Operating in a country with a population of just 11 million, Immoweb attracts 3.7 million unique visitors per month. The platform is the first choice for Belgians who plan to sell or rent their property, with the typical Immoweb customer being an agency or landlord.
As a result, Immoweb advertises upwards of 477,000 properties per year.
In early 2017, Immoweb designed a customer survey to validate the results of a strategic exercise which identified additional ways to monetise the platform’s substantial user base and leverage the company’s powerful brand.
In short, its executive team sought new revenue streams for the platform that would also add value to its user base.
Laurent Dupont, Immoweb’s Head of Incubation said, ‘Our goal is to become the one-stop-shop for the Belgian real estate market: documents, loan simulation, any relevant activity. To achieve this, we have to be more than just a marketplace – we must implement supporting services that add incremental value both to the residential market and professional partners.’
One opportunity identified by the survey was a ‘new breed’ of insurance: a product that protects landlords in the event of unpaid rent, covering legal expenses in parallel.
‘Landlords are perennially underserved,’ Lauren added, ‘Two-thirds have experienced issues with rental payments recently. They would have benefitted from our proposed insurance product, had it existed.’
Having pinpointed the opportunity, Immoweb had to get to work.
However, the fact that the real estate entity is neither a financial intermediary or an insurer presented a substantial hurdle. What’s more, Immoweb would require a reliable, sophisticated digital partner to get the project off the ground.
Initially, Immoweb consulted with traditional insurers to launch the project. However, the real estate platform quickly pivoted to partner with us at Qover.
With a proven digital solution on the market, we had visible credibility; although the primary driver behind the change was Qover’s ability to quickly launch a product to market.
'Qover was the only platform that could help us roll out a 100% digital insurance product and monetise our brand this quickly.' – Laurent Dupont, Head of Incubation at Immoweb
By October 2017, our team had defined the product, and Immoweb was fully committed. Then, we started the product creation process: identifying a risk carrier and developing a policy with three distinct elements.’
‘Given the technical complexity of a digital insurance product and the extensive due diligence processes of global insurers, Qover’s time-to-market was remarkable,’ Lauren said.
As far as we’re aware, no other company – traditional insurer or InsurTech – could execute the project to the same standard in such a short window.
With the policy created, our proprietary technology enabled smooth implementation: Qover’s experience in state-of-the-art digital insurance products allowed UX and UI teams to translate conceptual designs into intuitive pages, enhanced by a seamless onboarding process.
‘I believe the key to unlocking insurance for our customers is to offer them the right insurance at the right point in time,’ said Ronak Ahmadloo, Director of Immoweb Financial Services. ‘It’s really key to have the insurance offering embedded in their real estate journey – it’s the only way it makes sense.’
Our scalable digital insurance platform also ensured that there was ample time for thorough User Acceptance Testing, followed by a pilot phase, before officially launching the product in February 2018 – all within four months of kicking off the product design.
Following the go-live, the collaboration entered its second phase: our customer success teams worked together to analyse web traffic and test various optimisations in weekly iterations.
Alongside A/B testing of customer flows, user research provided valuable insight into the design of email campaigns, a social media strategy and other key customer communications.
Thanks to the continuous efforts and close collaboration of the teams, Immoweb Protect now attracts upwards of 20,000 users per month.
Under the recent Insurance Distribution Directive in Europe, Immoweb operates as a ‘Business Introducer’, which enables the real estate platform to introduce clients to Qover and receive compensation ‘per insurance contract sold’.
Within four months of adding insurance to its platform, Immoweb was already generating revenue from the innovative product, which also contributed to the company’s bottom line.
Thanks to this excellent outcome, Immoweb began exploring additional insurance products as a possible second implementation.
In June 2019, we launched a second product with Immoweb: home insurance for tenants, which protects renters from damage to their belongings in case of a fire, water damage and more.
‘It’s important for us to be able to work with reliable partners long-term,’ Ronak said. ‘This allows the partner to better understand our business and come up with new initiatives that will better match our needs and the needs of our customers.’
‘This is why building strong foundational relationships, like with Qover’, she added, ‘has been key in evolving together.’
Over the past five years of working with Immoweb, we’ve had the opportunity to constantly re-evaluate and adapt alongside them.
‘Being a marketplace and being able to answer many, if not all, of a customer’s needs during a real estate transaction, we believe that financial services – and particularly insurance – have a role to play,’ Ronak said. ‘Ultimately, we want to be there for our customers at the right time.’