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Huddle investor out to disrupt ‘messed-up’ industry

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Investment group AirTree Ventures says technology and trust issues in the insurance industry have opened the door for disruptor Huddle, which sells online car, travel and home contents products underwritten by Hollard.

AirTree has invested in the insurtech as part of a $19.25 million-capital raising also supported by Hollard, Alium Capital and SevenWest Media.

Personal insurance is a “massive industry in Australia, but it is also pretty messed up”, with a small number of incumbents battling legacy technology and outdated business models, AirTree says on its website.

“Customer user experience is almost universally awful, and very little of the industry has embraced back-end automation. Most of the products in the industry aren’t even internet-powered, let alone artificial intelligence-powered.”

AirTree and Huddle say the insurtech’s use of machine learning and artificial intelligence allows it to increase trust, with the technology used to assess claims, prevent fraud and speed insurance processes.

The insurance platform, which two years ago completed a capital-raising of $6 million led by Hollard, says it is growing 700% year on year.

“The royal commission has, quite rightly, further highlighted the opportunity for a new model that’s open and puts customers in control,” Huddle Co-CEO Jason Wilby said.

Huddle has emphasised a social and environmental focus, with surplus profit allocated to charities its policyholders support. Car insurance policies include carbon credits that offset emissions, and investment funds are kept out of fossil fuels and invested in companies that have “a positive impact on the planet, people and animals”.