API revolution: Bikmo’s journey with embedded insurance

API revolution: Bikmo’s journey with embedded insurance

Bikmo makes the bike insurance landscape simpler, more comprehensive and easier to purchase. CEO of Bikmo, Dave George, envisioned leveraging API technology to integrate Bikmo’s bike insurance directly into partner platforms. Apiable offered a scalable solution which meant Bikmo could move away from a system designed solely for direct channels to a more flexible, API-led approach. One of the first companies to embrace Bikmo’s API product was buycycle, a leading global marketplace for pre-owned bikes. buycycle has enhanced its customer offering by integrating insurance options, providing a more complete and convenient shopping experience.

Bikmo was born from a profound love for cycling and a guiding mission to use technology to build a product or service that enables anyone, anywhere, to spend more time on two wheels. Its initial venture into the cycling world was an innovative, data-driven online search engine for bike components. This tool was designed to simplify the search for perfectly fitting bike parts.

Although this solution was revolutionary for cycling enthusiasts in 2012, it turned out to be slightly ahead of its time and did not achieve the commercial success it hoped for. Staying true to its core mission of enabling more people to enjoy cycling, Bikmo, which is based in the UK, pivoted in 2014. It began offering bike insurance, shifting its focus to provide cyclists with peace of mind and security, further supporting its goal to encourage cycling as a lifestyle.

Protecting the world’s riders

In 2014, ‘complicated’ was the term most commonly associated with insurance.
Bikmo aimed to transform the bike insurance landscape, making it simpler, more comprehensive and easier to purchase. Its philosophy was clear: to encourage more cycling, insurance must be easy to understand, offer thorough protection and be straightforward to buy. The natural progression was to create a fully digital, streamlined online process for securing insurance, supported by a team of passionate bike enthusiasts available for support over the phone.

An online ride less bumpy

Since the concept of buying insurance online was still a novelty, and the idea of securing bike insurance through the Internet was virtually unknown, Bikmo took on the challenge of crafting an exceptionally smooth and rapid online insurance purchasing experience on its proprietary platform. This approach granted it complete oversight over the customer journey, positioning Bikmo as the top-tier bike insurer in the UK market.

The bike industry has traditionally leaned on a B2B2C model, with bike retailers serving as the middlemen to the end consumer. However, the emergence of direct-to-consumer pioneers like Canyon and the rise of online bike retailers outpacing traditional brick-and-mortar stores have signalled a significant shift in the industry.

For up to 80% of cyclists, the trigger for buying insurance is the purchase of a new bike, driven by the desire to protect their new, gleaming investments from theft or
damage, especially during overly ambitious descents. Bikmo recognised the importance of integrating their services into the bike buying process.
Becoming Apiable

In 2020, during a virtual FinTech conference, Dave George, the CEO of Bikmo, and Allan Knabe, the CEO of Apiable, met for the first time. Bonding over their shared passion for cycling, their discussion quickly pivoted to how Bikmo could expand its digital capabilities.

George envisioned leveraging API technology to integrate Bikmo’s bike insurance directly into partner platforms, a move that promised to shift its growth from
linear to exponential. However, the challenge was the limited development resources to build the necessary infrastructure. The development team was fully committed to enhancing the core product and couldn’t prioritise time for an API program, leading to bespoke, non-scalable solutions for each new partner.

Jorj Ives, CTO at Bikmo, said: “Apiable showed us the path to a scalable solution that required minimal development effort, allowing us to focus on our core product without needing to hire specialised resources and saving us months in
development time.”

This insight led to a complete overhaul of Bikmo’s backend, moving away from a system designed solely for direct channels to a more flexible, API-led approach.
Apiable.io was instrumental in this transformation, offering a platform to
productise Bikmo’s APIs and provide a secure API portal for partners. This marked Bikmo’s transition to an API-first strategy, facilitating smoother integration with
third party services and internal development.

To simplify partner integration, Bikmo utilised Apiable for comprehensive API
documentation and management, making the system accessible and
straightforward. It chose Amazon API Gateway for its compatibility with its
existing AWS infrastructure, enhanced by Apiable’s seamless connectivity.

Julian Reitter, Head of Partnerships for Germany and Austria at Bikmo, noted the change in how they presented their API products, moving from technical jargon to a more relatable, business-oriented language. This approach made the APIs more understandable to non-technical stakeholders and significantly improved their reusability across partners.

