October 5, 2017
How Is Marine the Heart of Insurtech?
by Sam Evans
As with many parts of insurtech, the underlying driver is the move from pure risk transfer to risk mitigation, and from prevention to prediction.
Who would have thought marine insurance would be at the center of the insurtech revolution? The relationship between insurtech and marine insurance is not an obvious one for many people.
Marine is one of the oldest and most traditional classes of business, the origins of Lloyds of London, when from 1686 members of the shipping industry congregated in the coffee house of Edward Lloyd to arrange early forms of marine insurance.
However, two recent announcements firmly place marine in the center of the technology revolution affecting insurance.
First, Maersk announced they are building a blockchain-based marine insurance platform with EY, Guardtime, Microsoft and several insurance partners. Second, a U.K.-based technology company, called Concirrus, announced the launch of the first AI-powered marine insurance analytics platform.
At Eos, this was not surprising.
See also: Insurance Needs a New Vocabulary
In the first half of 2017, as part of our thesis-driven investment approach, we highlighted commercial insurance as a key area of focus and within that our first product vertical to focus on was marine insurance. What led us to this conclusion?
Commercial marine insurance is a $30 billion premium market, it’s complex and fragmented, and through our analysis we identified a significant potential shift in profit pools over the next few years. Importantly, the emergence of IoT and other devices has created a wealth of data within the industry. Marine also sits at the heart of global supply chain logistics.
During our deep dive into the sector and having spoken with more than 40 market participants across various parts of the value chain, it became apparent that marine insurers (and shippers) have never had so much data (internal and external) available to them, and many don’t have the tools or skill set to take advantage of it.
Growing competition, underwriting capacity and downward pressure on pricing has given little room to maneuver, but we were intrigued and kept digging.
The ability to gather and analyze these new information sources is helpful, but more important will be driving actionable insights through well-informed decision making based on high-quality, real-time data and analytics to improve risk selection, pricing and claim management while helping the insured better manage risk. As with many parts of insurtech, the underlying driver is the move from pure risk transfer to risk mitigation, and from prevention to prediction.
The creation of marine analytics solution platforms provide tailored insights to users, which is an important first step. Currently, software and tech providers to the marine industry are fragmented, with no dominant vendors and no joined up, end-to-end solutions.
As the market matures, the ability to harness analytics capability at the front end with improved efficiency at the back end through blockchain or other initiatives creates an even more compelling story and is an area we will be watching with interest.