First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Peter Goodman: We’re all well, thank you. We’ve just added a new addition to the family actually – a Tibetan Terrier puppy called Teddy – he’s awesome. We’ve all done things in lockdown that you wouldn’t normally do #whathavewedone!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Aventus.
Peter Goodman: Over the years, I’ve started five businesses and invested in more than ten start-ups. The biggest to date was Brighter Option (now Social.com), the world’s largest Facebook ad management software, which was acquired by Buddy Media and subsequently acquired by Salesforce in August 2012.
Most of the companies I’ve started are based on itches I can’t scratch. What led me down the insurance path was an experience I had trying to get a quote for home insurance. I logged into my personal banking app, clicked on ‘home insurance,’ and was redirected out of the app to a set of questions. The first question asked my name, and the second asked if I was a customer of the bank. It just amazed me that data wasn’t being used in insurance the way it should be for customer acquisition. I wanted to build insurance products that used data and APIs in new ways, price insurance in a different way, and make it more customer-centric.
Aventus was born after struggling to find suitable technology for my first insurance venture, home insurer Homelyfe. The technology soon began to attract wider industry attention and recognition with other insurers in the market. At that point, I pivoted my focus from the B2C world of Homelyfe to concentrate on selling the operating system B2B under the Aventus brand. Since then, I’ve been focused on bringing a technology ecosystem to the insurance market to enable cross-selling, production value and improve insurance companies’ business effectiveness. Aventus formally launched in February 2020.
How does Aventus innovate?
Peter Goodman: Insurance customer experience is fractured. Aventus delivers a world-beating ecosystem platform for insurance intermediaries that allows them to now offer a seamless customer experience for any insurance line, through any channel, at a pace. It enables them to distribute products via APIs into any environment and meet customers at the right moment.
The platform is designed to allow them to build products with low-code functionality, utilizing 1st and 3rd party data to improve the customer quote journey. Combining policy administration and CRM in one place and leveraging multiple data sources to automate bordereaux and binder management creates efficiencies and automated cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Peter Goodman: Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for many insurers. Digital transformation has been on the board agenda for a while, and culture has proved to be the biggest barrier to change.
What Covid-19 has done is to act as a catalyst to bring change forward. Insurance companies have had to undergo large scale reviews and correction of systems and practices to survive and thrive, which our solution is well-positioned for. Those insurance companies that don’t modernize are already being left behind.
This is all positive for Aventus, but the reality of launching a start-up during Covid-19 has definitely had its challenges. A lot has happened since we launched in March. We now have customers in the UK, USA, and Australia. We made the Top 100 Insurtech listing. Overall, we have done around 50 integrations this year, so it’s been very busy.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Peter Goodman: Running any business means you sometimes have to make difficult choices. The pandemic has focused minds on efficiencies and working better and smarter for sure, but in the long term, these can only be positives for a business.
In terms of lessons learned, I’d say this has mainly been in terms of the complexities of the insurance industry. It has been a steep learning curve, but it’s a thrilling ride, and we’ve only just begun!
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Peter Goodman: Exercise, definitely – I rediscovered it during the lockdown, and it’s part of my daily routine. I have a very busy mind and so many ideas that often keep me awake at night. Before I go to bed, I create a list of ideas or points I want to action the next day. It helps with stress, and I’ve found it helps me sleep better. We’ve just bought a new addition to the family – a cute Tibetan Terrier puppy called Ted. He’s awesome and a great stress buster too.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Peter Goodman: The main competitor we see is “do nothing.” A lot of insurance companies have been on legacy systems; they are very keen to change but stuck in the cycle of not improving their technology through fear. Covid-19 has been a great catalyst for change. More than that, the current big play is insurance ecosystems. Unless you are a bemouth insurer with limitless tech budgets, it’s purely vanity to build and maintain a world-class ecosystem without risking building your own legacy piles, again. Instead, they need a core platform to begin, with an ecosystem that gives them access to all of that affordably.
This is what Aventus can offer, now with 50 quality API integrations – creating limitless opportunities for MGAs and brokers to be creative with the product, marketing, and distribution strategies – that puts us way ahead of the pack.
Your final thoughts?
Peter Goodman: Digital transformation sounds brutal and expensive. I prefer to talk about digital enablement. We are providing a cost-effective solution for MGAs, Scheme Specialists, and Brokers. Finally, giving intermediaries the affordable digital capabilities they need to accelerate growth and profitability.
We want to help insurance intermediaries modernize their offer because that really is the key to their long-term survival; building something that adapts quickly, sifts the value from data, and helps them to identify the new opportunities out there – because they ARE out there!