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10 Essential Talents to Leverage Insurtech

Many insurance carriers love insurtech because it can help them become more operationally excellent. A growing number realize that this is not sufficient and that they should deploy insurtech to reinvent the way they engage with customers, as well. Leveraging what insurtech enables and combining even more operational excellence with a next level of consumer engagement is not a gradual development; it requires insurance carriers to develop new talents. Leveraging insurtech is basically a new competence to most organizations. Furthermore, it is not easy. It transcends channels, products and departments. It is about working methods but also about changing decades of routines, beliefs and company culture. And last but not least, to know how to deliver it is the real challenge. To quote Morpheus, the character in “The Matrix,” “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Here, we will distinguish 10 talents that are more important than ever to leverage insurtech for new ways of customer engagement.

1. Hang out with your customers

A different level of customer obsession is required. Because new technologies redefine behavior, we need to know a lot more. All sorts of connected devices offer insurance carriers unprecedented entry in the lives of customers and all sorts of possibilities to help them on all kinds of occasions.

To capture this opportunity, insurers have to have much better knowledge of the wishes, expectations and behavior of consumers regarding financial services. Insurers have to understand even better what requirements new customer engagement strategies have to meet. Which ways are best to maintain a dialogue with the customers, increase the contact frequency, be of value all the time, develop pull platforms and stay interesting over time? Which events or themes cause customers to go looking for content? In what way can banks and insurers best help them with that? What part can banks and insurers play in customers’ lives? Which role will be accepted by the customer?

Insurers have to know better than they do now what customers expect from them when it comes to the use of data. Insurers need to be aware of how customers weigh privacy against convenience and added value as well as what reciprocity is expected, where the absolute limits are and insurers can familiarize customers with the use of data.

This is not about briefing a customer research agency. Insurers need to immerse in the life of customers. Hang out with them and observe them.

2. Develop leading-edge data analytics skills and turn data into winning propositions

A key challenge for insurance carriers is building new capabilities to take full advantage of the data they collect from connected devices, pull platforms and smart phones. Unfortunately, the enormous amount of data that insurers preserve makes them think there is a lot of knowledge. But all too often it’s just a lot of data used for risk assessment, pricing and targeted marketing. In reality, most insurers have not yet succeeded in translating all that data into new customer propositions with new advantages. All these new data streams only become interesting when new, innovative propositions and revenue streams can be based on them — and by translating the data into actionable insights/new offerings and getting these new products and services to market quickly and efficiently.

Most insurers are simply not creative or enterprising enough to get the most from their data; neither for the customer nor the company itself. Insurers need to step up the plate.

3. Build relations where the value proposition is alive and personal

Building relationships — with customers, insurtechs and partners that are part of the same ecosystem is a core competence.

Developing customer relationships is a something most insurers have outsourced in the last 100 years to brokers and other distribution partners. These talents have to be restored and be translated to digital. Insurers have to think about a few things regarding relationships: With whom do we want a relationship? Who would we pass on? What kind of relationship? How do we develop that relationship? How do we give our best?

See also: Core Systems and Insurtech (Part 1)  

Insurers have to deal with several new aspects. They have to live up to what consumers have grown accustomed to in the mobile world: perpetual updates and improvement, new functionalities and capabilities. Products and services must now be alive and personal. New products and services should take that into account from the conceptual stage on — and there should be longevity. Any concept should be able to sense how consumer needs are changing over time and be able to adapt seamlessly. There should be a constant stream of upgrades and iterations that anticipate the endless consumer desire for continuous product renewal and innovation that will keep motivating customers over a longer period of time.

Apart from relationships with customers, other relationships have to be developed and maintained — with all kinds of parties that play a part in the ecosystem or in the customer’s context and with insurtechs that innovate a part of servicing for a insurer, insurtechs that come up with new ideas based on the data and infrastructure of the insurance carrier, etc.

Building relationships is a core competence.

4. Keep an open mind and leave room for unsupervised learning

New entrants venture to question industry conventions. Established insurance carriers should do that, too. As a colleague Eduard de Wilde (VODW) puts it, “If you want to play the game, you need to change the rules.” It’s all about questioning eroded conventions regarding customer expectations and positioning the business model, the products and services, the role of the broker and the importance of channels. Don’t start out conforming to conventions, look for ways to break them. Keep an open mind.

The high rate of the developments demands that we have to deal with uncertainty. You have to let it happen. That is against insurers’ nature. This is where we can learn from adjacent and similar industries such as banking. MobilePay, Danske Bank’s mobile payment solution, is now used by almost every Dane. But Mark Wraa-Hansen (Danske Bank) says, “If you listen to the MobilePay success story, you may think we had it all  figured out, but we definitely didn’t. Of course we had made a business case, but it didn’t stick at all. We outperformed on a lot of parameters, but, at first, we did not make any money. However, with MobilePay we created a huge user base and it enabled us to build an ecosystem. And there is a lot of money in that ecosystem. The business case is quite different to when we started. It is actually better looking ahead than what we thought initially. There is just a lot of stuff  that you cannot foresee. It turns out that MobilePay is ‘first reach, then rich’. For a bank, this sounds very risky.”

Remember your empathy,  flexibility and improvisational skills. There should also be some open ending — room for unsupervised learning — to use whatever is derived from the data and learning experiences to take the next step and continuously match changing needs. We are shifting from product to constantly evolving services.

5. Be agile and improve the time-to-decisions

This is where we need to distinguish agility in adapting to change and an agile way of working within organizations. They are related yet very different. An often-heard reason for digital transformation is that it speeds up the time to market. That’s true, of course. Time to market of small banks is six months. Large banks need twice this time. By the way, that is not unique for financial institutions. It takes fast-mover Proctor & Gamble about 300 days to go from a new product idea to a supermarket shelf.

But in many large organizations, the time-to-decisions is the main problem. Decision-making takes ages, and it’s losing possible profit opportunities because a possible profit is bigger when you can bring it to market earlier and benefit from it longer. This way, you lose momentum. The longer you wait, the less relevant the idea will become.

