We talked to João Cardoso, CEO, and founder of Lovys, about homeowners’ and renters’ insurance and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
João Cardoso: Good, thank you for asking, can’t wait to finally be able to go to the restaurant though! Although it’s been hard, at Lovys we’re lucky to have grown a lot during this pandemic. The covid-19 crisis proved something that we all already knew: people need more online services. And that includes their insurance. Before the pandemic hit, the majority of our clients were millennials, now it’s more balanced. It has accelerated digital expansion and it is not something we can complain about.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Lovys.
João Cardoso: I started my career in London where I worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. After six incredible years, I decided to move to Brazil to start my first startup called TaCerto. It was the country’s first-ever insurance comparison website and we quickly became number one. This successful first entrepreneurial experience led me to come back to Europe to build Lovys. Working on TaCerto gave me a lot of insights into the overall insurance market and I wanted to challenge this sleeping industry. Hence the birth of Lovys, which I’m very proud of.
How does Lovys innovate?
João Cardoso: Our main goal and mission are to simplify insurance. What I mean by that is that the insurance market hasn’t changed much in the last decades – people sign a contract they haven’t even read, they don’t know how much they are paying for their insurance nor do they know what is covered. This is exactly what we are challenging! All Lovys’ customers can see precisely what their contracts include but most importantly, they can manage it themselves. We’re giving customers their power and freedom back by letting them adjust their coverage in real-time but also by allowing them to cancel their policy whenever they want. We were the first ones to do it in France and most of our competitors followed. Innovation also comes from our all-in-one offering – we are the only insurance offering four different products, all completely manageable by our customers in their client’s space.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
João Cardoso: To be honest, and as I mentioned before, the pandemic hasn’t affected Lovys in a bad way. If anything, it proved our point and showed everyone how important digital services are. Now that people can barely leave their homes, they have to be able to subscribe, cancel, or tweak their insurance policies in real-time and online. Of course, with all our customers now working from home, we had to adapt their policy and we provided them with a wifi coverage certificate, free of charge.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
João Cardoso: Being at the helm of a startup trying to revolutionize the insurance market is all about making difficult choices and learning along the way. But the biggest lesson this crisis has taught us is that not only millennials were tech-savvy and it would be a mistake to only focus on them.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
João Cardoso: The pandemic hasn’t affected the business in a bad way and we’re making sure it doesn’t take a toll on our team members. Communication and empathy are key in moments like this. We put in place feedback sessions, not only for work-related matters but also for personal issues. It’s important to show support and help the ones who might be struggling. I’m lucky to be surrounded by great people, my job is to create a safe work environment for them to bloom.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
João Cardoso: We have three main competitors here in France: Lemonade, Luko, and Leocare. It proves the potential of Insurtech in Europe and it’s a great challenge to make Lovys stand out in this crowded market. In terms of sales, we reached our 20k clients’ milestone only within a few months. We achieved this milestone in record speed! We know for a fact that in the next few years, only one or two big players will emerge – the question is who is it going to be? Obviously, we’re rooting for Lovys and we’re working very hard to make it happen.
Your final thoughts?
João Cardoso: We’re currently developing new products to stay true to our all-in-one offering and we are getting ready to settle in a new European country. So stay tuned for more Lovy-related news!