Jessica Ellerm is a thought leader specializing in Small Business and the Gig Economy and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zuper, a neowealth disruptor in Australia
This week news broke that Barclays would partner with Rise accelerator participant Nimbla. The startup offers an interesting fintech proposition to SMEs – invoice insurance – and the deal with Barclays will see the company get access to the high street bank’s one million customers.
Nimbla allows SMEs to protect their cash flow by insuring their invoices. Using an online platform, a business can connect their cloud accounting software with Nimbla and generate a report that estimates the risk of non-payment of any particular customer, as well as an expected payment date. Once this is done, the business can then insure either a single invoice or multiple transactions, and if a customer fails to cough up what’s owed and heads into insolvency, then Nimbla will cover what’s outstanding.
Trade credit insurance isn’t new, but creating an easy to use trade credit application for SMEs is. Insurance is available for as little as £5.60 for a single invoice, without any recurring charges. Not much to pay for peace of mind, and something most businesses could easily factor into overheads passed through to a customer. Users can insure up to £100,000 for a single invoice, and multiple transactions from the same buyer.
The core product is underwritten by global insurer QBE, and aside from the Barclay’s partnership, the startup already has integrations in place with other fintechs, namely Starling Bank and Trade Ledger.
According to Insurance Business Magazine, accounts receivables represent more than 40% of a business’s assets, and one in ten invoices become delinquent. Yet less than 3% of businesses in the US purchase trade credit insurance, with the figure only marginally better in Western Europe, sitting at 15%. Most of this is attributed to a lack of awareness about the product.
Exposing small businesses to simple invoice add-ons, like invoice insurance, at the point of invoice creation is most likely critical to cracking the awareness problem. Such a small outlay to prevent a common headache is pretty close to being a no-brainer for many business owners, especially when the cost isn’t that much greater than the cost of processing a credit card payment.
According to Orbis Research, the global credit insurance market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.15%, from roughly $11 billion USD in 2017 to $12.5 billion by 2023. Much of this is expected to be driven by the growth in global trade.
There is no doubt the SME market is inherently risky. Nimbla’s success, like the well worn path of insurers before it, will be evaluating and pricing that risk effectively. Luckily the data that powers these decisions is getting better and significantly more accessible, not to mention cheaper to obtain. The time is certainly ripe for these sorts of innovations.