Agility will become the standard. Who would have thought that Spotify would eventually be more renowned as an organization model than as a music service?

6. When experimentation is perfect, it’s too late

Fostering opportunities that new technologies offer requires experimentation. We never could have guessed all the things that the internet has made possible, let alone what smart phones have made possible. It’s just as hard to foresee what can be done with, for instance, connected devices. Insurers need to use techniques such as the lean methodology to experiment with new ideas and processes and constantly tweak these with fast feedback loops. Of course, that is also a culture issue. The challenge is to get people to be more ambitious. Again, insurers can learn from the banking sector. At DBS Bank, they have changed the word “no” to the phrase “let’s experiment.” But it definitely can be done, even on a massive scale.

Part of agile working and experimentation is thinking in terms of minimal viable products and improving these on the go. Mark Wraa-Hansen (Danske Bank) says, “We actually launched MobilePay before it was finished. People told us ‘Don’t launch this until you have solved this or that.’ Of course it made us insecure. But we just didn’t want to lose the first-mover advantage. We’re building a plane while it flies. But when it’s perfect, it’s too late.”

7. Be creative and hire strange animals

Collecting and modeling data is one thing; translating it to new concepts, ideas for features in pull platforms, dialogues with customers or added value is quite another. In building advanced data analytics skills, financial institutions suffer from some sort of anemia when it comes to this particular kind of creativity. Put customer experience design in the hands of design experts, not in the hands of workers who have been working in insurance carrier for ages. Hire strange animals who feel comfortable asking the questions nobody else dares to ask, people with completely different backgrounds (from the gaming, e-retail and online gambling industries, for example).

8. Regarding orchestration: Respect all nodes, cooperate and compromise

Orchestration is required at different levels to get the most out of agile teams, break down silos and create an ecosystem where every party has added value. Terms such as “ecosystems” and “marketplaces” suggest that these are more or less autonomous. That is not quite the case. Theo Bouts (Allianz) says, “A key function in smart ecosystems is orchestration. And the most important factor for success in orchestration is a genuine belief in the significance of connectivity — and you must be prepared to live by it. There is a shift in roles between insurer, consumer and distribution partner. That means that you have to understand and respect the needs of all nodes in the network and that you keep granting access to nodes that may not be of value to you but are valuable to the ecosystem as a whole.

This part of orchestration requires a certain level of maturity and a different mindset. If all is well, parties in an ecosystem are all convinced that value is added for the network and for each of the parties. Because of that, there can be no room for practices such as hard selling techniques. Orchestration requires specific talents: content, people and process skills. When you think of a network, you may conclude that process skills are the most important in establishing an ecosystem and continuing to give it new impulses. I think that the other two — content and people — are much more important. If you want to successfully play the part of an orchestrator, you have to master content 100%. Cooperation and, if necessary, compromise, have to be in your blood.

9. Gather the right people and change your DNA

The previous eight talents make clear that leveraging insurtech to the max is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges a company faces, primarily because it often requires the company to change deeply rooted corporate cultures. It’s not about drawing up a new organigram but gathering people around you that feel comfortable with. People who are agile, dare to take responsibility, are willing to keep an open mind, have the right skills (for instance, data creativity), can handle a certain level of uncertainty, enjoy developing relationships with other parties and are obsessed with customers.

See also: What’s Your Game Plan for Insurtech?  

Often, people with these talents are already inside the company — they only have to be found and empowered. But it’s not like the traits we just summed up are present in the genes of every financial institution. It has taken quite some time before insurers invested substantial amounts of money in innovation. Peter Maas, professor of insurance management at Sankt Gallen University in Switzerland, argues that this is caused by the DNA of the whole insurance industry. The core of the business model of insurance is to look backward at risk figures. It is not about painting future horizons, customer obsession and building relationships. Innovation and customer engagement is unnatural.

10. Get in the trenches to instill change

The people at the top are the most important agents of change. So to really get the most out of what insurtechs have to offer, you must have motivated board members who love customers. Furthermore, you need a vision that sees new engagement strategies, informed by new technologies, as the primary source of differentiation and profit.

The IT infrastructure is often an important hindrance in renewing and challenging the existing business. But, in our experience, the management culture may be an even larger barrier. The more management layers, the more bureaucratic processes there are and the more that politics come into play. More agile working calls for resistance, especially by the most powerful part of the organization: the middle management.

Everything stands or falls with the C-level having sufficient strength and power to break this — all while getting the remaining management layers to give the vision their unconditional support. To really bring about change, leaders must make time to get into the trenches to instill change.

Interested to read more?

Check our latest book “Reinventing Customer Engagement: The next level of digital transformation for banks and insurers” (LID Publishing, 2017) here or here.

You can find the original article published here.

5 Favorite Innovators in Blockchain

Blockchain technology is being hyped as ‘internet’s superlative’. Some even think that blockchain promises to be a new infrastructure for financial services by 2020. The essence is that it facilitates peer-to-peer exchange of value, that is without the intervention of a third party, and that indeed renders the possibilities endless. Applications include identity validation, risk reduction, dramatic process improvement (on speed, accuracy, transparency and cost efficiency), fraud prevention, effective and efficient compliance and a lot more we can’t possibly know about at this point. In this blogpost we listed our favorite blockchain showcases.

All five have been selected for DIA editions in Barcelona or Amsterdam. All five match our key criteria; they significantly contribute to operational excellence and customer engagement innovation.

