Ugo Weyl: Koala is a French Insurtech reinventing travel insurance


Koala is a French Insurtech reinventing travel insurance. We are a Paris-based startup co-founded by Ugo Weyl, Léo Tordjman and Antony Mechin that has raised a $2.5m seed round in July 2020, led by London based incubator and fund Insurtech Gateway alongside Playfair Capital, Techstars Ventures, and private investors. Koala builds tailor-made insurance solutions for airlines & travel agents to help them reassure their customers while offering a first in class customer experience. We are on a mission to become the most loved and accessible travel insurance company.

Q: Tell us about yourself?

I finished my master degree while working full time on the first start-up I co-founded with Leo in 2017.

I personally faced a flight disruption and realized how hard it was to be compensated, and how many people faced a similar problem.

We decided to address this problem by creating a “claim company”, offering a “no win no fee” service to handle all legal processes on behalf of travellers.

We quickly realized the inefficiencies of the market and pivoted to an insurance model by launching Koala in order to disrupt in-depth the way flight disruption is impacting travellers and more broadly, the travel insurance vertical.

Q: What is the inspiration behind your business?

Every year, hundreds of millions of passengers suffer travel disruptions and face an uphill battle to claim compensation. Travellers face antiquated claims procedures, with only 15% of customers receiving a pay-out.

Airlines also suffer, with flight disruption costing the industry €4 billion every year – an average of 5% of their total operating costs.

This situation has got even worse with COVID-19 as airlines and travel agents have suffered financially from mass cancellations. Now that flights are re-emerging, travellers fear booking their trips due to global uncertainties.

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Q: What is your magic sauce?

We build our insurance products with no exclusions, requiring no proofs nor filling forms to offer the best user experience possible.

We are proactive in detecting disruptions and do not hide behind jargons, we explain our solutions to travellers in plain English words.

Adding to the insurance cover, we add a service layer by sending useful information to travellers prior to departure and offering real-time solutions during their journeys.

Our technology allows us to track all journeys in real-time and inform travellers as the disruption happens.

We have fully automated the operations. At Koala, no human input is required to handle claims.

We have designed a powerful pricing model based on the analysis of all flight data in the world over the past 10 years. This allows us to offer dynamic pricing specific to each journey while guaranteeing the best risk assessment on the market. This model is being constantly updated with the new data we collect every single day.

Q: Where do you see your company going in 5 years?

Our vision is to make travel insurance fair & simple.

We look forward to a world where your travel insurance is seen as your trustworthy travel companion, here for you when you need it most, leveraging automated, customer-centric processes to bring you complete peace of mind.

Q: What has been your biggest setback so far?

COVID-19 has obviously been a massive challenge for the entire industry, including ourselves. Following Winston Churchill’s famous saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste” we managed to quickly identify our partners’ new needs, to launch innovate products (including Koala Flex, allowing travellers to instantly receive a refund by clicking on one button, no proof nor reason required) in order to help the ecosystem restart.

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Q: What is the next big challenge for your business?

We are currently focusing on executing our vision and launching new partnerships with big OTAs and Airlines in order to hit, in the first half of 2022, our Series A.

Q: How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

If you are a travel player wanting to reassure your customer while generating revenue, please get in touch 🐨

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