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«Today, we are accustomed to everything being just a click away»

Buried under mountains of paperwork? Fed up with impenetrable T&Cs? Tied in to long-term policies? These frustrations are a thing of the past for customers of Lings – the Generali start-up ushering in a new era for insurance. CEO Kai Kunze tells us more.

Lings describes itself as a modern, contemporary insurer. What does that mean?

Today, we are accustomed to everything being just a click away – be that music, communication, shopping, buying tickets, booking travel and so on. Now Lings is here: an insurance service that is available from anywhere via a smartphone. You can activate and deactivate your insurance at will, with a minimum cover period of just a single day. And the terms and conditions are written in plain language, not legalese.


Who are your target market?

Right now, we are specialising exclusively in amateur and professional photographers. They can insure their cameras, all their accessories and even the hardware they use to process and edit their images. That includes cover against theft, loss or damage. And with no deductible to boot.


How did the idea behind Lings come about?

At an innovation sprint in early 2017, Generali employees developed unconventional product ideas using modern methods such as design thinking. In discussions with customers, we discovered that there was a desire for ultra-flexible short-term insurance. The idea sounded compelling. However, the mature structures of a large company like Generali are not well suited to carrying out a rapid, cost-effective market trial. An internal start-up staffed by Generali employees, however, was ideally placed to do so.


What next?

Following an internal recruitment process, our four-strong team started in the F10 fintech accelerator in July 2017. We have financial support from Generali but are entirely independent in our decision-making. There was just one string attached: we had to attract our first paying customers within four months.


That was an ambitious target – how did you set about it?

Two weeks later, once we had put together a rough plan, our first act was to engage an IT company. That ate up a third of our budget, before we had even pinned down where our journey would take us. This freedom was rather scary, but also very liberating. In the absence of fixed structures and processes, we had to organise ourselves from that point on – a new and exciting experience for us all.


What is the current status?

We currently have 35 paying customers (as at February 2018). In addition, more than 100 interested people have created an account with us and registered their property, so as to be able to activate insurance quickly when the time is right. It might sound unlikely, but our stated objective is for customers to love our insurance. To achieve this, we do not rely solely on social media and influencers, but also use word of mouth recommendation. That seems to be working well.


What do you think the future holds for Lings?

Our goal for 2018 is to expand further and to build up our customer base. We will then think about rolling Lings insurance out to other products next year.