Finance Durham investee, honcho, talks putting digital first

How is honcho making insurance more digital?

By linking consumers and insurers together via our digital marketplace, we are changing the way that insurance is bought and sold away from the ‘take it or leave it’ Price Comparison Website (PCW) market of today. We believe that by having a fair, transparent and equitable marketplace, operated digitally in the same way that any electronic marketplace is, can only be positive for consumers and insurers. Using technology to facilitate open, fair competition is in everyone’s interests.

Graeme Stoker honcho websiteHow is digital embedded throughout the organisation?

honcho is a fully digital company! As a start-up, we aren’t hindered by legacy business processes, organisational structures, systems or ways of working. That allows us to be flexible and innovative in how we do pretty much everything from back office operations to marketing and every part of our product portfolio. Technology underpins every part of this. Let’s just say there’s not a lot of paper here!

honcho is a great example of a digital first business. It’s not so easy for traditional businesses to change without first establishing a clear separation from legacy technologies and ways of working, and then embedding that change throughout the organisation over time. What’s honcho’s approach to innovation?

As a market disruptor and challenger to the insurance distribution status quo, we are innovative in everything that we do, from our core products to our commercial model and routes to market. The honcho team and our partners are encouraged to be innovative in every aspect of our work, and we see this as a key differentiator to the tired and predictable PCWs that consumers have been used to so far. Furthermore, wherever possible, we involve our crowd investors and target demographic in the design and development of the product so that we can be sure we are generating positive impact.

What role does your website play as compared to your native app?

The honcho service delivered via native iOS and Android app, and via our website is identical, so it’s just about customer choice really. We want to make sure that honcho is available to consumers to use in their channel of choice and via their device of choice; it will be interesting to see the relative reach of each.

honcho is clearly open to and excited by new technology, but isn’t just going after the new and shiny for the sake of it. It has to meet a genuine need and add value. Do you have a customer panel to test early releases?

We’ve built a VIP group, who will be helping us with beta-testing of honcho pre-launch – there’s still time to join. As we progress, we may well look into consumer panels and other research or testing mechanisms. That said, we do have a fantastically engaged group of supporters in our investor base, who are excited to help us develop our proposition.

How can other insurers and related businesses such as retailers, car rental and estate agents get involved with honcho?

We’ve been astounded by the level of interest in honcho from within the insurance industry. Insurers, brokers and related businesses have been proactively approaching us for several months with a view to becoming involved in honcho – there are clearly some businesses who can’t wait to progress from the stale old world of PCWs! But honcho isn’t just about car insurance, as we have plans to add motorcycle and van pretty swiftly, and then home, contents, pet and travel insurance. Our conversations with organisations in all of these markets are already advanced, however any businesses who think they should be talking to us can definitely get in touch.

To read the full interview please visit The Digital Enterprise.

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