Dinghy is an insurance provider that was the first to offer on-demand professional indemnity cover to the self-employed and freelancer market
On-demand insurance is a growing trend within the industry, and one of the companies that continues to innovate in this space is Dinghy – a micro-sized freelancer cover provider.
Acting as an intermediary between insurance underwriters and policyholders, Dinghy was the first provider to offer on-demand professional indemnity (PI) cover to the self-employed market.
It launched in January last year with $1.2m (£886,000) in seed funding led by Balderton Capital – Europe’s largest early-stage venture capital investor – as well as insurance investment company ReSolution and unnamed angel investors.
Dinghy was bought by freelance insurance specialist Kingsbridge Group in January 2019, and this parent company announced the sale of its own business, including the insurtech, in March 2020.
What is Dinghy? How its platform works
Dinghy’s unique selling point is the ability for freelancers to flip the switch on their insurance cover, allowing them to turn it off and save money when they’re not working.
This is done through the company’s website, which it refers to as mobile-first, and allows customers to pay for the cover they use, as opposed to paying monthly.
Although we like to think that actually Monzo is the Dinghy of banking 😉 pic.twitter.com/MJvco94HWI
— Ben 🚤 🏄 (@benni_wilks) June 21, 2018
A pinned tweet on co-founder Ben Wilks’ Twitter page shows a customer testimonial referring to Dinghy as “like the Monzo of insurance.”
The Dinghy website does share ease-of-use similarities with the popular challenger bank’s smartphone app, as they are both geared towards limiting human interaction to create a more efficient customer experience.
However, Dinghy does not yet have an app.
Co-founder Rob Hartley says its platform – a bespoke technology built in-house – was created through collaborative effort between himself and fellow business partners Mr Wilks and Edward Woodcock.
He says: “We all met while working at a larger online insurance provider, and so we all had various roles that complemented building a tech-driven insurance platform.”
Dinghy’s insurance products
Dinghy is an intermediary in the insurance market, connecting freelancers seeking cover with underwriters that hold the financial backing to pay claims.
Operating within the Lloyds of London insurance market, Dinghy’s policies are underwritten by Beazley Syndicates and ARAG – an expert in legal expenses insurance.
Dinghy’s insurance offerings include cover for professional indemnity, public liability, cyber liability and business equipment.
The partnership with ARAG allowed Dinghy to launch Freelancer Assist, an insurance product that provides – among other support – a legal representative in the case of tax disputes and cover for income losses incurred through jury duty.
The company’s website claims it can provide professional indemnity cover for as little as 25p per day.
Dinghy’s corporate social responsibility
Dinghy is pending acceptance as a certified B corporation (B Corp) – a type of business that balances profit and purpose, while considering the impact its decisions will have on workers, suppliers, customers, communities and the environment.
The website reads: “Companies less than 12 months old cannot be full B Corp so we plan to be fully certified B Corp right after our first birthday party.”
In addition to this, Dinghy is an accredited living wage employer, meaning it pays the real national living wage of £9 an hour, and £10.55 for employees in London.
Its website claims it pays “actually way above” both the national and London living wage.
Company information and trends website Crunchbase reports Dinghy to have less than ten employees.
Acquired by Kingsbridge Group, which was then acquired by US firm NSM Insurance
Dinghy was acquired by Kingsbridge Group in January 2019, one of the UK’s largest insurance providers to the freelance and contract work sector.
At the time, Kingsbridge Group CEO James Twining said the acquisition of Dinghy would help his firm capture the market of freelancers looking for flexible cover.
He said: ”The acquisition of Dinghy further broadens our ability to reach into an even wider segment of the important creative and ‘gig’ markets where freelancers demand a different approach to insurance and an improved user experience.”
In return, Dinghy co-founder Ben Wilks spoke of his excitement about the growth prospects of Kingsbridge’s commercial reach.
He added: “We are delighted to have joined forces with Kingsbridge, which is known as one of the largest and most successful players in the contractor insurance market.
“The combination of Dinghy’s unique flexible product and technology platform and Kingsbridge’s marketing and commercial strength will enable us to improve our offering to our existing customers and significantly accelerate our growth plans.”
Kingsbridge announced the sale of its company, along with Dinghy, to US firm NSM Insurance in March 2020.
What did the analysts say?
At the time of the acquisition, data and analytics company GlobalData said Dinghy would strengthen the larger company’s appeal to young freelance workers.
GlobalData’s 2018 UK SME Insurance Survey found that 31.9% of SME-sized companies currently purchase insurance from brokers online, while only 2.8% do so via a smartphone.
General insurance analyst Ben Carey-Evans said: “A strong digital presence is especially beneficial within the freelance and contractors market, where there are often time pressures and last-minute schedule changes.
“Freelancers and contractors are always likely to choose easy, digital, on-demand insurance rather than having to organise a policy over the phone with a broker.
“This will likely see Kingsbridge offer more flexible, online-only policies to a range of freelancers as it takes advantage of Dinghy’s expertise within the gig economy.”