1. Tradle: KYC on blockchain

New York-based Tradle is using the blockchain to build a ‘know your customer’ (KYC) requirements network to secure both intrabank and external transfers. Current technology has moved little beyond pen and paper but the blockchain provides a secure digital infrastructure. Tradle’s system, ensures the transfer of data is verifiable. It’s about transferring trust, not assets. With KYC on blockchain, Tradle is building a global trust provisioning network to give retail, wealth, SME and institutional customers of financial institutions faster access to capital and risk allocation. Tradle helps financial institutions to turn the pain of compliance into commercial opportunity.
Read more …
Check demo …

See also: Blockchain: Basis for Tomorrow  

2. Everledger: blockchain-based diamond fraud detection

Everledger is a digital, permanent, global ledger that tracks and protects items of value by using the Bitcoin blockchain as a platform for provenance and combating insurance fraud. The London start-up is starting with diamonds, with a view to expanding into other luxury goods – high value items – whose provenance relies on paper certificates and receipts that can easily be lost or tampered with. With Everledger, the record is tamper-free; it’s immutable and can therefore be trusted. It also provides a Smart Contracts platform to facilitate the transfer of ownership of diamonds to assist insurers in the recovery of items reported as lost and/or stolen. Smart Contracts will also enable a fundamental change in the diamond marketplace and the way they’re financed. Diamonds are a global problem in terms of document tampering and fraud. In London it’s a 2 billion USD problem, meaning it is realistic to generate revenue with a blockchain-based diamond fraud detection system.
Read more …
Check the keynote of Everledger CEO Leanne Kemp …

3. Eris Industries: The smart contract application platform to solve big problems

The London start-up Eris Industries has built a universal platform for smart contracts and legal applications of blockchain technology. This platform is the first that allows the full potential of blockchain-based technologies to be realized in business. By combining blockchains and systems of smart contracts, businesses can take any data-driven human relationship and reduce it to code – guaranteeing accurate and consistent execution of functions that hitherto required human discretion to manage. The free software allows anyone to build secure, low-cost data infrastructure with run-anywhere applications. By using permissionable, smart contracts’ capable blockchains developers can easily solve commercial data driven problems.
Read more …
Check demo …

4. Guardtime: the world’s largest blockchain company

Guardtime is a cyber-security provider that uses blockchain systems to ensure the integrity of data. The company has its roots in US defense systems and expertise in state-level digital security (Estonia). Guardtime uses Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI), a blockchain technology that provides massive-scale data authentication without reliance on centralized trust authorities. Unlike traditional approaches that depend on asymmetric key cryptography, KSI uses only hash-function cryptography, allowing verification to rely only on the security of hash functions and the availability of a public ledger. In this way, Guardtime guarantees data integrity without the need to keep secrets. In short, instead of putting all of the data up in the blockchain, they only take fingerprints of the data.
Read more …
Check demo … 

See also: 5 Main Areas for Blockchain Impact  

5. Kevinsured: blockchain powered chatbot insurance for sharing economy

Kevin, Traity’s new chatbot, provides micro-insurance for online P2P transactions. Created in collaboration with Australia’s financial services conglomerate, Suncorp, Kevin protects buyers on online marketplaces such as Gumtree, Facebook and Craigslist. From buying football tickets to renting a bicycle, Kevin insures any P2P transactions against theft, fraud, scams, etc. Anything. Millions of transactions happen between strangers every day. Most of them work out really well, but the small percentage of scams make people fear strangers. Kevin brings trust to people buying, selling and renting from one another, Kevin ‘insures the use of internet’. To help stop scammers, startup chatbot Kevinsured is here to support online buyers. For any transaction under $100, Kevin validates the integrity of parties to insure the transaction between the buyer and seller. Once a purchase is made and Kevinsured is notified of it, the chatbot reaches out to both the buyer and seller to verify everything is legitimate. $100 may not sound like much, but it covers most of the transactions online. Furthermore, at Kevinsured they think that this is not just about insurance but about prevention. Users who buy and sell through Kevin will be subject to a reputation check, and scammers will simply try to avoid it, so they are likely to see a low level of scams, because scammers prefer to be anonymous.

Insurtechs: 10 Super Agents, Power Brokers

Insurers should aspire to give their agents and brokers superpowers. Superpowers? Think of the impact of speech-to-speech language translators that free you from having to learn foreign languages. Of GPS car navigators helping you find your way without knowing your way. Or of 3-D printers that enable consumers to produce their own products. Those kind of superpowers. Insurers can deploy technology to empower agents and brokers much more, leading to an even better experience and performance. For instance, by combining and integrating robo-adviser systems with human agents and brokers, insurers can deliver better conversations and higher customer satisfaction, which result in better advice and higher conversion rates. A hybrid model. The best of both world.

Connecting online customers with offline brokers and agents

Digitization changed the way people research and purchase products. More and more comparison sites enable customers to check prices and services with just a few clicks. Consequently, agents and brokers need to adapt. Yesterday’s tactics become less and less effective, in particular in view of ever increasing customer expectations. But complex insurance products still need extensive explanation, and trust in the insurer. This is where the human factor comes into play. In Germany, for instance, 59 percent of all insurances are researched online, but purchased offline (ROPO), according to a survey by Google and Zurich in 2016. For high value and complex insurance and finance products like health, mortgage and pension insurances, the ROPO share accounts for more than 75 percent of all sales.

Best of both worlds

The past decade has taught us that insurers need to manage the feelings side of their relationship with customers much better. But with new technologies primarily being used to digitize processes, insurers are in danger to become even less human.

Humans inject emotion, empathy, passion, creativity, they are able to smile and surprise, and can deviate from the procedure if needed, which algorithmic systems are unlikely to do at this stage. They have the ability to be kind, honest, friendly, generous, giving; someone who makes time for me, listens to me, keeps promises, goes the extra mile. These talents are essential parts of successful customer engagement. We believe that insurers should create the best of both worlds. By leveraging the latest technologies insurers can create smarter agents and empowered brokers.

