Skyline Partners is a UK-based technology enabled managing general agent (MGA) start-up which aims to offer under-served and under-insured markets, such as agriculture or renewable energy, hitherto unavailable insurance solutions.
We spoke to Gethin Jones and Laurent Sabatié, co-founders of Skyline Partners, about their launch and growth plans
What does your company do?
“We are a start-up company that was founded in the second half of 2017. The idea around our business is to provide data driven insurance products - we call them 'parametric' products - which work off a trigger mechanism. Using technology and this parametric approach, we are able to access under-served markets. The idea is to take cost out of the end-to-end insurance model and by doing so gain access to underwriting capital more efficiently. The market we are looking to target is the uninsured or under-insured market. We are trying to plug a global coverage gap and provide financial protection to those who don't currently have access to it.
We are initially focussing on weather as our data so we are initially targeting adverse weather conditions whether that be in industries like agriculture, renewable energy or construction. But it could be extended to areas like tourism or as contingency for sporting events.”
“The talent pool here is excellent both in insurance and technology. And there is a large pool of technical resource in the UK. It's a place that people are attracted to come and work. There's a lot of opportunity here for people.”
Why did you choose to locate in the UK?
“The talent pool here is excellent both in insurance and technology. And there is a large pool of technical resource in the UK. It's a place that people are attracted to come and work. There's a lot of opportunity here for people.
London is a hub for insurance, particularly in the speciality and reinsurance space. And just having the office located here enables us to meet with the insurers and reinsurers and the brokers very easily. We've found having our location here has been very very helpful in getting our business off the ground. If we weren't in London I'm not sure where else we would base ourselves at the moment. As an insurer, it's one of the best locations to be based in the world.”
What benefits has being in the UK given you?
“When we were seeking investment there were a lot of opportunities that we were exploring. Being in the City of London really helps as you have a lot of conversations with a lot of people and one conversation leads to another and gets you to where you need to be, providing you with what you need, be these investment or distribution opportunities. Whatever it is, there is a huge number of well connected people in the City of London.”
“We are looking at potential distribution in Southeast Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe... The future for us is as a global business. But we will still be based here in the UK.”
How do you see your commitment to the UK as your business grows?
“This year is a pilot year for us - testing the product and testing the commercial relationships cross-border with the likes of India. We are also looking at potential distribution in Southeast Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe. Post 2019 going into 2020, we'd look to expand out to those other geographies. We'd partner with local regulators, local insurers and local distributors to get our products into those markets. The future for us is as a global business. But we will still be based here in the UK.”
“We've had a lot of support from the City of London. We were part of the trade delegation with the Lord Mayor in October last year to India. We were one of 11 companies that were selected as part of that delegation. That was fantastic. We got introduced to a lot of potential customers and insurers in India as part of that trip. The exposure in terms of a communication and marketing point of view was very good for us.
The network of contacts that we developed through the City of London since we started the business has been very helpful. We even found our investor OneAdvent through somebody we met through a network of contacts we made via the City of London.
We were in a meeting just this morning with a company which is a potential customer for us. We met them through a City of London introduction. It's been great from that perspective.”