Put all insurance contracts, loan or investment documents in one place and use smart algorithms to find out if you can negotiate any of the financial products more advantageously. This is the goal of the Orbi application, which Jakub Škrabánek and his team are behind. He wants to bring easier guidance in personal finance to customers and, as its founder says, he has the ambition to replace the work of financial advisors. Based on the uploaded documents, it not only monitors the notice periods or the up-to-dateness of the data, but it should also be able to continuously evaluate the profitability of individual contracts.
Insurance policies, mortgages, investments and savings can be managed in the Orbi application. According to Jakub Škrabánek, since its recent launch, three thousand customers have used it, who can digitize all their contracts in it, and if they find a better offer on the market, they can simply switch to another insurance company. More favorable products, whether in terms of price or specific parameters with regard to the needs of the client, are constantly trying to find set algorithms that are connected to most of the main financial institutions in the Czech Republic.
The important thing, according to Orbi’s founder, is that everything works remotely and the user has full control. “Our application does not force anything, the decision is solely up to the user. That way, everyone can get their finances in order by themselves and they don’t need a person who is paid according to what product they sell.” says Skrabánek. According to him, digitization, control of clients over their data and the possibility of free movement across the market for a better offer are the most important things.
“Financial advice is still mentally in the nineties. According to them, the client needs to be exploited and time is not given to him for mere consultations without the need to arrange something else. And the comparators’ goals are purely sales-oriented too.” adds Skrabánek. In the interview, he explains how the Orbi app works, what is its place in the market and what are the next plans.
I understand correctly that you are going to a market where there is for example Rixo and other similar players? What makes Orbi different?
Rixo and others are primarily lead generators. This means that they first ask the customer online, who they then call and complete the offer over the phone. Instead, we build an application that manages the user’s finances and also monitors and checks existing contracts. The individual products differ from each other, for example, in the case of risk life insurance, it is usually more worthwhile to modify the existing contract than to negotiate a new one. Sometimes the user in question does not even need a contract. We also take care of the client’s financial health, for example whether he has a financial reserve or is not unnecessarily over-insured. We do not want to build our relationship with the customer on the basis of negotiating a new contract, it is more about long-term financial management.
Among the young projects on the market there is also, for example, Patron Go, which promises similar services to your Orbi Inspector. How are you different?
Patron Go analyzes transactions on the current account. In them, he looks for potential services that he offers to clients by phone or by redirecting them to external partners. The goal is for their clients to save. Orbi focuses more on total family income, expenses, risks, insurance amounts or mortgage interest. Based on these numbers, we evaluate the client’s financial situation and set up financial products according to it: insurance, reserve, investment strategy. We try to find the client the best offer that meets their needs. Cheap insurance that doesn’t protect me is useless.
How does Orbi’s business model work?
We help users manage finances, insurance, investments, mortgages, savings. If our client orders one of these services, we receive a reward in the form of a commission from the service provider, typically a bank or insurance company. All comparators and most financial advisors work similarly. But because we don’t want to have just a simple transactional relationship with the client, through the application he gets other benefits, such as the storage of his financial documents, product and investment advice, cashback on most products. This year, we also plan to launch consulting in the field of pension and asset protection. Orbi actually combines the advantages of services such as Porto, Rixo, Hyponamír and financial consulting into one unit with the maximum degree of digitization.
You pay cashbacks to clients. Why and how do they work?
Orbi, as an intermediary of financial services, receives commissions from financial institutions in the same way as a classic financial advisor. However, because we consider finance to be a commodity service, we return part of this commission to the client in the form of cashback, so that the use of the application pays off as much as possible. We can afford it thanks to the fact that the application is more efficient in principle. There is no need to pay for trips for clients, tens of thousands of them can easily be served at once. In general, the high price for financial advice is hidden from the client in the price of financial products. We are trying to make financial advice cheaper in this way.
You say that Orbi manages all finances in one place. What exactly does “all finance” mean? Does Orbi also have access to my bank accounts?
