Interview with João Maia de Figueiredo, Country Manager Spain & Portugal at Lovys! Lovys is a French insurance company founded in 2017 and a premium member of Finnovating. It is the first 100% digital “all-in-one” InsurTech and one of the largest InsurTech in Europe. It landed in the Spanish market in 2021.
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Finnovating (F): Could you summarize in a brief paragraph your professional career as an introduction?
João Maia de Figueiredo (JMDF): I have more than 15 years of international experience in the insurance sector in companies such as Metlife, AIG or Aon. I have also recently worked for a multi-award winning InsurTech called Keep Warranty and finally now for one of the most promising InsurTech in Europe, Lovys.
After all these years working in some European markets, I think I can claim I contribute a particular strength in organizational leadership by managing large teams, designing and executing different strategies and proposing and building offers according to each country. I recently did it as Head of Business for Spain and Portugal at Building Block Insurance. I can also offer significant experience in leading stakeholder engagement with regulators and governments.
I am very excited about the digital sphere and emerging innovations in this area, and I believe that Lovys is at the forefront of innovation. And I am very proud to be the Country Manager for Spain and Portugal!
(F): Please tell us a little about Lovys and its beginnings.
(JMDF): We created Lovys from a unique model and launched our first insurance product in 2017 with the support of strong risk insurers who shared and supported our vision, this being an imperative to fully focus on building a flawless customer experience, at every stage of the relationship.
Lovys’ business goal has always been to become the only InsurTech born to meet today’s consumer needs and to do so with the freedom to create an individualized formula tailored to those particular needs. In this way, today each individual can, in a completely digital and accessible way, modify their coverage formula, maintain total control over their invoice (thanks to a monthly subscription system without obligation) and terminate the relationship with the company when they deem appropriate, without complications or small print.
(F): How did the idea come about?
(JMDF): João Cardoso, our CEO, started his professional career in 2005, in London at Morgan Stanley. After his passage through that financial multinational, in 2011 he began his business career in the startup ecosystem with the creation of TaCerto.com, the first insurance comparison website in Brazil, today a leader in his sector. In 2016, he founded VisionX, a platform that allows Brazilian real estate agencies to offer insurance products to their clients. Finally in 2017, he created Lovys in France, a company within the emerging InsurTech sector with the ambition to change the customer experience in the insurance world through applying the capabilities of new technologies, as well as direct language, simple and close to new audiences.
Lovys, therefore, was born and remains as an alternative that seeks to meet the expectations of the new generations, improving the user experience by redesigning both the product and the distribution model of the insurers that continue to work with a traditional model.
(F): How does the company fit in the European FinTech ecosystem?
(JMDF): Lovys has always been deeply rooted in Europe, with offices in two different countries and 14 nationalities working together, we were pan-European before that existed! And our launch in Spain marks the first step towards our European expansion, of which we are very proud.
Joao Cardoso, has commented on a couple of occasions that: «Insurance today would be a bit like being in a supermarket with a single product and different packages. However, insurance is probably one of the first services that should be further developed close to its beneficiaries ”.
And it is Lovys that appears on the scene as a turning point in the sector, providing added value to the new generation of customers and meeting their needs in line with their current lifestyle.
(F): What is Lovys’s value proposition?
(JMDF): For Lovys, insurance must be thought out from the moment it is conceived, only then can it best respond to the needs of the insured. This is why Lovys does not offer generic insurance products – it creates them with the risk carriers so that they can partner them with users that best suits them and their lifestyle. For product development teams, this means not only knowing the expectations of the new generations and their habits, but also anticipating their life trajectories and changes in their lives to support them in the most relevant way possible. By creating our own products the company ensures that all the offers it offers are perfectly complementary and do not overlap, so that policyholders only pay for what they need.
Lovys offers its clients the possibility of underwriting all the insurances that it develops on demand and in a single 100% digital interface. The company then groups all the insurance policies subscribed on its platform into a single, clear and scalable contract. A totally transparent and clear proposal that allows its users to understand exactly how they are protected.
(F): Who is Lovys’s customer?
(JMDF): Lovys works both with B2C, aimed at young professionals, and B2B2C. Lovys’ strategy in the Spanish market is based on our differential value as a 100% digital company, so we can commit ourselves to offering a better response to the need for speed and transparency of the youngest public in the market and the possibility that our clients can process the management of their insurance with total independence and freedom.
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(F): What is your vision for Lovys in the next 5-10 years?
(JMDF): In a changing world like this, you have to set and work on clear and realistic goals. Not losing focus of where you want to go is essential, but always counting on the fact that the change factor exists and is real, since this is a living and fickle ecosystem.