Recognising the need for a tangible demonstration of its API’s capabilities,
Bikmo requested a demo app from Apiable, simulating an e-commerce flow with
embedded insurance. This tool proved to be a turning point, facilitating clear communication with both technical and business leaders during partner discussions.

With the new API portal and demo app, Bikmo began efficiently onboarding partners, streamlining the sign-up and integration process. However, due to the
sensitive nature of the data, Bikmo required a more secure authorisation method than the standard API key. Apiable provided a solution with its Authorisation Service, ensuring customer data was handled securely, aligning with Bikmo’s data protection and privacy priorities.

This strategic partnership with Apiable and the shift to an API-led model have
streamlined Bikmo’s operations and set a new standard in how bike insurance is integrated and offered.

Getting traction with buycycle

One of the first to embrace Bikmo’s API product was buycycle, a leading global marketplace for pre-owned bikes. buycycle has enhanced its customer offering by integrating insurance options, providing a more complete shopping experience. Buyers of high value bicycles seek assurance against theft, damage or accidents, and buycycle’s incorporation of insurance directly into the checkout process addresses this need effectively.

buycycle recognised the value in alleviating customer concerns associated with purchasing second-hand bikes. Before this seamless API integration, customers interested in insuring their purchases had to navigate to Bikmo’s website, register and manually input their details to secure a policy. Now, insurance can be effortlessly added to their cart during the purchase, eliminating the need for additional steps or extensive paperwork.

Moreover, buycycle benefits financially from this arrangement, earning a commission from Bikmo for each insurance policy sold through its platform.

Buycycle onboard
Integrating buycycle onto the platform showcased the true value of the partnership with Apiable. Instead of initiating the integration with extensive meetings and
demands on Bikmo’s development team, the process was streamlined significantly. The partner manager simply directed them to sign up on the API portal. Apiable’s
handling of user authentication meant Bikmo only needed to approve access requests. The buycycle team managed its internal set-up, including permissions and API credentials distribution among their developers.

buycycle found the process easy to understand, especially appreciating the ability to
test the API in a Sandbox environment provided in the documentation.

After buycycle was confident in its Sandbox implementation, it requested to
move to production. Given the high stakes of compliance and the importance of
protecting customer data and revenue in the insurance sector, Bikmo maintains
rigorous standards for integration quality.

Bikmo leverages Apiable’s built-in approval processes for registration and
subscription, enhancing oversight. “It allows us to monitor incoming partners and
engage with them directly. When a partner is set to transition to production, we
review their Sandbox performance. If all aligns, we authorise their move to
production,” George explained. This meticulous approach ensures that integrations are executed flawlessly, safeguarding against potential issues.

Crossing the line together

From its inception as a beacon for cyclists searching for the perfect bike part to its metamorphosis into a trailblazer for embedded insurance, Bikmo has not just pedalled alongside the cycling community, it has led the pack.

The vision was always clear: to empower cyclists. But as the terrain changed, so did Bikmo’s approach. Embedded insurance was not just a new product offering but a paradigm shift. By integrating insurance seamlessly into the purchasing process, Bikmo ensured that protection was not an afterthought but a fundamental part of the cycling experience. This innovation did not merely add value; it created a new standard.

With Apiable’s cutting-edge API technology, Bikmo’s embedded insurance offering has become more seamless and integrated. This partnership has allowed Bikmo to effortlessly embed its insurance solutions into a wide array of cycling platforms, including buycycle, enriching the customer journey with safety and assurance at every pedal turn. Apiable has proven to be the linchpin in Bikmo’s strategy. It enables rapid, scalable and efficient deployment of embedded insurance, making it as integral to the cycling experience as the bike itself.

Since the roll-out of its APIs, Bikmo has seen 261% growth in new policies forecasted. This helped Bikmo post an impressive 51% growth in new policy sales from 2022 to 2023 in what was largely considered a down period for new bike sales.
buycycle has been instrumental in bringing Bikmo’s vision to life. By integrating Bikmo’s insurance directly at the point of sale, buycycle has enhanced the value proposition for its customers and set a new standard for consumer protection within the cycling industry. This synergy between buycycle and Bikmo exemplifies a shared commitment to making cycling more accessible and worry-free, encouraging more people to embrace the joy of riding.

George said: “The promise of tomorrow is not just in the technologies we create but in the experiences they enable. Bikmo, together with Apiable and buycycle, stands at the forefront of this new era, ready to pedal into a future where every cyclist has the freedom to explore, the assurance of safety and the joy of an ecosystem that rides together.”

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