See also: Insurtech: How to Keep Insurance Relevant  

Agent and broker empowerment

In this DIA Summer Read we included six insurtechs that insurers should team up with to revamp this channel. Each of these insurtechs supports the agent or broker in different stages of the primary process:

1. LifeDrip offers state of the art automated marketing tools to agents and brokers.

2. Predictivebid built building an advanced AI platform for online customer acquisition.

3. Finanzen.de created an online marketplace for leads.

4. Virado puts the insurance broker back in the middle with an on-demand offer for millennials.

5. RiskAPP allows agents and brokers to seamlessly collect data for risk analysis.

6. Figlo facilitates the conversation between brokers/agents and customers.

These six insurtechs have in common that they all give superpowers to agents and brokers. They give access to capabilities that used to be exclusive to large corporations. With the solutions offered by these insurtechs agents and brokers can move to a next level.

Next generation brokers

We also notice a new kind of broker emerging that taps into the needs of consumers and insurance carriers alike, leveraging to the max what digital has to offer. We included four of them in this DIA Summer Read:

7. Knip: the personal digital insurance manager.

8. SPIXII: an insurance chatbot designed to speak to consumers just as a person would.

9. Bought By Many: grouping together people with a special similar insurance need.

10. PolicyGenius: reveals the gaps and overlaps in your policies.

DIA Munich

Expect DIA Munich (15 and 16 November) to pay ample attention to insurtechs that make smart agents and power brokers.

Agent and Broker Empowerment

1. LifeDrip: The future of life insurance agent’s sales software

The world is going mobile but most insurance brokers and agents still use ‘old’ marketing methods to generate leads. It is time for something new and something smarter.

LifeDrip, launched by the Seattle based software company Xeddy, is a turnkey, fully automated mobile marketing system exclusively built for the life insurance agent. It provides monthly, custom branded email newsletters and an exclusive agent website for generating client reviews and feedback.

LifeDrip captures the fastest growing form of lead exposure, including Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. It is done automatically and the contacts and the database are continuously synced. Agents don’t even have to think about it. LifeDrip offers a new way to generate leads at a fraction of the cost. The SEO website is registered with Google and built with responsive code so it is viewable on any mobile device. To maximize Social Media marketing exposure all the required content for Social Media Marketing and Email Newsletters is automatically generated and customized specific to the agent’s sales specialties. The Recommendation Engine generates dozens of powerful and real client recommendations. SplashTriggers notifies instantaneously when a prospect is ready to be contacted for the sale and what to sell them.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2vniEFD
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2irgVOG

2. Predictivebid: the bidding platform of the future for insurance

Predictivebid is a Tel-Aviv based tech company, building the most advanced AI platform for online customer acquisition through Search & Social campaigns based on Life Time Value Measurements. They excel in lead generation campaigns, lead quality analysis and lead potential scoring, thereby optimizing the lead process and helping companies lower their acquisition cost by providing higher quality leads with better life-time-value metrics. Predictivebid bridges the gap between online and offline, helping insurers capture consumers online and then directing them to book a meeting with their nearest and most relevant agents. The AI platform connects and tracks potential customers to the right agent nearest to them, based on their location and needs. A costumer can schedule a meeting with an agent, chat with an agent or even send his details so the agent can call him back.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2vdced1
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2wmpXC7

3. Finanzen.de: the marketplace for leads

Finanzen.de, located in Berlin, Paris, Zurich and Bristol, connects lead generators such as online price comparison sites with lead buyers such as independent financial advisers and insurance companies. More than 800,000 leads are annually traded via its industry leading technology platform, using real time auctions and real time lead delivery. The company also acts as an online broker for P&C insurance products. Thanks to its scalable business model, finanzen.de is ideally positioned to benefit from the digital shift occurring in the European insurance and banking domain and to capture the significant market potential ahead.

Founded in 2004, Finanzen.de is one of the oldest and at the same time one of the most successful InsurTech companies. Finanzen.de generates about one million online leads per year for more than 20,000 insurance experts and financial consultants. Finanzen.de informs consumers about insurance and finance topics and offers interested customers free access to the best possible advice. In the search for suitable offers, visitors can perform neutral tariff comparisons. If they find a suitable offer they can close a contract directly online or receive advice from audited and evaluated experts.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2nZAR9C
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2xrmr6j

4. Virado: One app. 250 niche product insurances for Millennials

German tech startup Virado is successfully creating new sources of income for insurance brokers. By offering 250 insurance products, mainly for niche policies on one platform. Targetting German Millennials. For example, insurance for an apartment share, DJ-equipment, or a travel backpack. These kind of products were not available for the insurance broker due to high connection and transaction costs of the insurer. The Virado all in one app for smartphones and tablet is based on Virado technology. The on-demand platform offers insurance brokers structured access to all insurances. Easy. Fast. Free.

Virado puts the insurance broker back in the middle. Millennials do not use a traditional insurance broker. They go online to find an insurance solution to fit their lifestyle. The on-demand platform Virado puts the insurance broker back in the middle by giving him the opportunity to not only protect but also to create new sources of income by serving the Millennials with insurance products they need. ‘On the spot’ insurance products will significantly increase the customer’s loyalty and customer lifetime. The tech startup offers also digital business expertise and the app is suitable for the insurance brokers homepage and its own social media channels.
Virado is completely free of charge and user-friendly. All the insurance broker needs to do is download the app and register.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2w23mbh
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2wmAGg5

5. RiskAPP: Risk assessment by agents and brokers

RiskAPP is a new Risk Assessment tool created to assist insurers globally. RiskAPP is a unique platform for structured data collection and integrated risk assessment. RiskAPP helps insurers to use captured data from their prospects and clients to sell and underwrite the risks wisely and profitably. The RiskAPP is a complete Risk Assessment tool for the insurer that wants to win his challenges.

RiskAPP delivers the most complete risk assessment possible. Through the platform the insurer can offer the most remunerative coverage program giving safety and peace of mind to insurance clients and the insurance carriers. The sales process is now smooth and seamless.

