Nikolaus is CEO and Co-Founder of KASKO a London headquartered InsurTech as a Service provider that is making insurance agile. Aspioneer spoke with Nikolaus and learned about his curiosity, grit, and desire to make a difference in the world.
An intriguing journey
Nikolaus: “I have been working in insurance since I was 10 years old, helping out in the family business (a leading MGA in DACH for classic car insurance) by folding marketing letters and doing data entry for an internal pricing and underwriting table . After having worked as a product and business development manager, as well as strategy consultant in the insurance industry for 10 years, I learned first-hand how insurers struggle to bring new ideas to life in a timely and cost-effective manner. The reasons (at the time) were always the same: inflexible legacy IT systems and mindset. Out of frustration with the status quo, I decided to have a go at the problem myself. Matthew Wardle (co-founder and CTO of KASKO.) and I know each other for almost 15 years, since university. We have been close friends (Matt is also my best man) and have been working together on KASKO since 2014.”
"KASKO allows insurers to quickly and flexibly digitalize and launch insurance products for distribution in any channel, numbering over 700."
Business solutions that empower
Nikolaus: “KASKO offers “InsurTech as a Service”. We provide a holistic service to insurers, MGAs, and big brands combining a product and distribution tech platform as well as compliance go-to-market, and venture building services. The tech platform can be accessed via us or the insurer’s own tech team or implementation partner. Product and business development managers struggle to meet evolving customer and distribution partner demands (convenient, transparent, always-on, etc.) as the existing IT tools are inflexible and expensive to use. Therefore, hurdle rates for any new product are very high, making it difficult to launch and grow new products. KASKO delivers a flexible ecosystem of products and services for insurers to validate new products quickly and subsequently scale them on our platform. As some use cases require additional consulting, compliance, go-to-market, or even the creation of entire ventures, we are offering these services also.”
Ahead of the curve
Nikolaus: “KASKO allows insurers to quickly and flexibly digitalize and launch insurance products for distribution in any channel, numbering over 700. We service two types of customers: 1) Insurers, MGAs, brokers, or reinsurers looking to create digital services or entire ventures cheaper, faster, and more flexibly. 2) Brands and platforms should have access to an independent tech stack for embedding insurance products into their customer journeys or creating their own insurtech ventures. Most of our 40+ customers are from Germany, the UK, and Switzerland, and we expect to grow further but have launched products in over 7 countries, including Northern America. There isn’t just one thing that sets us apart from the competition. But usually, insurers buy us for our technical and business model flexibility and market knowledge. We understand that we need to bridge whatever gap an insurer has when launching or upgrading a new product. So, we start with ideating and developing use cases, providing several options on augmenting or replacing their internal services, offering to do implementation and maintenance, or training them to do it themselves. Having 7 years of experience working with 40+ customers in more than 7 countries on more than 100 products also ensures that we have the experience to substantiate our claim while maintaining our curiosity to continue to learn and co-create. Having established trust and access to insurance companies, we are now embarking on our most exciting journey ahead. We believe that insurance companies are uniquely positioned to help their customers take an active part in reworking our economy towards a sustainable, climate-neutral one. Our ambition on top of serving our insurance customers’ digitalization needs will be to become a co-creator of sustainable insurance products and services and adjacent business models to contribute to the biggest challenge faced by our generation.”
Recognitions and beyond
Nikolaus: “I have studied insurance and risk management at Nottingham University and Cass Business School and have spent 10 years working in various product and business development roles in the insurance and consulting industries, including our family insurance business. My role as the CEO includes defining the company vision and strategy, business development, fundraising, attracting and retaining talent, and most importantly, ensuring the unique KASKO culture. Below are some milestones
15 years of experience within commercial& retail insurance, MGA, strategy consulting, and insurtech.
Voted InsurTech Shaper of the Year in 2019.
Co-Founder and CEO of recognized InsurTech KASKO.
>13k LI Followers and Podcast Host (incl. a partnership with DIA). Insurtech trends, insurer-insurtech collaboration, embedded insurance, beyond insurance, sustainable insurance, and venture building are typical topics.
Adaptability is the key
Nikolaus: “Over the years, there are many challenges that have come up and required us to adjust our course. We started with a different business model, focusing on selling to websites and platforms that might want to cross-sell or upsell insurance to their clients, before realizing that focusing on helping the insurers makes more sense for us. When the profile of our customers changed, we also needed to adapt. The innovative early adopters wanted to move fast and were fine with things working mainly on the sales part. Buyers of traditional insurance technology, on the other hand, expected everything to be perfect from the start and were willing to sacrifice time for quality and depth of functionality. That required us to adjust as well. In the future, we will have to adapt yet again from tech provider to growth partner and ecosystem initiator, especially for sustainable services and business models.”
Leading the change
Nikolaus: “The future holds infinite potential and there’s a lot to do. The world is changing, and so are business practices. The insurance industry will need to step up and take the mandate to re-allocate their customers’ capital flows into truly sustainable businesses. These days I think about the future, in 20–30 years’ time, when my daughter Maxima will ask me, Dad, what did you do when the world went over the cliff? At that point, I’d like to point out what we at KASKO and our clients and partners will be initiating over the years to come to show that we indeed played our part in changing course and leaving the world better than we found it.”