Choco will be focusing on professional liability insurance for independent traders on the basis that this segment is not being handled adequately by the insurance companies. The company operates under a fully digital model but will be marketing the product via insurance agents: “There are many customers who want to buy digitally but also want a human agent”.

right: Liav Gefen and Uriel Aharoni

The Choco insurtech company is launching activity in Israel. Choco, which was founded by former Harel marketing VP Liav Gefen together with technology entrepreneur Uriel Aharoni, is currently starting to operate as an insurance agency specializing in the area of professional liability insurances, the target public being independent traders. Choco has received an insurance agency license, the plan being to become an insurance company under the same name.

“We regard the independent traders as a segment which does not receive the treatment due to it from the insurance companies”, Gefen said in a conversation with Policy. “On the one hand, salaried employees are well protected and are attended to by the employer. On the other hand, employers who are medium and large companies receive preferential treatment from the insurance companies. The insurance companies prefer companies with 10,000 employees rathe than 10,000 independent traders” Gefen said.

According to data that Gefen is relying on – there are around one and a half million independent traders in Israel – some of them full time and some of them alongside a salaried job. According to estimates, this model, known as the Gig economy, is expected to expand rapidly and significantly, worldwide and in Israel.

In the initial stage the Choco agency has engaged with the Harel and Migdal insurance companies. The agency will be focusing on professional liability insurances for independent traders, with emphasis on niches. Choco will be working with Migdal on professional liability insurance for the sports trainers sector and with Harel – professional liability and other insurances for cosmeticians and beauty care practitioners (product liability, professional liability, extension for clinics etc.).

Gefen stressed that the company, whilst operating under a full digital model, is open to insurance agents – the insurance agents will receive a link which they will send to their customers, who will be able to purchase the insurance directly, with the insurance agent receiving the sales commission. “There are many customers who want to buy digitally but also want a human agent who they can contact via Whatsapp”.

Choco plans on launching an insurance company in a year’s time. Gefen said that the insurance company and the insurance agency will be working side-by-side: “Where there are good coverages in Israel, we will market them via the agency, and where the coverages in Israel are insufficient – we will import them from abroad and market them here via the insurance company”.

Worldwide activity

Choco started out in Delaware in the USA. There it is active in beta stage (one stage before marketing to the general public). Choco’s activity in the USA is as an underwriting agency (MGA), the insuring company being Amtrust. Gefen does not confirm, but also does not deny Amtrust’s involvement in the setting up of activity in Israel. This is not the first time that Amtrust is showing interest in the Israeli insurance market – the company has in recent years considered investment in a number of Israeli insurance companies, including Clal and the Phoenix.

The activity in the USA and in Israel, Gefen added, are supposed to operate independently of each other and also form the basis for research and development of insurance products all over the world. “Our goal is enable the transfer of data, technology, products, insurance and reinsurance and so on in order to improve our products, reduce costs and give customers better products, adapted exactly to what they need”, added Aharoni, who acts as the global operations manager. For example, alongside launching activity in the USA and in Israel, activity is also being set up in Italy and in other countries, with the aim of developing across the entire European continent and in other areas and improve the efficiency of insurance and making it simple, accessible and fair for the consumer”.

The article was Published in Policy – The Israeli insurance newspaper.



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