When the broker has the first meeting with a prospect, the RiskAPP data collection helps the broker to engage the client. The process follows with the technical inspection where the loss preventionist gathers further technical data that clearly describes the company. RiskAPP, thanks to its proprietary algorithm, processes the data collected and elaborates a detailed report included with automated loss protection recommendations. The insurer now has access to the most complete risk profile of the insured. RiskAPP enables analytics, portfolio management and helps in increasing the efficiency of risk selection.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2wDxoon
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2vnQtX4

6. Figlo: facilitating the conversation with customers

AEGON Turkey uses the Figlo platform to facilitate the conversation between brokers/agents and customers. A tablet app guides the complete conversation and gives a quick and tailored overview of the customer’s financial situation to select suitable products based on the client’s risk profile, to cover possible shortfalls. Uğur Tozşekerli, CEO AEGON Turkey: “Customer interaction and involvement as well as the possibilities for illustration and demonstration of the product benefits dramatically increased. From a customer point of view, using the app leads to better and more understandable advice, focus on the real customer needs and on top of that faster service. Straight through processing results in more efficiency and speed of delivery. Apart from a significant improvement of conversion rates the deal size increased between 10 to 45%, depending on the product category. At the same time the operational costs decreased by 18% due to decrease in rework and paperwork. The ROI was already positive in the first year of deployment.”

Quote is from our new book ‘Reinventing Customer Engagement’

Next Generation Brokers

7. Knip: The personal digital insurance manager

Knip is a ‘mobile-first’ digital insurance broker with a simple and transparent solution to insurance; bundling all the customers’ insurance products into one app. Even if these products are from different insurers. An easy-to-understand overview shows existing insurance policies, tariffs and services. One click opens an entire insurance policy. So the important information is always at hand. After an automatic analysis, new customers receive individual recommendations based on their existing insurance portfolio. Upon request, the Knip insurance experts offer professional consulting, analyze tariffs and services and detect individual savings and optimization potential. As the consultants receive a fixed salary and no commission whatsoever, they can provide independent and honest insurance advice. The app is designed to automatically detect individual’s insurance gaps and recommend essential insurance. Knip allows users to change their tariffs, close new insurance contracts and cancel old policies with a simple click.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2wxi65i
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2vXA7YK

See also: What Incumbents Can Teach Insurtechs  

8. SPIXII: Making insurance simple, accessible and personal for everyone

London based startup SPIXII is on a mission to make insurance simple, accessible and personal. It starts by redesigning the way people buy insurance. SPIXII, named after a family of Brazilian parrots that spell out the co-founder’s names, has almost entirely done away with the human component of selling insurance. It is an automated insurance agent, a chatbot accessible via messaging platforms or via a native mobile app. Its app creates a WhatsApp-like chat on a smartphone where a robot will ask simple questions and figure out what the user needs. Built on principles of neuro-economics and the integration of user data with contextual data from multiple sources, SPIXII is an insurance chatbot designed to speak to consumers just as a person would.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2xrFfT9
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2sxsubF

9. Bought By Many: grouping together people with a special similar insurance need

Bought By Many uses a combination of search engine optimization and social media to group together people who have similar insurance needs –such as diabetic travelers, pug owners or homeowners in flood risks areas. They present that group’s requirement to the insurance industry and negotiate on behalf of the group to bring them a better deal than they can get on their own. A better deal might be better pricing, it might be more tailored benefits, or it might be both. Once they bring the offer back to the group, individuals buy directly from the insurer on the better terms that Bought By Many negotiated for them. Creating a win-win for everyone. Insurers only write the risks that they want and members of Bought By Many get a better deal.

The company finds niche groups by looking at Google search data to see which niches have high volumes of search queries. There is also a data entry box on its website letting people submit their own policy ideas. They then validate those segments through social media and engaging with niche blogs, Facebook groups and other stakeholders. The site makes it easy for users to use social media and invite friends to join via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and the like. Having established the market, the company works out the group’s specific requirements and then approaches the insurance companies to negotiate a deal on a policy.

Bought By Many suggests to insurers to split the usual broker fee in three parts: one third for the Bought By Many members to get a better benefit, one third for Bought By Many and one third for the insurance company, because Bought By Many want you to want to do this business.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2wmz8CB
Check DIA keynote CEO Steven Mendel: http://bit.ly/2v4hvrz

10. PolicyGenius: revealing the gaps and overlaps in policies

PolicyGenius for instance addresses the uncertainty of consumers with regard to gaps and overlaps in the various policies they have purchased over time. PolicyGenius offers a highly tailored insurance check-up platform, where consumers can discover their coverage gaps and review solutions for their exact needs. PolicyGenius’ online store includes solutions from life and long-term disability to pet insurance. Quoting engines offer side-by-side comparisons of tailored policies. PolicyGenius is backed by AXA Strategic Ventures and AEGON’s Transamerica Ventures. What would happen if AXA and AEGON would open up the PolicyGenius platform to all its brokers and agents in all countries she has a presence?

Read more in our new book ‘Reinventing Customer Engagement’.

10 Insurtechs That Tackle IT

Regulatory overhead + old technology = high prices + bad service.

A German insurer shared this telling formula with us, and it’s a perfect summary of the challenges that insurers are facing. Among the 75 executives we interviewed for our book Reinventing Customer Engagement: The next level of digital transformation, many said that maintaining legacy systems consumes 90% of technology budgets. Typical digital transformation programs therefore give a lot of attention to simplifying IT environments. Outdated systems not only result in high costs but also make it difficult and costly to act quickly and effectively on new customer wishes. The systems of insurers are often older than the customers they serve. Meanwhile, digital life has become so much more intuitive (Apple), interactive (Mint), contextual (Amazon), beautiful (Spotify) and intelligent (Google).

Insurers have to operate much closer to the market and foster the opportunities that new technologies offer with techniques such as the “lean methodology” to experiment with new ideas and processes, constantly tweaking these with fast feedback loops. So, in this blogpost, we included 10 insurtechs and innovative tech providers that help insurers with solving the legacy issue, taking IT off the critical path:

  1. KASKO
  2. Backbase
  3. Vlocity
  4. Keylane
  5. Faktor Zehn
  6. Roundcube
  7. Tieto
  8. OutShared
  9. Guidewire
  10. Ti&m

(The forthcoming DIA edition in Munich (Nov. 15 and 16) will, of course, feature the latest.)

