Spotlight: Pineapple

How do twenty-somethings go about insuring, when they aren’t sure what to insure? How are millennials transforming an industry that has been around for centuries? The Pineapple model is looking to completely overhaul the insurance industry as it is currently known.

They’ve reinvented the way insurance is done, with an entirely new business model that aims to achieve affinity, fairness, and simplicity to decrease costs, cap profits and deter fraud in an effort to create more value form an insurance policy than the traditional model. Pineapple allows you to become a Pineapple member and cover everything you own with a snap of a picture. Now millennials can snap a picture, upload it to the website and have their valuables insured. Simple and easy to use.

That’s the Pineapple way.

We’re only 8 days away from Demo Day 2019: AMPLIFY and we had a chance to sit down with Matthew Elan Smith, a co-founder of Pineapple. Matt, who relocated from Johannesburg, South Africa, talked to us about Pineapple, his experience in Hartford and what he’s enjoyed about being part of the accelerator program.

Where did the idea for Pineapple develop from?

I and my two co-founders were part of an innovation competition being run by Hannover-Re in 2016 – throughout this 6 month period, we applied design thinking to understand the pain-points in insurance and figure out how to address them.

Our goal was to maximize the value that the insured receives from the insurance purchase and we realized the main factors killing value were:

  • Fraud – due to the way people perceive insurance
  • Expenses – due to heavy distribution and administration costs

We set out to solve those two issues and that’s how Pineapple was born.

Why did you choose the name ‘Pineapple’?

Many people don’t know that a Pineapple is not a single fruit but actually a collection of berries. Those berries come together to form this structure which ensures berry prosperity for all – much like insurance!

We also loved the freshness as a brand which resonates with what we have created and the memorability of the name.

Who is your current targeted audience?

Our target audience is the millennial, so ages 18-35 who seldom interact with the insurance ecosystem. We have designed products and intuitive user experience to get this age group buying a new kind of insurance. (Spoiler alert – it’s as easy as snapping a picture)

What do you think has been Pineapple’s biggest obstacle, and how have you overcome that?

Our biggest obstacle was always going to be whether we could build a brand in insurance on a very small budget and get people trusting Pineapple and the new business model enough to be our members and insure with us.

We’ve tackled this in a few ways.

  • Thinking out of the box when it comes to marketing because traditional means didn’t fit our budget – EG: Handing out 10 000 Pineapple’s at traffic lights all across South Africa

  • Building a business and having a mission which makes people want to talk about it – We’ve had a lot of good press because of what we are doing and our members are actively referring friends to Pineapple without even having a referral bonus.
  • Starting small and working our way up from there – We launched with a product which allows people to insure smaller items they may own such as gadgets and equipment in order to allow people to trial our platform and for us to grow our user base. We are now working on our auto insurance product which will launch later this year in South Africa.

How do you think Pineapple is going to change the insurtech industry?

There have been a lot of attempts in insurtech to go beyond just creating a great user experience but also trying to change the business model of insurance to align interests and maximize value for the consumer. So far none have managed to actually scale or get their models to work out.

We are doing it and it is working. We want to take the Pineapple model all over the world and partner with innovative carriers to fundamentally change not just the way we interact with insurance but the underlying business model as well.

Spoiler alert – it’s as easy as snapping a picture

What made you want to join an accelerator program?

Hartford InsurTech Hub is one of the highest rated accelerator programs for insurtech in the world and the opportunity to be in the US and explore the largest insurance market in the world was very exciting for us.

The program offers great benefits and a vast network which has very much aided our mission to bring Pineapple to the US.

How did you find out about Hartford InsurTech Hub?

We were approached by Rob when the team visited South Africa.

How has your experience in the accelerator program been thus far?

We have enjoyed the experience and the network it’s allowed us to develop in the insurance ecosystem here in Hartford as well as the exposure to the US market as a whole.

The accelerator has also provided fantastic training on an abundance of topics which have been incredibly useful.

What has been the best advice you’ve received thus far in the accelerator program?

To validate every assumption you make which goes into crafting the solution you have in order to understand exactly what is or would drive people to use your service.

What advice would you give a startup that is interested in joining the Hartford InsurTech Hub’s accelerator program?

Do it.