April 14, 2016
A Word With Shefi: At Telematic
Insurers must understand that "telematics is a play toward a one-to-one relationship with their customers, rather than an extra tool to price risk."
This is part of a series of interviews by Shefi Ben Hutta with insurance practitioners who bring an interesting perspective to their work and to the industry as a whole. Here, she speaks with Marti Ryan and Tom Yates at Telematic.
Describe Telematic in 50 words or less:
Telematic is a SaaS platform that creates personalized pricing models based on driving behavior, mobile phone usage and lifestyle behaviors. It offers insurance companies a way to more accurately price risk, yet more importantly it’s a new marketing channel for a more personalized insurance experience.
[Marti] Because usage-based insurance (UBI) makes sense; it’s where insurance is moving; and it’s a good problem for us to solve as a team. Tom was working for a top carrier and saw how difficult it was to execute a dongle-based telematics program and realized that mobile would most likely replace the dongle/hardware solution, so he went home and built it for a year.
[Tom] Marti has over 10 years of market research experience making cities sticky for the next generation. Together, we can make insurance sticky.
Describe your typical client:
We are in the B2B space targeting small to mid-sized, forward-thinking carriers that are looking to explore UBI and are willing to do something different and stand out.
Convincing insurance companies that telematics is a play toward a one-to-one relationship with their customers, rather than an extra tool to price risk. The space is crowded with several companies focused on actuarial, B2C and fleets, but then again that’s an indication of the role this technology has in the currently evolving insurance value chain. Our solution brings in a different approach to the space, one that creates a new marketing channel using 17 years of combined insurance experience to leverage mobile in an engaging way for the next generation.
Who has been supportive of your cause?
Co-Manager at Wisconsin Investment Partners Bob Wood has been a champion, Brian Worden CEO of TeamSoft, Liz Eversol from SOLOMO Technology, Tera Johnson of the UW-Extension Small Business Development Center programming in Madison and, of course, our families.
Why did you decide to take part in the Global Insurance Accelerator?
[Marti] The timing of our start-up lent itself well to an accelerator program that took place in the spring. I’m new to the accelerator scene but understand the huge value it can offer when the right circumstances align to the right program. We had applied to a Madison-based program, and in doing so we broadened our application to the Midwest market. GIA proved to be the perfect fit for us given its insurance focus and our goals; we’ve made connections and built relationships within the GIA network that will help us get Telematic to where it needs to be.
If not for Telematic, what would you be doing?
[Marti] Most likely doing three to four other things; working with the B-Corp group to help B-Corps tell their story via B The Change Media and continuing to provide business planing and consulting for the food industry, including a non-profit, kitchen incubator (FEED Kitchens) and a local restaurant kitchen buildout to allow scaling a meal preparation and delivery business using organic, local and gluten-free ingredients.
[Tom] Working as a software engineer for another SaaS startup.
Best life lesson:
Never give up and keep asking the right questions to the right people.
What are you most excited about with respect to Telematic?
The opportunities that are in front of us are outstanding. We’re certain we’ve got a shot at being a partner for our target market, and, because we’re in the GIA, we’re well positioned to support Midwest-based carriers.