Meeri Savolainen stands in front of a wall with the INZMO logo on it.
Meeri Savolainen. Image: Jake Farra

‘A more diverse business is a more productive and innovative one’

1 Mar 2023

INZMO’s Meeri Savolainen talks to about diversity and inclusion within the insurtech industry.

Meeri Savolainen is the co-founder and CEO of INZMO, a Berlin-based company providing insurance and financial services to the rental industry. Recognised as one of the top 10 women to watch in insurtech last year, Savolainen is committed to ensuring widespread diversity and inclusivity within the industry.

Savolainen began her career as a lawyer, a job that she liked, but also found to be too safe. Armed with a confidence in her capabilities and a desire to pursue something new and innovative with more risk and responsibility, she soon found herself working as a leader in the insurtech industry.

“Seven years ago, my co-founder and I founded Bike ID, an international bike registry to counter bike theft. To further monetise our platform we integrated an app to sell bike insurance, and it was from that point that we realised the potential of easy-to-use online insurance services.”

A year later and their business had been transformed into an online B2B2C (Business to Business to Customer) insurance agent named INZMO.

INZMO is dedicated to improving the insurance process within the European rental industry, both for tenants and landlords. “We aim to own all of the financial services that tenants and landlords need to avoid and reduce rental debts, with the goal of freeing up liquidity and offering more financial flexibility,” said Savolainen.

The company works to ensure that renters can move into a home faster and with all the coverage necessary to protect themselves from household risks as well as risks to their income. In relation to landlords, the company assists them in managing renter risk effectively, as well as assisting them in their management of large property portfolios.

‘It is hugely important to actively celebrate the women leaders in our sector and encourage them to share their knowledge – both about the industry and being a woman in fintech’

The state of insurtech

While the insurance industry has been evolving with technology, its adoption of emerging technologies and digital processes is making slow progress, according to Savolainen.

“The insurance industry is known for being conservative and risk-averse, which can make it challenging to introduce and implement new technologies and processes. Additionally, it’s heavily regulated, which can also slow down the adoption of new technologies.”

However, she notes that the technology driving change in the industry could potentially improve the overall customer experience and reduce costs. “By automating tasks and leveraging data, insurers can make more informed decisions and better serve their customers.”

Concurrent to the adoption of new technology within the industry are some major challenges. Factors such as the global economic environment have led to drops in insurtech investment, which Savolainen says is seriously impeding digital transformation efforts in the sector.

“However, in spite of this,” she said, “it’s likely we will see continued growth in the use of digital technologies to support the delivery of insurance services. This may include the use of data analytics to better understand and manage risk, the adoption of automation and AI to streamline processes, and the use of digital platforms to enable more convenient and personalised customer experiences.”

Diversity in the industry

According to Savolainen, one major priority for the insurtech industry is improving diversity and inclusion within the sector. A report investigating hundreds of insurtech tech start-ups in 2018 found that only 4pc of these start-ups were founded by women. Savolainen says that the funding allocated to women-led insurtech start-ups is steadily declining year after year.

However, she also notes that she is seeing more and more companies increasing their efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion.

“These efforts can help to drive diversity in the industry and create more opportunities for minority groups which is of course very welcome in sectors like insurance, which continues to be grossly underrepresented. A more diverse business is a more productive and innovative one and we know having visible role models will have a substantial impact.”

When asked about what more needs to be done to encourage women founders in Europe, Savolainen answered that first there needs to be more funding for women-founded companies along with less bias towards their efficiency. Along with this, she says there needs to be an effort to provide mentoring and leadership programmes aimed at supporting the advancement of women, more recognition of female achievements, and a reduction in the gender pay gap and discrimination.

And what advice does she have for women starting out on their start-up journey?

“I’d encourage women in my sector to seek out women fintech role models to learn from – be it from a mentoring perspective, on forums or through networking events. Encountering other women in the industry will help to set the scene for their progression as well as outline the reality of the opportunities and challenges inherent in our sector and how best to navigate these.

“It is hugely important to actively celebrate the women leaders in our sector and encourage them to regularly share their knowledge – both about the industry and being a woman in fintech.”

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Colin Ryan
By Colin Ryan

Colin Ryan has worked as a copywriter/copyeditor with Silicon Republic since January 2023. Coming from a background in creative media and technology, Colin has previously worked as a researcher and camera operator. He enjoys watching films, listening to music, and befriending every dog he meets.

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