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STARTUP STAGE: Setoo wants to create love for travel insurance

STARTUP STAGE: Setoo wants to create love for travel insurance

Launched two years ago, Setoo’s vision is to offer a B2B insurance service to online intermediaries so they build relevant products for consumers and earn valuable ancillary revenue.

Setoo is already gaining attention on the startup circuit having won the Battleground pitch at Phocuswright Europe earlier this year. The company is also supported by €8 million in Series A funding from AXA.

Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup

Business aspect:

Setoo’s insurance‐as‐a‐service platform enables e‐businesses to easily build tailored insurance and protection products integrated into their customers’ journey, delivering a delightful customer experience and generating new revenue streams.

The platform helps e‐businesses generate ancillary revenue by creating new types of insurance products that appeal to consumers because it is personalized, fully automated, easy to understand, and provides claim‐free compensation in response to a pre‐defined trigger.

Technology aspect:

Setoo’s platform serves as a factory for creating and distributing insurance and protection products. These products are integrated into the customer’s journey through a set of simple APIs, and are completely automated from end‐to end, real time pricing, one‐click underwriting, policy management, and automated delivery of compensation.

What inspired you to create this company?

We believe the customer journey experience of the future should apply to the insurance industry as well. And this means offering insurance products that are transparent, simple, relevant and with no claim process required.

The notion that insurance should not only protect, but also delight consumers, is what motivated us. Today’s consumers want – and tomorrow’s consumers will absolutely demand – personalized insurance products that offer immediate compensation.

We started talking to many types of e‐businesses such as OTAs (online travel agents), ticket‐sellers and e‐commerce. We realized they our vision that insurance products of the future need to both protect and delight consumers.

So we set out to build a platform that enables the e‐businesses themselves – who know their consumers best and own the distribution channel – to build and deliver the best insurance products for their consumers.

Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.


Consumers should be offered highly‐relevant, simple and transparent insurance products. Our platform facilitates this by giving e‐businesses the opportunity to create their own products and test a range of product variants for different consumers. Our platform is not limited to the creation of a single product. Instead it acts as a factory for creating and testing new offerings quickly without the need for e‐businesses to understand regulations and how insurance works.

Our platform is GDPR‐compliant, approved by insurance companies including AXA, the FCA in the UK and ACPR in France. We are licensed to act on behalf of insurers across Europe, enabling stable, long‐term scalability.


OTAs see ancillary products as a vital component of revenue generation, but the purchase rate for insurance products is not currently meeting its full potential. There is space in the sector for new insurance products that address this issue in alignment with the ne of millennial consumers.


There is a negative perception of the insurance industry among consumers.


A challenging regulatory environment that is strict and often changes means we work hard to keep up across regions and ensure our products are compliant.

What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?

Various things can go wrong during a trip that result in substantial financial loss or emotional aggravation for consumers. Most insurance products available today are one‐size‐fits‐all, with a resulting customer experience that is largely negative.

For example, a consumer travelling for a business trip will have different insurance ne to someone taking a weekend break. If they buy the same insurance product, one customer might not get the protection they need while the other is protected against problems they won’t face.

A lack of transparency in insurance products, as well as tedious purchase and claims processes, is deterring consumers from buying policies to adequately protect themselves when they travel. Setoo intends to change this.

From the industry perspective, OTAs will finally be in control of the insurance products offered to their consumers, enabling them to deliver an outstanding customer journey, reducing customer churn, and significantly increasing revenue from ancillary insurance products.

So you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?

The strength of Setoo’s product is in how simple it is for OTAs to understand and use.

This inherent appeal means when we introduce Setoo’s platform to OTAs and other e‐businesses, this is only the beginning of the conversation.

We have developed several marketing channels to facilitate the distribution of insurance products via a set of simplified APIs. E‐businesses can seamlessly integrate new products into their existing customer journey in a matter of minutes.

We have just announced that Lastminute Group and Invia Flights Germany, a German OTA associated with brands such as fluege.de, are using our platform to offer personalised policies.

Setoo’s parametric‐based platform facilitates our approach, enabling us to serve our customers’ ne even better. I’m confident we’ll enjoy enhanced brand loyalty and therefore see increased conversions.”

Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.

Setoo is here to make sure insurance becomes a revenue generator and competitive differentiator for e‐businesses.

Ancillary products are now a crucial revenue stream for travel companies, with airlines such as Spirit already reporting that almost half (46.6%) of their total revenue came from ancillary sources in 2017.

However, in an increasingly competitive environment OTAs and airlines are struggling to raise ancillary revenue from insurance products as consumers are opting out of buying protection. Yet, the right products have the potential to win over consumers, with 43% of millennial travellers reporting they’d buy more travel insurance if it was personalized.

How and when will you make money?

Our revenue is compensated for each policy the e‐business builds (based on the products they define). Our platform is already live and selling policies with European OTAs.

What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?

Our founders, Noam and Eyal, are highly experienced entrepreneurs who are passionate about building platforms that help transform the way industries behave.

Setoo has a management team with expertise in AI and machine learning, platform development, insurance, and marketing to ensure the company has the right knowledge to thrive.

What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?

The insurance industry is highly regulated, with interpretations of these requirements varying greatly between countries. We learnt the various aspects of IDD (Insurance Distribution Directive), developing a platform that can produce products across Europe, while abiding by country‐specific nuances in addition to general privacy rules and GDPR.

Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact ‐ so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?

Setoo has carefully crafted a strategy that includes a generic platform, allowing for maximum flexibility and scalability. This means Setoo is not obsessed with one product.

Instead, we empower the creation of a variety of insurance options that are tailored to the specific industry, company or consumer that ne it.

In addition, our platform provides value to each stakeholder where they need it the most. Consumers enjoy personalized, relevant, trustworthy, and automated insurance products while OTAs gain increased revenue from ancillary services and enhanced customer loyalty.

In addition, insurers benefit from regulated and automated underwriting, claims and distribution processes, with full control over risk and upside without operational costs.

What question might we have missed?

What about new travel pain points that may rise in the future, will you be able to support such cases?

Take the example of virtual interlining, which is a new capability enabling travellers to build their own connections to maximize the possibility of finding better priced and more convenient deals. This brings with it the clear need for a new type of protection: a missed connection guarantee.

Some of Setoo’s customers have already asked to address this need and the platform is empowering the delivery of this new protection to relevant travellers at the right time in their journey.

Setoo was the winner in the Travel Innovator Of The Year Award and HomeAway Travel Innovation Award categories in the Battleground at Phocuswright Europe 2019.

Here is Setoo’s pitch

And further analysis in the PhocusWire studio.

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