When presenting at DIA last year, I commented on just how far the industry has come in recognizing the opportunities for insurtech and adopting smart digital techniques in such a short time.
According to Celent’s most recent innovation outlook for insurance, 69% of the insurance innovation leaders surveyed have been pursuing an innovation agenda for somewhere between two and three years, with 11% having only just started. To me, this stat implies that we are no longer at the start of something. Instead, we’re slap bang in the middle of a movement.
And with that added maturity, I guess it should come as no surprise that the questions obsessed about by the industry are no longer focused on “how to engage with insurtech?” “what internal capabilities do I require?” or “will they eat my lunch?” and instead more directed toward understanding the source of value and execution. Simply speaking, conversations today are far more focused on “show me the money” than they were back in 2015.
For example, the global head of innovation at a client recently shared with me that they’ve “fixed procurement,” “fixed internal development,” “reskilled the team” and “embedded their innovation capabilities back into the business (to sit more closely alongside strategy execution).” Consequently, this client has become far fussier about potential partners. If an insurtech does not have any jaw-dropping, protected IP, then they’re unlikely to even get enough air-time to press play on their Prezi or pencil drawing app (of which there are quite a few to choose from now) before the door is slammed in their face.
Although this client’s story may not yet be representative of the industry as a whole, given that many are still struggling with aligning their organization behind new innovation capabilities, it highlights a shift in the general direction.
Aligned with this shift, there also seems to be a more concerted effort to move innovation capabilities back within the business (as can be seen in this chart).
Of course, central teams still play an important role. Often, they are the only places where more radical forms of innovation can be experimented with (helping to insulate them from the day-to-day pressures of running an existing business).
However, when considered altogether, the gradual shifts away from what can sometimes feel like an opportunistic mode of engagement (characterized by serial “proof of concept” projects, often sponsored by central teams), toward something more locally aligned, deliberate and focused on real customer value feels like a step forward.
In our previous post, “Five Strategies to Fight Price Comparison,” we argued that, with regard to customer engagement, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, the companies that are so much feared by insurers, have in common that they literally carry pull in their genes. Obviously, there is so much insurance carriers can learn from them. We therefore decided to analyze the pull platforms of these companies, but also of the first financial institutions, fintechs and insurtechs that have established successful pull initiatives, and last but not least outside the industry best practices from among others Nike, Danone and Unilever – in total some 30 pull platforms.
Our analysis revealed that these 30 pull initiatives all have their own mix of eight key characteristics: (1) they solve real problems, (2) leveraging content, tools and connections, (3) building communities, (4) thinking beyond customers, (5) looking beyond data, (6) fostering beyond their traditional vertical, (7) using network effects (8) and creating unconventional value.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these eight key characteristics, each illustrated by a best practice. We deliberately used examples from outside the insurance industry, to spark your imagination.
1. Solve Real Problems
Successful pull platforms solve real problems in an unconventional way. Not just frictions, but the real problem; the problem behind the financial need. Using technology, they enable their customers to be more in control, to learn and be better informed, to make better and faster decisions and to get better service, geared to their need.
Each time I go running, I activate the Nike+ running app. It registers distance, speed and routes, I can track my progress over time, connect with friends to keep each other going or compete and when I’m traveling. It helps me to find popular routes in cities abroad.
Nike+ is changing the conversation with its customers on all levels: business model, brand, proposition and customer experience. Nike’s proposition now is no longer about shoes that may or may not have shock-absorbing soles. It’s also about a range of new services that key in on real underlying needs: making athletes enjoy their sport even more. While, obviously, Nike could easily use all the information to determine exactly when you need a new pair of running shoes, Nike is becoming a company that isn’t just focused on products and sales, but also on creating services and building relationships.
“Solving the real problem” is less trivial than it may sound. Let’s take Alipay, the successful payment system of Alibaba, used by millions of shop owners and other merchants throughout China (and beyond). Sabrina Peng, president, Alipay International, shared with us: “Alipay isn’t just about payments; it’s about customer relationships. The whole idea is to bring more value to the merchants and to the users. Payment is nothing more than just a part of the purchase cycle. Merchants don’t want a new payment system. They want more customers.” This insight is Alipay’s starting point to assist retailers in connecting with Alipay users in all sorts of ways. Merchants can use Alipay to market their services, including special offers, coupons or vouchers. Alipay users can see all the merchants nearby, see pictures, use unique discount codes and post reviews – resulting in more traffic, customers and revenue for merchants. The payment system plays a key role in the model but resides in the background.
Alipay shows that it is essential to really understand the context to provide real added value and to play an active role in the ecosystem of that context. People are not interested in a mortgage, but in a house. The context of a nice house and easy living offers more opportunities to add value to customers than just the mortgage, or the home insurance, and more opportunities for new revenue streams.