1.  Kasko: Helping insurers to act like an insurtech startup

London-based Kasko is the first digital insurance platform for on-demand insurance products to enable insurance companies and brokers to quickly bring products to market. Kasko allows digital marketplaces and booking platforms to offer their customers contextually relevant insurance products via plugin or API. The company relieves clients from the regulatory and technological burdens associated with integrating directly within insurance companies. Kasko provides insurance solutions within the spaces of car, property, freelance, travel and events. By offering an API-powered agile insurance product platform that sits in between digital customer touchpoints and their customers legacy IT, they take the internal IT off the critical path to product launch.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

2.  Backbase: Omni-channel experiences, ready to go

Backbase has created the world’s leading lean customer experience platform, Backbase CXP. It has been designed to help financial institutions organize, create and manage deeply relevant customer experiences across all channels, on any device, to delight your customers and deliver measurable business results. Backbase has a flexible and modular architecture that puts insurance providers back in control of their digital experiences and strategy, which puts them back in touch with their customers. By putting their own business and digital marketing teams in the driver’s seat, insurers will be able to create the types of interactions that boost engagement, resulting in increased retention and a larger share of wallet and, most importantly, happy customers.

Backbase is a ready-to-go insurance solution. It fully supports internet, tablet and mobile experiences, including omni-channel, by facilitating cross-channel customer journeys, plus seamless handover and orchestration between channels and devices.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

See also: 10 Insurtechs for Superb Engagement  

3. Faktor Zehn: innovative agile insurance solutions

Munich-based Faktor Zehn is well known as the product house for agile insurance solutions. The international IT consulting and software company, provides innovative consulting services in combination with concrete solutions based on the platform-independent programming language Java. Faktor Zehn focuses on product management, policy management and sales and service systems to help insurance companies to innovate and develop competitive advantages. All products are developed to support insurance companies to generate speed of innovation as well as competitive advantages. Therefore, all business transactions are executable through web services to ensure a high rate of fully automatic processing. The user interface is optimized to process complex issues while leaving intact all primary batch processes, such as follow-up debit and premium due date mutations. While using products of Faktor Zehn, business and IT development teams of an insurance company work hand in hand with product development to improve time to market, to make sure that the products meet the high standards and to launch products or product variants quickly and efficiently.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

4.  Keylane: software with smart robotic applications for insurers

Keylane is the showcase of insurance 3.0. The state-of-the-art Keylane technology platform supports core processes such as policy administration, sales and distribution and underwriting, and enables companies to excel in operational performance as well as in customer service. Keylane’s software solutions enable companies to engage effectively with their customers; providing operational agility (founded on best practice), in the insurance and pension markets. New technologies such as speech recognition, social analysis and predictive analytics are already integrated with the Keylane solutions to make the insurance customer experience as easy and friendly as possible. The integration of core solutions with smart robotic applications provides front-line workers within a matter of seconds with a more holistic view of their information landscape. Improving efficiency, effectiveness and lowering of costs. The user-friendly multi-channel portals integrated with flexible administration systems enable insurers to boost customer experience as well as excel in operational efficiency, achieving cost savings of more than 50% on the IT budget.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

5.  Vlocity: Adding industry-specific process applications to Salesforce

Developed in partnership with Salesforce, Vlocity extends the Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Communities Cloud and other clouds with very specific business process applications for, among others, the insurance and health insurance verticals. The Vlocity apps on Salesforce add value to the user through a much faster time to market, a lower total cost of ownership and the agility of a product that stays in sync with Salesforce all the way through. Those are huge benefits from a business perspective.

ABD Insurance, a top 100 insurance broker in America, sells all different lines of insurance across multiple carriers and uses Salesforce, which ABD liked it but which couldn’t do all the things the broker wanted. Vlocity came in and deployed Vlocity Insurance in just 45 days.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

6.  Roundcube: Why a “fat” mid-office is healthy for insurers!

To be truly agile as an insurer, you need an almost unattractive body: a slim back office, a flat layer that enables connectivity at the front end and a rich, “fat” mid office that is the engine that drives it all. It’s the mid-office where connections should be made. We cannot wish our legacy systems away, we cannot simply upgrade, we cannot continue to add channels that add cost without bringing in more business.  But what we can do is use the back office for its core and stable strength by extracting relevant data and let it run the more stable admin tasks. This system can run at a different heartbeat and cost than a mid- and front office, while still making use of your existing investment. The Roundcube Insurance Platform is an agile mid-office engine where data becomes relevant information, where you can build experiences with the customer through relevant offerings.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

7.  Tieto: an ecosystem for business renewal

Tieto, the largest IT services company in the Nordic region and creator of the world’s first internet bank, digital health records and e-invoice solutions, has already helped a large number of worldwide businesses in banking, insurance, retail, manufacturing, healthcare and public services with the digital leap in highly competitive markets. What’s more, Tieto actively builds an ecosystem of leading innovators and startups to complement its offering on data-driven areas. Tieto has several internal startups in the company focused on Tieto’s main growth areas: Customer Experience Management (CEM), Internal Internet solutions and Security Systems. This benefits customers by allowing them an increased ability to speed up digitalization.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

See also: What Incumbents Can Teach Insurtechs  

8.  OutShared: a digital insurer in a box

OutShared offers an in-house developed and built digital insurance platform in a SAAS solution to the market. OutShared’s platform is an all-in-one insurance solution for policy management, quotations, claims origination and processing: from back-office database through middle-office processing to front-office web and app interfaces. Built on today’s digital ethos, and offered through strategic BPO and SaaS operations, OutShared offers the smart integrated solution for insurance specialists, developed for both new market offerings and the renovation of established operations migrated to the platform. HEMA for instance, an established retail brand, converted its traditional business to OutShared’s platform. As a result, the operational cost ratio decreased by 50%, the loss ratio improved by 10 percentage points in one year. The portfolio was converted in two months, from zero to live in six months.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

9.  Guidewire: Personalized and hassle-free customer journeys with among others a chatbot and Facebook messenger service

The California-based company builds software products that help P&C insurers replace their legacy core systems and transform their business. Providing insurers with solutions for the main drivers for a successful customer journey; digitalization, personalization and a real omni-channel strategy.

