Taking out life insurance policies online is still unheard of in Switzerland. Who would want to send sensitive, personal information – including health data – so casually through the internet? Until now, applications had to be filled out and submitted on paper in a lengthy process. But SafeSide has now brought this process into the 21st century, making the process digital using blockchain technology and Swisscom’s electronic seal.
In an interview with Swisscom, cofounder of SafeSide Michael Klien explains the idea behind this new type of service and the advantages it provides to customers.
What are the aims of SafeSide and what is your vision?
SafeSide aims to bring the entire life insurance process into the digital 21st century. I had the idea when my wife and I were expecting our first child and we considered taking out a pure life insurance policy (term life insurance) in order to provide financial security for our young family. We wanted to do this online without having to go through a session facilitator.
But that wasn’t an option. The whole process, from the application to the customer experience, is outdated and complex in Switzerland.
Thanks to SafeSide, the entire application process could be digitalised within a very short period of time, providing a great customer experience. Information is communicated transparently, showing customers the advantages of pure life insurance over other forms of risk protection. Our innovative Zurich-based start-up develops products for its customers on an ongoing basis using state-of-the-art technologies.
Which customer requirements do you currently cover?
We give our customers the opportunity to easily provide their loved ones with financial security. Everyone can obtain comprehensive information on the topic of financial security, calculate their protection needs and take out insurance directly on our platform. When we talk with our existing customers, they repeatedly praise the simplicity and transparency of our application process. The platform is designed so that in 90% of cases, customers can take out an insurance policy themselves without having to talk to an intermediary. This is fantastic progress for insurance customers.
What advantages does the new solution provide for customers?
For the first time in Switzerland, SafeSide customers will have the option to have their policy anchored as a hash value on the Swisscom blockchain. This will allow customers to store different information – such as changes to beneficiaries – as metadata encrypted off-chain, and the associated hash can additionally be anchored to the blockchain for verification. The advantage of this is that it absolutely ensures that changes are clearly documented, avoiding any disputes regarding possible benefits.
«Our clients are the first in Switzerland to benefit from the revolutionary blockchain technology.»
We think there is a lot of potential in this technology, especially in life insurance, and expect it to play a more important role in the future.
How do you ensure that the process of taking out life insurance digitally is secure?
We currently use standard banking encryption technologies. We work with established partners to monitor and guarantee security, especially for our customers’ health data. This is done via 24-hour monitoring using various technologies and tools. We see an important opportunity here with Swisscom’s electronic seal solution.
How did the collaboration with the Swisscom blockchain come about?
In Switzerland, Swisscom is known for its comprehensive technological range of products and, as such, it provides a wide range of partnership opportunities. We first got in contact with Swisscom via the mobile payment system, an area in which Swisscom is a clear leader. This resulted in beneficial communication between the two companies, which has now led to us using the electronic seal solution. We see an opportunity here to collaborate further and are already looking into concrete solutions.
How do you convince life insurers to join your platform?
Basler Versicherung was the first insurer we were able to convince to join our platform. The collaboration came about as a result of our participation in the F10 incubator and accelerator programme in Zurich. The fact that we were able to build a sleek and user-friendly platform that enables customers to buy pure life insurance digitally without a signature made other insurers take notice. Now we can boast that it’s no longer so much a matter of persuasion, but of a mutual and genuine interest in collaboration. Insurers are won over by our proven ability to implement innovative ideas in a customer-oriented manner. We can learn from insurers and insurers can learn from us.
Are there any similar platforms in Switzerland already?
In the life insurance sector, we are the first and only platform in Switzerland that allows customers to choose between different providers and to conclude contracts digitally. SafeSide is the only company that transparently breaks down multiple life insurance policies for customers to compare. Customers can therefore get a good idea of the individual insurance options and make a decision for themselves. This all makes us unique on the Swiss market. It’s also important to note that we are an independent company – in other words, SafeSide is not financed by an insurer. This means we’re able to create the best possible experience for our customers.
SafeSide is revolutionising the way life insurance policies are concluded in Switzerland. The platform provides transparent information written in easy-to-understand language for an insurance product that is often mistakenly seen as complex. SafeSide provides a much-needed modernisation of the life insurance market by leveraging modern technology in a user-friendly way. Customers can use the platform to take out an insurance product themselves and provide their loved ones with financial security.
After working for more than 20 years as a financial analyst at renowned banks in Switzerland and abroad with a focus on insurance companies, Michael Klien founded SafeSide together with Georg Liechtenstein in 2018. Michael Klien holds a degree in philosophy and economics from the London School of Economics and is the father of two children.