Immoweb owned by the Axel Springer, the world’s largest media group, is the leading real estate platform in Belgium; similar to Se Loger in France. Immoweb contacted Qover in July 2017 as its executive team sought new revenue streams for the platform that would also add value for its user base.
Operating in a country with a population of just 11 million, Immoweb attracts 4 million unique browsers per month. The platform is the first choice for Belgians who plan to sell or rent their property with the typical Immoweb customer either an agency or landlord.
As a result, Immoweb markets upwards of 400,000 properties per year.
In early 2017, Immoweb designed a customer survey to validate the results of a strategic exercise that aimed to identify new ways of monetizing the platform’s substantial user base and leverage the company’s powerful brand.
According to Immoweb’s head of incubation, Laurent Dupont, “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 to launch of a ‘new breed’ of insurance: a product that protects landlords in the event of unpaid rent, covering legal expenses in parallel.
According to Laurent Dupont, “Landlords are perennially underserved: two-thirds have experienced issues with rental payments in the recent past. Had it existed, they would have benefitted from our proposed insurance product.”
Having pinpointed the opportunity, Immoweb had to get to work.
However, the fact the real estate entity is not a financial intermediary, nor an insurer presented a substantial hurdle. Moreover, Immoweb would require a reliable, sophisticated digital partner to get the project off the ground.
The criteria of the partner were crystal clear – as laid out below.
Qover was the only platform that could help us roll-out an 100% digital insurance product and monetize our brand this fast.
Initially, Immoweb consulted with traditional insurers to launch the project. However, the real estate platform quickly pivoted to partner with Qover: with a proven digital solution on the market, Qover had visible credibility; although the primary driver behind the change was Qover’s ability to launch a product-to-market quickly.
By October 2017, Qover had defined the product, and Immoweb were fully committed. Now, Qover started the product creation process, identifying a risk carrier, and developing a policy that included three distinct elements.
Laurent Dupont adds “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.
As far as we are aware, no other company – traditional insurer or InsurTech – could execute the project to the same high standard in such a short window, if faced with a similar challenge.
With the policy created, Qover’s proprietary technology enabled a smooth implementation: Qover’s experience in state-of-the-art digital insurance products allowed the UX and UI teams to translate conceptual designs into intuitive pages, enhanced by a seamless onboarding process.
Qover’s scalable digital insurance stack also ensured 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 product design.
Following go-live, the collaboration entered Phase 2: Immoweb and Qover’s Customer Success Teams worked to analyze web traffic, and test various optimizations in weekly iterations. Alongside A/B testing of customer flows, user research provided valuable insights into the design of email campaigns, social media strategy, and other key customer communications.
Thanks to the continuous efforts and close collaboration of the teams, the page now attracts ‘000’s of visits per week resulting in a successful launch of Immoweb’s pioneering insurance product.
Within four months of the decision to add insurance to its platform, the innovative product was already generating revenue for Immoweb and contributing to the company’s bottom line.
Thanks to this excellent outcome, Immoweb is exploring additional insurance products – including Renter’s Home Insurance – as a possible second implementation.
Immoweb currently operates as a ‘Business Introducer’ under the recently-introduced Insurance Distribution Directive in Europe, which enables the real estate platform to introduce clients to Qover and receive compensation “per insurance contract sold.”
In June 2019 we launched a second product with Immoweb : home insurance for tenants.