January 15, 2018
Shai Wininger, co-founder of insurance start-up Lemonade, has criticised retail giant Amazon’s staff poaching practices, according to reports.
Amazon is reportedly expanding its product insurance business in a move that could signal the start of broader ambitions in insurance.
Taking to LinkedIn to voice his concerns, Wininger said: "Just learned that Amazon is actively targeting and trying to poach Lemonade Inc. employees,"
Adding: "I wonder if that's their idea of supporting the start-up ecosystem. Reconsidering Amazon AWS.”
Amazon Protect, which provides extensions to manufacturers’ warranties for items like mobile phones or washing machines bought on Amazon’s website, launched in Europe in 2016.
Job advertisements for the EU product insurance division described "launching a new business" and "creating a new palette of services," according to a Reuters report.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers cloud computing services. Lemonade is an AI-focused insurtech company first launched in September 2016 as a licensed insurance carrier offering homeowners and renters insurance in New York.
Werner Vogels, Amazon's chief technology officer, replied to a similar post by Wininger on Facebook, saying: "Let me dive into this. It may be a sourcing agency vs Amazon proper. I find that sourcing from our customers would be extremely counter-effective. Let me follow up by PM."
Replying to a request for comment, an AWS spokesperson told Intelligent Insurer: “We have many open positions around the world and recruit talent based on job-related skills and expertise, not the current employer. While we have employees that leave Amazon for other companies and vice versa, we haven't built the type of customer base we have by specifically targeting our customers’ employees for hire – we focus our attention on helping our customers create great businesses on AWS. We’ve also looked back over the past year, and we are unaware of any hires AWS has made from the companies making these claims.”
Lemonade is in the process of expanding nationwide. In December 2017, it attracted £120mn in a funding round led by Japanese lender Softbank.