Direct Line Group acquires London-based insurance app Brolly

Brolly, the U.K. digital insurance app, has been acquired by incumbent Direct Line Group. The terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed, while the transaction is expected to formally close during the third quarter of 2020.

Originally founded by former Aviva underwriter and product manager Phoebe Hugh and former Skype and Microsoft engineering manager Mykhailo Loginov after the pair met at company builder Entrepreneur First, Brolly launched as a personal insurance concierge. The app let you manage your existing insurance policies and then helped you spot potential gaps or duplication in coverage and search for a better deal.

That only appeared to get the insurtech so far, and in August last year, the startup launched “Brolly Contents” to plug what it saw as a gap in home contents insurance.

Designed to be fit for the digital age, the product promised “flexible” monthly cover for all or a subset of the items you own, delivered in a more convenient way via Brolly’s mobile app. Features of Brolly Contents included the ability to insure up to £40,000 worth of belongings, suitable for renters or property owners, and no fees for updates to your cover.

Phoebe Hugh Brolly Founder CEO

Image Credits: Brolly

In addition, there was a promised loyalty discount of up to 25% that increases each month you stay with Brolly and haven’t made a claim. As Brolly’s CEO Phoebe Hugh told TechCrunch at the time, that’s the antithesis to incumbent providers who offer large discounts for new customers, which are then clawed back the following years on the premise that you are too lazy or time poor to bother switching.

According to the joint announcement, post-transaction, the team behind Brolly are expected to join Direct Line Group to build on their work to date with the aim of “helping the Group to accelerate its transformation to becoming a leading digital player in insurance.”

Comments Hugh in a statement: “I started Brolly to reinvent personal insurance, and by listening and adapting to a new generation of consumers, we have made great progress so far. I’m thrilled to be taking the next step in this journey that will allow myself and my team to scale the technology and products to a much bigger audience. We are excited to continue to build beautiful and personalised products to simplify insurance within Direct Line Group, one of the U.K.’s most innovative large insurers.”

Notably, however, TechCrunch understands that existing Brolly app users have been informed that its “policy management platform” will be shutting down on 30th July, but with the option to export key data about current and expired policies. Brolly Contents is also to be discontinued per an individual customer’s cover end date.

Finally, just for posterity, here is Hugh’s original EF pitch to investors: