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December 19, 2016

Insurtech vs. Legacy Insurance Carriers

Summary:

Crawford's purchase of WeGoLook is the precursor for deals that will drive innovation by merging the gig economy and the insurance industry.

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Combining the resources of one of the world’s largest TPA firms with one of the world’s largest sharing economy platforms will result in true innovation within the insurance industry during a time when most carriers continue to operate in a legacy manner. Forbes, December 8, 2016

The writer was describing the announcement last week that Crawford will acquire 85% of the equity in my company, WeGoLook, which I believe will be the precursor both for other mergers and for other types of deals that will drive innovation through a merger of the gig economy and the insurance industry.

Let me explain.

Traditional Supply Chain Disruption

Simply put, the traditional supply chain is being disrupted. Hugely.

Digital technology and innovation have altered the traditional supply landscape in a number of ways. Technology has decentralized and democratized the supply chain, removing the need for traditional intermediaries. This digitization has resulted in the rise of gig economy platforms, which can use mobile technology to organize cost-efficient labor in a connected supply chain ecosystem.

For a long time, insurance carriers have tacitly acknowledged the need to adjust business models and consumer delivery processes. The time has come.

The WeGoLook-Crawford partnership is only the beginning.

Customer Experience Is Changing

Forbes contributor Steve Olenski noted that “the [WeGoLook-Crawford] merger is making the customer experience even better than before by adding key benefits for insurance company customers.”

These advantages include a more streamlined claims process, the addition of flexible workers to supplement field staff and powerful mobile technology.

See also: The Sharing Economy and Accountability  

It goes without saying that the younger generations love mobile. When it comes to business-to-consumer interactions, mobile is becoming even more important than traditional communication pipelines.

Simply put, the customer experience is now one of on-demand. WeGoLook, and other gig economy platforms, are premised on on-demand asset delivery through mobile technology.

The Workforce Is Changing

The world is becoming more freelance. By 2020, one study predicts that 50% of the U.S. workforce will be independent contractors. This has significant implications that move beyond the insurance industry itself.

WeGoLook and the gig economy are using technology to redesign work process flows for enterprise clients. This, combined with the ability to dispatch on-demand workers who possess the proper skill-sets, helps to augment and supplement existing, full-time workforces.

This augmentation can be indefinite, or during times of peak demand.

Perhaps even more importantly, gig workers can easily act as field personnel for platforms that don’t yet have a nationwide footprint.

For insurance carriers, this results in a much faster and cost-effective way of providing inspections, or performing low-complexity tasks.

Gig companies including WeGoLook are more than just vendors; we easily become part of traditional business processes through partnerships and acquisitions.

What happened last week, was a perfect example of this integration in its infancy.

Expediting Claims Processes

The Crawford-WeGoLook acquisition solves one of the most persistent challenges in the insurance industry: how to get claims processed faster.

Today, insurance inspections may take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to schedule and execute.

With the acquisition of WeGoLook, Crawford is fast-tracking the entire process and streamlining the claim process workflow by leveraging “gig economy” workers, already in the field”

  • Crawford will be able to send out claim requests in real-time, tapping into WeGoLook’s workforce of 30,000 Lookers, and growing.
  • Crawford will be able to assign experienced agents to high-priority tasks, allowing Lookers to handle simple inspection requests for a fraction of the cost.
  • Crawford will experience extensive data capture efficiencies. All inspections sent through WeGoLook will be funneled through a secure, mobile platform. No more paper trails, and no confusion over what an inspection does or does not entail.
  • Crawford can leverage WeGoLook’s custom inspections capabilities. For special requests, such as needing an agent who is proficient in a specific language, Crawford can simply include the request in the order to WeGoLook’s workforce.
  • Crawford can quickly scale its workforce up or down to match demand for inspections.

Indeed, according to Crawford’s press release, this strategic acquisition will enable “Crawford to revolutionize, automate and expedite the claim handling process by utilizing a large mobile workforce for automotive and property inspections.”

See also: A Mental Framework for InsurTech  

These are exciting times for the insurance industry, with innovative technology ingraining itself in this centuries-old industry. The above thoughts are simply my observations, and time will certainly tell the full story.

But I can assure you, the marriage between the insurance industry and gig economy will be a lengthy and prosperous one.

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About the Author

Robin Roberson is the president and co-founder of Goose & Gander.co, a boutique consulting firm focused on enabling rapid growth and adoption of emerging technologies. As previous CEO and co-founder of WeGoLook, she grew the business to over 45,000 global independent contractors.

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