UK-based Honcho aims to solve what it believes to be the biggest problem facing insurance today — low cost at the expense of quality.

To change this trend, Honcho matches car and van drivers with the cover that best fits their needs through a concept known as a 'reverse auction'. Users piece together their ideal cover, put it up for auction and then let some 35 insurers on the app bid against each other to be the one to provide it. 

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Honcho fetches automatic bids from insurance providers and sorts them by their Honchometer score – the closest match to the user’s needs.

‘’We want people to discover and buy the right thing for them instead of just chasing cheap no matter what,’’ Graeme Stoker, Chief Digital Officer at Honcho, said.

‘’When you're buying a new car, you don't just go in and say you want the cheapest possible model. It's only in insurance where this mindset seems to exist. 

‘’We’re trying to make people think about what they really need instead of just looking at the price tag. Cutting corners in this world is a bad idea if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have to use your cover,’’ Mr. Stoker added.

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Graeme Stoker, Chief Digital Officer at Honcho.

On track to revolutionize insurance

Honcho is still early in its journey to change the way people think about and buy insurance. The app has onboarded some 23,000 users since its launch in summer 2019, a number Mr. Stoker deems tiny in the grand scheme of things.

‘’We're not too focused on our volumes at the moment,‘’ he said.

‘’It's about bringing more insurance providers to our platform, building upstream partnerships and really making our UX stand out, which is what Microblink is helping us do.‘’

Shaving the weight off onboarding

As a digital marketplace, it was imperative that Honcho kept its onboarding process as lightweight and engaging as possible.

The start-up worked with Microblink prior to the public release on bringing an ID scanning functionality to its tech-savvy users. Whether they sign up on mobile or desktop, the first thing that comes up is a pop-up window asking them to scan their driver license with BlinkID.

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‘’BlinkID allows us to grab a whole bunch of data very early in the onboarding flow, which sets our users up nicely on their journey,‘’ Mr. Stoker said.

‘’Plus, one of the major challenges in insurance is the veracity of information you're pricing your risk upon. With BlinkID, we know the personal data of our users came free of typos from a government-issued identity document. 

‘’This is important because even a very small mistake in this world makes a substantial difference to the price offered.‘’

Providing a consistent experience

Besides its iOS and Android apps, Honcho has also integrated BlinkID on its website. 

Users first scan the QR code on Honcho website using their smartphone. This then opens the scanning flow inside a mobile browser where users can take a picture of their driver license and get the parsed results back. 

On the backend, Honcho has integrated BlinkID as a self-hosted API to handle data extraction from document images coming its way.

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‘’Integrating BlinkID via Docker lets us provide a consistent experience to all of our users, no matter what their channel of choice is,‘’ Tom Spence, Chief Product Honcho, said.

‘’The licence scanning feature in our web app also helps to set us apart from our competition, who typically are web based providers, but don’t offer this type of user functionality.‘’ 

Better car insurance for everyone

Drivers looking to buy car insurance today don’t have many options. 

They can reach out to an insurer directly or use a price comparison website to get more quotes at once. Mr. Stoker says the control these websites have over the insurance market is what’s been hindering innovation and driving the quality of cover down in recent years. 

‘’When low price is the only thing that matters, then the only way to stay competitive is to strip things out of your product,‘’ he says.

‘’We're trying to help drivers discover the insurance cover that's right for them and encourage insurance providers to sell the products that people want to buy.   

‘’With BlinkID in use across all three of our platforms, we stand a good chance of reducing user dropout rates and keeping the engagement high. Breaking into this stiff, highly-regulated industry won’t be easy, but we believe that with the right technology and mindset, we can change things for the better.‘’