Guidewire products enable insurers to deliver excellent service for all stakeholder within the insurance lifecycle, increase market share and lower operating costs. The platform is based on three elements – core processing, data and analytics and digital engagement. These work together to strengthen the insurers’ ability to engage and empower their customers, agents and employees, allowing insurers to select, deploy and upgrade best-of-breed applications individually or as a pre-integrated suite, according to their requirements and priorities. More than 260 P&C insurers off all sizes and business lines around the world have selected Guidewire. In Europe alone, Guidewire has more than 45 customers across 11 countries.

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

10.  Ti&m: the benchmark for a personalized digitalization strategy

Ti&m is a Swiss market leader for digitalization and security products. The ti&m channel suite is the simple, fast, trusted and efficient way to digitalize customer relationships. With flexible business modules, ti&m creates a personalized digitalization strategy. The ti&m security suite provides the necessary security for all channels and makes the digitalization journey safer and faster. Together they set the benchmark for business digitalization. The ti&m approach is cost efficient with an extremely low cost of entry and compatible with most of the current security providers

Read more, click here.
Check demo, click here.

7 Symbiotic Ties With Insurtechs

Our previous blogpost introduced the Top 10 insurtech trends for 2017. We received a lot of requests to share more of our view with regard to the last trend we mentioned: symbiotic relationships with insurtechs. Banks and insurers are looking for ways to learn much more from the fintechs and insurtechs they are investing in and partnering with. This is indeed a critical issue to accelerate innovation in banking and insurance.

In our new book “Reinventing Customer Engagement: The next level of digital transformation for banks and insurers,” we actually included seven best practices — seven examples of banks and insurers that created very different ways of working with fintechs and insurtechs. (The book will be available Feb. 23, but you can already pre-order at Amazon).

Corporate Venturing

Virtually every bank and insurer is organizing competitions and hackathons or supports one or more accelerator programs. Some have started their own corporate venture arm. Obviously, corporate venturing should not be the main way for financial institutions to reinvent themselves. It is a means but not an end in itself. The challenge of the digital transformation is essentially a cultural one that involves the whole company, not just the technology. Working with fintechs and insurtechs offers the opportunity to rethink and accelerate innovation. Innovation is not about asking customers in focus groups what they want. It is about understanding new technologies and how they will interact with consumer behavior. And that is one of the things fintechs and insurtechs are much better at than incumbents. Therefore, financial institutions need to really immerse in the fintech community to stay on pace or maybe even a step ahead in a rapidly changing technology environment, or, better still, to shake up the status quo and accelerate change in the stagnant financial industry.

Minh Q. Tran (AXA Strategic Ventures). Key note address at DIA Barcelona in 2016

Banks and insurers are looking for ways to learn much more from the fintechs and insurtechs they are investing in and partnering with — whether it is about specific capabilities or concrete instruments they can use in the incumbent organization, or whether it is about the culture and the way of working. (At last year’s edition of our Digital Insurance Agenda, Minh Q. Tran, general partner at AXA Strategic Partners, and Moshe Tamir, global head of digital transformation at Generali, shared their view. Check here for the interview with Tamir. Obviously, expect more such keynotes addressing this critical issue at DIA Amsterdam, which will take place May 10-11, 2017.)

We have come across quite a few different models in which relationships between financial institutions and fintechs/insurtechs seem to flourish. In this blogpost, we included seven examples. This is not meant to be exhaustive. New kinds of symbiotic relationships evolve every day, and of course they can be combined.

1. DBS Bank: Fintech Injections

Neal Cross, chief innovation officer at DBS Bank, involves fintechs in his own distinctive way: “I don’t do innovation, I do sales. I sell programs that solve business problems inside the bank. We always start with their problems, around business model innovation or around KPIs. The start-up community plays a key role in our programs. I often tell our business units: ‘Give us 20 of your staff, we will split them into teams and pair them with startups.’ By embedding our staff in this agile, lean mean way of working, everyone benefits. We make sure our teams work within structured processes that include research, experimentation and prototyping, followed by implementation. Everything we do is focused, and we get senior sponsorship before embarking on a project, so we don’t have problems with innovations that end up not being implemented.”

Neal Cross

2. Aviva: Icons

This is the best practice that we included in our previous blogpost. Andrew Brem, chief digital officer at Aviva: ‘In our view, ‘icons’ are needed to spearhead the digital transformation process. Our digital garages in London and Singapore are such icons. They are a very concrete and visual manifestation of our digital journey – for everyone across Aviva. The garages are not just idea labs to house ‘skunk works’ teams. They are real places, where we make and break things. We run digital businesses from the Garages, and we design and build our digital ecosystems such as MyAviva. Anyone from Aviva is welcome to come and hold workshops and meetings there, to see and feel our digital capabilities at first hand. The garages also help us engage with insurtechs and inject their culture into our organization; by launching startups ourselves, but also by partnering, mentoring and investing. Aviva Ventures, with a fund of £100 million, is also housed in the garage, and so are some of the startups they invest in, such as the IoT home security startup Cocoon.”

Aviva Garage, Shoreditch, London

3. Deutsche Bank: Digital Factory

In the summer of 2016, Deutsche Bank started its “digital factory.” More than 400 IT specialists and banking experts from the private, wealth and commercial clients division are working on a specific site in Frankfurt to develop new digital products and services for the bank’s customers. In addition, there are 50 places for external partners from the fintech community. The digital factory is obviously also connected with the Deutsche Bank’s innovation labs in Berlin, London and Palo Alto CA.

