• Reverse-auction marketplace app, honcho, launches for iOS and Android
  • Top insurers, brokers and MGAs including Marmalade, Flux Direct, Think Insurance, Freedom Brokers, Quoteline Direct and Brightside integrated with more to follow
  • Over 25 brands represented from launch including Axa, Ageas, Aviva, ERS, LV, Highway, Southern Rock, ABC, Covea, Markerstudy and Sabre
  • Huge benefits to be created for young motorists who currently pay 149% more than the national average on their car insurance premiums

AFTER MORE than three years’ worth of planning, crowdfunding, app development and insurance provider integration, insurance industry disruptor, honcho, has now launched its new app into the insurance market.

honcho is the UK’s first reverse-auction marketplace for financial services and is set to change the way people buy insurance forever – by asking insurers and brokers to bid for consumers’ custom and battle it out with other insurance providers to propose the most competitive premium.

The app has completed testing and is now available for public download for iOS and Android via both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

The service is also operational online at gethoncho.com, giving consumers multiple ways to use honcho whatever their device or location.

Tom Spence, honcho’s chief product officer, comments: “Over the past few weeks we’ve completed the integration of our launch market participants onto our platform and have been through an extensive period of live beta testing with over 1,000 consumers who signed up to our VIP Early Access Programme.

“The moment that we’ve been working towards for a very long time is finally here as we make honcho available to drivers across the UK. It’s massive not only for us, but for consumers across the country who for far too long have been treated less-than-favourably by certain digital aggregators who claim to operate in their interests. The insurance revolution is here!”

honcho aims to reduce insurance costs for all, but especially for young drivers aged 17-24 who typically fork out £1,177 on annual car insurance fees, according to honcho’s findings – that’s 149% more than the £471 national average.

For launch honcho are focussing on the young driver market, and multiple insurance providers are now bidding for customers’ business on the platform, including Brightside, Flux Direct, Quoteline Direct, Freedom Brokers, Think Insurance and Marmalade, with insurance underwritten by over 25 brands including industry heavyweights such as Axa, Ageas, Aviva and LV from launch.

honcho is also in talks with a number of other leading insurance providers who are interested in using the service, and brands will be regularly joining the service over the coming weeks and months.

The public launch of the Durham-based start-up, which hopes to tackle price comparison websites head-on, comes at a time of increasing uncertainty for PCWs, as regulatory bodies continue investigations into their commission fees and terms of service and the Government consider bringing regulation to such services.

Unlike the PCW model of charging insurers commission, which is then passed on to consumers, honcho’s service and fees are totally transparent and equitable, with no commissions at all.

Insurers, brokers and MGAs each pay £1 for the right to bid for a driver’s custom. Each real-time auction covers three rounds of bidding and takes under 30 seconds to complete. At the end of each round, the participating insurers are able to see what each other participant is offering the consumer, giving them the opportunity to adjust their bid downwards, should they wish to, in an effort to help win the business. Users are free to request further bids, and the insurers’ £1 fee allows them to re-bid for each user as often as asked across a four-week period. As a result, insurance providers are incentivised to consider ways to bring premiums down in order to win consumers’ custom.

In particular, honcho hopes its platform will offer an uplifting alternative to PCWs for young drivers, who have previously been subject to extortionate insurance rates through existing models of aggregation. A number of insurers, brokers and MGAs with a keen interest in reducing premiums for young drivers have signed up for integration from launch, including the likes of Marmalade and Think Insurance.

Gavin Sewell, CEO of honcho, comments: “It’s been a long time in the making and words can’t describe the level of excitement that can be felt around honcho HQ now that the platform is live to the public.

“Our model is one-of-a-kind and will be revolutionary for drivers of all ages. We want to empower both insurance providers and consumers, not only by providing a more cost-effective way for providers to access consumers looking for insurance, but also by streamlining the system such that consumers need only enter their details once – then they can sit back and watch brands come to them. We’re especially keen to see the benefits to young motorists, who for so long have struggled to acquire fair policies.

“We see honcho taking on the role of ‘matchmaker’ between customers and insurance providers, initially for car insurance, but with a view to offer a range of other insurance products and markets later this year.

“We’re also very much championing consumers’ interests with absolute clarity and transparency in all that we do. It’s going to be the way forward and price comparison websites should be prepared to feel us hot on their heels.”

Andy Martin, Broker & Distribution Director at Marmalade, comments: “It’s a very exciting time for all involved – as soon as we heard of honcho’s proposition, we knew we wanted in. This new app has the potential to really shake up the way insurance is delivered and we’re especially excited to be reaching out to more young drivers to help them drive down the cost of insurance with the help of our black box technology.”

honcho recently closed their latest funding round, securing £750,000 investment from Maven Capital Partners. This is being used to support the next phase of honcho’s growth, including growing the honcho team as well as developing the next personal lines to be launched on the honcho marketplace.

honcho was first established in 2016 and has built significant momentum within the industry in anticipation of its launch. honcho has integrated its platform with software houses including CDL and SSP as well as connecting directly to insurance providers.  honcho is particularly grateful for the important support of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Innovate programme, whose role is to assist and accelerate innovative businesses to become FCA authorised, to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers, and encourage innovation in the interests of consumers.

To find out more about honcho, please visit gethoncho.com.

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