No, connecting to accounts or spending analytics is done quite competently by most banks and a few other services like Spendee or Budgetbakers. Orbi focuses on protection against risks, housing and capital appreciation. So it is classic financial advice. As a client, I want to be calm, because the whole family depends on me. If I accidentally crash my car or burn down the house I’ve been saving for all my life, I don’t want it to ruin me. I also need to make good use of the money I have left at the end of the month. And ideally someone should take care of all this for me, because I don’t want to remember everything and write out all the important data from the contracts. But at the same time, I don’t want to go to meetings because of all this and talk about it with someone, I have neither the time nor the mood for that. Orbi is here instead.
No financial consulting methodology existed on the Czech market.
You are said to be able to evaluate the usefulness of uploaded contracts, check notice periods and the up-to-dateness of data. Do I understand correctly that everything is done automatically and with the help of algorithms?
For car insurance and property insurance, the evaluation of data from the contract is fully online. Based on the client’s data, an algorithm will create the optimal contract settings according to our own insurance methodology – when it should start, how long it should be valid for, which risks it should definitely cover and which additional insurances are unnecessary. The application then compares this with the current contract. We show the client how much the current contract differs from the ideal one, and at the same time we look for offers on the market that correspond as closely as possible to the optimal setting. If by chance he would like to keep the new contract set up the same as he had so far, we will compare the offers of insurance companies with this input.
From the moment we digitize the contract, the entire process, to two sets of final offers, takes a maximum of two minutes. We develop all the necessary algorithms internally. We also use our experts for life insurance. Finding the best offer requires searching for parameters in the old insurance conditions of products that even the insurance company may no longer have on offer. The algorithm still calculates the optimal level of coverage according to our methodology, but the resulting verdict is decided by a human.
How do investments work in Orbi? Can I choose how and in what to invest? Who is an investment broker?
We use a platform from Wood & Company, which allows clients to invest in stock and bond ETFs, rebalances the account itself, reinvests earnings and the like. The emphasis is mainly on simplicity, we did not want to create a super complicated investment platform with an excess of options. Instead, you can create your own investment goals and link them to investments from Orbi or elsewhere.
How do you advise clients?
No financial consulting methodology existed on the Czech market. So we searched abroad and found the German standard DIN 77230 entitled Basic financial analysis for households. This standard, which has been adopted by many renowned banks and financial advisory companies, has become an inspiration for us as well. What impressed us the most was its ability to standardize the financial analysis process. Thanks to this, the result depends on objective parameters, and not on the subjective assessment of the financial advisor or the specific bank that performs the analysis.
This is exactly what we wanted to bring to the digital world. We had to adapt the standard to the Czech environment, because we have a different system of state security, but as one of the main points we kept the principle that until a person has at least a minimum level of life and property security, he cannot rely on his financial future.
Jakub Škrabánek, founder of the Orbi application
Your main goal is to replace the financial advisor, but if the customer does not understand something, he can turn to experts. This means that they turn to financial advisors, which you also have contracted within Orbi?
We have our own financial experts who are available to the client. They don’t have sales goals, they aren’t rated based on the number of tickets or phone calls handled, and they are our employees and don’t have their own clients outside of Orbi. In the end, it is not so much about replacing all human interactions at all costs. It is absolutely clear that the client will want to discuss a bigger decision, such as a mortgage, with someone. But for us it is mainly an add-on to the application.
Orbi advisors do not receive direct sales commission. So how are they rewarded?
They have a fixed salary that is not related to whether or not they sell anything to the client. They are not sellers. We sit together in the office, we talk about the clients’ questions. We get client feedback and think about how to improve the app and the whole service.
How many users do you have and what are your plans for the coming years? Are you registering any sales yet?
The application has been available for download for five months, now we have three thousand users, sales in the order of hundreds of thousands. Only at the turn of the year will we start focusing more on marketing and acquiring new clients, until now we have mainly focused on tuning the application and our own tools. The goal is one hundred thousand clients over the next three years.
Who pays for the entire project? How much has already been invested in it?
About fifty million have been invested so far. Orbi is based on a robust infrastructure, which we can now expand with additional products and services. Since development is expensive, we had to put together enough capital, which comes from several different investors from among friends, acquaintances or colleagues who hold shares. One of them is, for example, Jan Nejedlý.
Will you be looking for any outside investors?
It is not planned, it currently does not represent any added value for us that would fit into our business strategy. We do not have nor are we looking for a strategic investor from the field of finance, this is one of the ways for us to avoid a conflict of interest and maintain our independence.
Article partner is Orbi