The best insurtech in Czechia, officially

Czech version here.

Words and photo by Jan Strmiska

The prestigious competition of financial products called Zlatá koruna (The Golden Crown), organized under the patronage of the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Czech National Bank, has announced its winners for 2021. In the fintech category, our online, healthy-lifestyle-based life insurance Mutumutu placed first.

What sets Mutumutu apart from any other life insurance on the market is that it uses technology to collect data from the clients’ mobile phones, smart watches, and trackers about how active they are each day. With sports that cannot be so accurately measured, Mutumutu employs the good old trust. And it even motivates people not to smoke and to visit their doctor for routine checkups.

We asked the cofounder and CEO of Mutumutu, Jindřich Lenz, about the life insurance market and how it has been affected by the pandemic.

You are now officially the leading fintech project in Czechia. What were the criteria?

That’s rather a question for the jury. But the official criteria were: innovation from the users’ point of view, technological innovation, user experience, and sustainability. In other words, the winning project is the most pleasant for the user and it brings something new and meaningful to the table. (laughs) It’s an important award for us. It’s endorsed by the current Minister of Finance and the Fintech Academy — the jury — consists of 74 experts on finance and economy. It’s a big deal.

You have also won an award in Germany. What’s your secret?

We have already collected some six awards. The first one was in Munich. There’s an insurtech accelerator, the Plug and Play Insurtech Europe. We joined their three-month innovation program, competed against 20 other startups and in the end, we won the public award. We’ve also won the WebTop100 awards for Best Design and Best Insurance, consecutively. Another important recognition was the second place in the Innovator category awarded by Hospodářské noviny. Together with Komerční banka, we were named the most client-friendly insurance company.

Mutumutu has been on the market for 2.5 years. What’s new lately?

We added new “supported sports”. Mainly activities that can be done in a gym. But also swimming in a pool, playing tennis at a court, and 30 other sports like that. Everything was, of course, affected by the pandemic. Sports venues were closed, so we began rewarding our clients for exercising at home. They didn’t have to check in at a venue, they just recorded their activity in the Mutumutu app.

Do you really trust your clients that much?

It is quite unusual on the Czech market. We decided to trust people that they won’t exploit this feature, that they won’t cheat. And they really didn’t. Only a portion of our clients used the home workout function. They told us: “I don’t want to cheat, I don’t want to lie. I am afraid I will get caught and then if something happens to me, you won’t pay me out.” It’s about a mutual trust. There is no one between us and the client, no broker or agent who would incite them, so our relationship is much more honest.

“The pandemic has made people realize how vulnerable they are. We all feel more of the fragility, the vulnerability. Both in terms of the human body and the whole civilization.”

Will the new features remain in use even after the pandemic?

We are now analyzing if it makes sense to leave them in use and if the clients are interested. Originally, this was just a temporary solution, so we need to think it through.

How did the pandemic change your clients? Do you have any data?

We’ve attracted more self-employed people and younger people. We were quite surprised that our TV campaign brought mainly clients under 30 out of all the segments.

Does it mean that young people still watch television?

Yes, it was a shock. (laughs) Our demographic are people in the productive age between 25 and 45. The impulse is usually the fact that you now have a family or a new-born baby and you start to feel more responsible and want to take better care of yourself. We explain the increase in self-employed people by the fact that the news was full of covid-19, they couldn’t work or their businesses were closed, they got sick more often. Suddenly they realized that the social system is poor when it comes to self-employment.

As a self-employed person who doesn’t pay an extra health insurance, you won’t get any sickness benefits. If you are an employee, the state will pay 60 to 70% of your salary and the rest can be covered by an insurance. A freelancer or an entrepreneur will get nothing unless they’re insured.

So the self-employed people realized they were living on the edge?

Most of them didn’t even know they could get any extra health insurance. Generally, only women around 30 know because it’s the only way to get maternity pay. The pandemic made this problem more visible. And more people realized how vulnerable they were. We all feel more of the fragility, the vulnerability. Both in terms of the human body and the whole civilization. When I talk to people about what changed in their lives during the pandemic, 10 out of 10 will say they now eat more vitamins, food supplements, or simply take better care of themselves. They put more thought into their health.

Can you tell by your internal analyses if people exercise more now? We can’t tell. Because a lot of sports were restricted and venues closed or limited, the comparison wouldn’t be accurate. However, we are working on a new analysis of how the Czechs exercised during the pandemic and how their physical condition has changed, did they gain weight, etc. We’ve already finished one survey last fall and the result was that the Czechs had gained 6 kg on average. This new research will focus on sports.

“We have to deal with a new set of laws in each country.”

Back to Mutumutu. Has your product inspired other insurance companies? Did you stir up the market?

I noticed some pressure to shorten insurance policies. Which means that a standard insurance company will cut them from 80 pages to 60. (laughs)

What’s next for you?

We are expanding. We will be launching our product in France in October.

Under the same name?

Yes. We are now dealing with an interesting branding dilemma. In France, the pronunciation of Mutumutu would be “Mitimiti” and to achieve the same pronunciation as in Czech, the spelling would have to be Moutoumoutou. (laughing) So that’s a real linguistic problem.

Is it like Hyundai’s issue with the pronunciation of its name? The company later gave up and let the locals pronounce it the way they like it.

Exactly. Except we don’t have Hyundai’s budget. (laughing)

Is it challenging to target the whole Europe? The permissions and laws can vary…

We have to deal with a new set of laws in each country. Even though there is one European regulation for insurance, each country has its own amendments for privacy policy and other issues. We always have to start from scratch. It is not like, say, the Uber app, which anyone can sign up to. We have to create a new product every time.

Are French clients different from the Czech ones?

Our Czech product is built on sick leaves and self-employed people. In France, the insurance is bought by the employer. On the other hand, self-employed people are 10 times more interested in insurance there. It’s much more important for them. Their whole mentality is different than in Czechia. Here, you just get the licence, a bank account, and get right to business. In France, you deal with things like liability insurance, special bank accounts, and a lot more. However, there are also specialized agencies that will take care of everything for you.

Is there a similar product to Mutumutu in France?

There’s one insurance company that’s entirely online, but none that’s connected to healthy lifestyle yet.

That sounds like a great starting point. Good luck in October!

More on Mutumutu, a healthy life insurance.



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