Direct Line acquires “digital focused” startup Brolly

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Direct Line’s move signals major push on “digital transformation” of insurance.

UK insurance giant Direct Line Group (DLG) has finalised a deal to buy insurtech broker Brolly, saying it aims to become a leading digital player in insurance.

The London-based startup launched four years ago with the aim of making insurance simple. In August last year, it launched Brolly Contents, a home contents insurance app for renters and homeowners.

The policy offered flexible cover with a monthly subscription which included a loyalty discount that increased each month if there was no claim made. The model was the opposite of other insurers, many of whom increase prices at renewal time.

Policyholders could insure all or some of their belongings, with no fees for updating cover.

It’s expected that the Brolly team, including founder Phoebe Hugh, will move to Direct Line once the deal is complete, set to be autumn this year. The terms of the acquisition haven’t been disclosed.

The aim of the deal, according to the companies, is to combine Brolly’s tech expertise with the might and reach of DLG to speed the advent of the “next generation” of Direct Line insurance products.

These products are likely to offer greater personalisation and more flexibility, along with a better online experience and easy access.

Kerry Chilvers, marketing director at Direct Line Group, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans to acquire Brolly and are looking forward to welcoming Phoebe and her team to the group. We both want the same thing which is to give customers value and simplicity. We know that we can learn a lot from Phoebe and her team and we are looking forward to channelling their excitement and significant expertise to help us with our ambitious plans.”

Existing Brolly customers can access their policy in the app until 30 July, and the company has published guidance on its site for what happens next. It’s taking on no new customers currently.

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