4. Munich Re: Interfaces

Andrew Rear, CEO of Munich Re Digital Partners: “To avoid a culture clash, we have set up a separate Digital Partners unit in 2016. To make the interface between the two worlds work, two things are vital: The first is speed. Startups move fast and don’t accept the limitations of a corporate diary: ‘Time is money’ is literally true for them. We therefore need to move with the same sense of pace. The second is decision-making: Start-ups make decisions; they don’t arrange committees. Therefore, we don’t do that, either. All the key decisions from Munich Re’s side are in our hands. In our model we do the things startups don’t need to control, to make their proposition live. That can include policy administration, compliance, reporting and product pricing; the ‘boring insurance’ stuff. We have stakes in our start-up partners but we don’t interfere in the way they engage their customers. The positive effects on our ‘regular’ organization are noticeable. For example, people in compliance and risk management were not used to these new speeds but are already adapting and finding new ways to fulfill their responsibilities in a way that is manageable for the start-up.”

Example of an interface between Munich Re and startups at regional level is Mundi Lab. Mundi Lab is an accelerator partnership between Munich Re Iberia & Latin America and Alma Mundi Ventures. Augusto Diaz-Leante, senior vice president of Munich Re Life, Spain, Portugal and Latin America, explains how the cross-fertilization with startups works: “We select startups from all over the world, such as RiskApp from Italy and Netbee from Brazil. Twenty Munich Re executives mentor these startups one-on-one. The best-performing companies with the highest potential to disrupt the insurance industry have the opportunity to work on a pilot program in one of the Munich Re Iberia or Latin America markets. In this way, the sharing of knowledge, experience and expertise is made very concrete.”

The Munich Re Mundi Lab team

5. Zurich: Open Innovation

Zurich created a platform to bring together the innovation initiatives and projects in the group. Xavier Tuduri, CEO of ServiZurich Technology Delivery Center: “In the Zurich Innovation Lab, we generate disruptive ideas and strategic R&D projects for the global Zurich group. We believe in open innovation, a collaborative model that means combining the internal knowledge, for example regarding markets with external talent and disruptive technologies. In this way we are always at the forefront of the latest disruptive fintech and insurtech developments, while being able to quickly develop tangible prototypes that fit and inspire our businesses. These are prototypes, without risky high investments, for example regarding using drones for risk assessment. Each prototype project is led by an employee of ServiZurich who works together in a team with several start-ups, universities and institutions. In this way, our people and organization get injected with new ways of working and thinking.”

6. Chebanica!: Co-Opetition

If a financial institution wants to behave like a fintech, it needs to open up, think of what the ecosystem could look like, be at the forefront to see what is happening and partner with fintechs to accelerate innovation, to learn or to advance the sector as a whole. Roberto Ferrari (CheBanca!) is a protagonist of this mindset: “We believe in a ‘co-opetition’ model. There will be things in which we will be competing with fintechs and other banks, and areas where we will be cooperating with the same parties. Therefore, we try to make the Italian fintech community grow. Building a larger cake will be for the good of the whole financial ecosystem, innovation is key and startups will always be the lifeblood of any sector. We among others launched the Italian fintech awards and the Smartmoney blog, which is now the most important vertical innovation in banking blogs in Italy. We now have a very strong presence in the Italian fintech community, and we are close to all developments and connections. I and other C-level executives at our bank speak to at least five to six fintechs each week, and we have already launched two new services – award-winning Mobile Wallet and Robo Adviser — thanks to our partnership with some specialized Italian fintech startups. We help them by partnering, but also we want to help them to go abroad as scale is key to succeed.”

Roberto Ferrari (right) with Matteo Rizzi (left, one of the most influential fintech experts)

7. Metlife: Capability Building

Lee Ng, vice president and COO of LumenLab, MetLife’s innovation center in Singapore: “LumenLab and our new businesses are distinct from MetLife’s core business. Our mission is to create a growth engine that launches disruptive new revenue-generating businesses for MetLife, targeting the needs of Asian consumers across health, aging and wealth. But we do work with in-country experts to develop plans for testing the new business ideas and assess market potential. In our first year we, for instance, launched BerryQ, a quiz app that rewards users for their health knowledge; Rememory Stories, a platform to capture intergenerational stories; and developed CONVRSE, virtual reality experiences around service and sales for financial services. We notice a real mindset shift within MetLife because of this cooperation. The people we work with develop skills about new ways of testing new ideas, new toolkits and new ways of thinking. Our core insurance business thus improves their performance, through adopting new behaviors like curiosity, velocity, experimentalism and bravery. In others words, we are lighting a path for innovation at MetLife.”

MetLife’s LumenLab, Singapore

We believe that it will be increasingly important to adopt a culture of constant innovation, to stay in sync with all that is going on out there. Rather than trying to change their DNA, which is quite impossible, banks and insurers should think that constant innovation is the only way to adapt the DNA to the change that is taking place. You can, for example, buy great algorithms, but if you are not able to transform your culture, the implementation of these algorithms will fail. A banker shared with us: “I see working with fintechs like vaccinations in biology: these injections in our cytoplasm help us prepare ourselves for new attacks and adapt to changing environments. If you acquire new fintech companies, you could destroy them if you don’t adapt to them as an organization. You have to adapt the mindset of your own people. It is like playing a piano. Some people sit down on their piano chair and move their chair to the piano. Other people don’t want to change their position and try to pull the piano to their chair. We should therefore teach people to move their chair after sitting down. How to move the chair will depend upon the situation, but should always deliver value to our customers.”

Working With Fintechs and Insurtechs at DIA Amsterdam

Maximizing the results from working with insurtechs is an essential subject on the Digital Insurance Agenda. So definitely expect us to pay ample attention to this at DIA Amsterdam: our two-day conference connecting insurance executives with insurtech leaders. Check out www.digitalinsuranceagenda.com for more information.