody that is digital savvy and expects products and service to be intuitively designed. If you can use Uber or Monzo, then Waggel will be for you.

Could you tell us a little bit about your MVP and how you got your first few customers?

Our MVP really was as simple as showing insurers what a fully digital solution looked like from quote to claiming. The trickiest part of the undertaking to date was that we had to secure an underwriting agreement before we could actually sell policies to the public.

Once we had secured our underwriting agreement, our first customers were predominantly from the network we had built up over the course of a year.

What are your growth plans?

First step is to get our product market fit and our distribution channels sorted. We will then look to build out additional features to increase our value offering.

Andrew Leal is the CEO and co-founder of Waggel – a London-based Insurtech venture that is looking to revolutionize pet insurance. Andrew comes from a family business – a Point of Sale (POS) solution company that became the largest distributor of POS devices in Southern Africa.