That said, we at Lovys, aspire to consolidate our role as InsurTech leaders in the European market, to continue expanding our firm vision throughout Europe. To make insurance more accessible as possible. And finally, we seek to expand our product portfolio by building on a user-centric model that allows our clients to secure everything that really matters to them in one place.
(F): How do you think the implementation of digital functionalities will impact the traditional business model?
(JMDF): It is a fact that digitization in many sectors and especially in the insurance world has had a positive impact, creating scenarios of great opportunities. But we must remember that digital transformation is not only adding technologies to our business, but it goes much further since it involves a whole process of organizational change, of processes, of culture … At Lovys we only believe in digitization if it is understood as creation of a new real business model, not as an addition to what already exists.
We must not lose sight of the fact that the first thing we must be clear about is knowing who we serve with our product, what their needs are to be covered and knowing how to solve them in the most efficient way possible.
(F): Is Lovys interested in partnering with large companies in the sector? How do you think Finnovating can help you with this goal?
(JMDF): Of course! In fact, an important part of our success in expanding Lovys comes from our agreements with strong partners in each region. A connected business ecosystem has many strengths for all parties involved.
Among the investors that have made possible the most recent success of the Series A of Lovys, one year after the launch of its first insurance product to the market, is Adevinta Ventures, the investment arm of Adevinta that operates in 16 countries and that in Spain manages marketplaces such as Fotocasa, habitaclia, InfoJobs, and Hippo Insurance, the investment arm of MS&AD Group Holdings, the insurance holding company born in 2010 after the merger of Aioi Insurance Co., Ltd., Nissay Dowa General Insurance Co., Ltd., and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group.
Returning to the second part of the question, in this case Finnovating offers us to connect, co-create and collaborate with other companies around the world and also, to always be informed of all the news in the FinTech market. And for Lovys, a company in which we build our own products and all their distribution technology, having this support is of substantial importance.
(F): How will Lovys expand internationally?
(JMDF): Lovys has the support of a multitude of insurance and investment companies associated with the creation and launch of each of its products, in each of the territories in which the company expands.
In this way, we reinforce the guarantee of coverage for all our clients, in portfolio and potential, with the aim, firstly, of having «colleagues» who are knowledgeable about the sector and local environment in which it is established and, secondly, joining to the public image and reputation that these partners have in those markets.
(F): What do you think can be the impact of digital platforms in the FinTech industry?
(JMDF): Technology has become essential in people’s lives, consequently, the products or services that we offer them as a company need to have it.
The use of technology makes processes and markets more efficient … to remain and prosper in the market, FinTech companies need to make it their number one priority. As I have commented a couple of questions above, it is important to understand the digital, not only in the use of platforms, which is undoubtedly of great relevance, but as something much more extensive that addresses and encompasses a different and innovative strategy to satisfactorily meet the expectations of a new emerging client.
(F): What do you think are the secret ingredients of Finnovating that make it a unique platform?
(JMDF): A truly valuable mix: globalization and innovation.
Finnovating is the first Open Innovation FinTech platform that allows digital collaboration between more than 30,000 global FinTech companies, in addition to carrying out financial innovation. Its magic formula, I think, lies in having a global FinTech database that, if not the largest, is close to being, which makes it the meeting point for innovation in financial and insurance services. And who wouldn’t want to be a part of it all?
I firmly believe that Finnovating is changing the paradigm of B2B relationships, thus consolidating, in accordance with the new market demands, the FinTech sector. And the latter is absolutely aligned with our business model at Lovys.
(F): Why is Lovys interested in being part of Finnovating? What are you looking for in the first global FinTech platform?
(JMDF): Finnovating is the first Matching as a Service platform that connects the FinTech ecosystem with corporations and investors to reinvent the way of doing and scaling business. And precisely, in our expansion plan in Europe, this service is of vital importance. Connecting and staying connected is today, more than a choice, an unavoidable requirement.
For Lovys, a platform of these characteristics represents global visibility and efficient, digital and scalable management of its potential partners.
(F): Final question. We would like to continue meeting and supporting other startups in the FinTech sector. What startup would you recommend us and why?
(JMDF): It would not be fair to mention and recommend only one or two startups with which we have commercial agreements, since from the beginning we have had the support of almost 100 of them who have given us their full support.
Obviously we highly value our agreements with startups, however, from a commercial point of view, we also appreciate having agreements with all types of companies and verticals that add and consolidate our expansion plans in Europe. As a digital company, we believe that we can improve the commercial performance of our partners with a B2B2C logic and therefore we also have such agreements with large companies established in the market for many years and with a large customer base.
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