2. Leverage content, tools and connections
Pull platforms have a large added value when there is an imperfect, fragmented market, with lots of suppliers, many products that are difficult to compare, products that are distributed sub-optimally, a lot of detailed information on various locations, many who are interested in that information or products and asymmetry in information. That also explains the popularity of comparison sites for financial services and the large role given to search engines by consumers in the path to purchase. Successful pull initiatives put a specific set of content, tools and connections at the user’s disposal.
Danone developed a pull platform that supports mothers in all kinds of ways, from “becoming pregnant” to their child’s first five years, the “early nutrition” stage. Tom de Waard, global digital experience director at Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition: “The BLX platform supports mothers in all kinds of ways, from ‘becoming pregnant’ to their child’s first 1,000 days, the ‘early life nutrition’ stage that lays the foundation for future health. It includes being present in online places, owned, earned and paid, where mothers gather information and discuss matters with each other, a branded mobile app helping mothers 24/7 with relevant information and services. All these various data sources are used to provide tailor-made services to every parent with the right content, services and tools, and personal advice and offerings – precisely in sync with, for example, the exact age and health situation of the child. Months in advance of the birth, we are in frequent contact with the parents. That provides all kinds of possibilities to establish a connection. The result is that, from the birth on, our products are a natural given. The results of the platform are exceeding expectations by far on ‘brand of first choice’, NPS and the rate of interaction with the brand.”
3. Build Communities
A vast number of pull initiatives we looked at fulfill a community function or make use of it. Many offer consumers the opportunity to play an active role or to share all kinds of content. This way, they lend the authority of credible consumers. Think of the community that Danone is building. Connecting peers ensures that all involved gain value from the interactions. More users result in more interactions, which in turn results in more value. Creating such an upward spiral is the real challenge.
The vast majority of private bankers and investment advisers we know are performing worse than the market. That is a serious imperfection. At social investment network eToro, private investors can compare their portfolio with that of others. It is sort of the Facebook of private investors. You can see who has performed well for years in a row. eToro lets you invest along with the most successful investors. Your portfolio proportionally copies the trades of the Popular Investor of your choosing. When he buys, you buy. When he sells, you sell.
Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro, says, “64% of all trades via eToro are copy trades. Being followed and copied can be a lucrative business for our most popular traders. Our ‘Popular Investor Program’ allows traders to earn up to 2% of the assets they are passively managing.” eToro is one of the best examples we know of new conversations in financial services. Transparent information exchange is at the core of the business model. Trust in peers is leveraged and creates huge value for eToro members and eToro alike. eToro has more than 5 million registered users.
4. Think Beyond Customers
Users of Danone’s BLX platform don’t have to be a customer to have access to all the tools and services. That means it also attracts interested potential consumers who otherwise wouldn’t even show up on the radar. Financial institutions primarily think about services they can offer when someone already has been taken on as a customer. Most of the time, the number of non-customers is significantly larger. Why wouldn’t you develop services for this much larger target group? Other financial institutions foster this route, too.
Rabobank’s Hypotheekdossier, “mortgage file,” allows consumers, whether they are a customer or not, to do the math when they are looking for a new house or refinancing their mortgage. Because the information and tools are better than elsewhere, the platform has a large appeal and is an excellent lead generator.
Another example is Personal Capital, an American wealth manager that provides all kinds of tools to non-customers, letting them experience some of Personal Capital’s expertise. In essence, these companies are using pull platforms to move upstream. They are building the brand in an active manner, among the target audience, branding by doing. On top of that, they get direct access to tomorrow’s customers, while being much less dependent on search engines and comparison sites.
5. Look Beyond Data
In all the pull platforms we have discussed so far, the use of data plays a pivotal role. Pull initiatives offer the possibility to gather much deeper consumer insights about what is going on in the consumer’s life around a particular life event or product. It is an important side effect of pull initiatives. They provide customer insights that can be translated into better products, or even real-time services.
Unilever’s All Things Hair
Unilever is the third-largest player in the global hair care market, but struggles to achieve growth. Consumers are tired of hair category clichés in advertising and go online in search of answers and inspiration. According to Google, there are around one billion (!) searches related to hair each month – from how to take care of split ends, to how to style your hair for a wedding. Half of all online beauty shoppers watch a related video on YouTube while looking for products to buy. But only 3% go to videos by beauty brands; vloggers control the other 97%. Facing these challenges, Unilever decided to launch All Things Hair, a YouTube channel where consumers can browse the latest trends, tips and treatments. What makes All Things Hair special is that it leverages partnerships with Google and a team of leading vloggers, many of whom have several million followers in their own right. Google’s data-mining capabilities allow Unilever to gain real-time insight in what people are looking for with regard to hair, such as insights in growing search terms and trending topics such as celeb’s hair or holiday seasons. It even helps Unilever to predict hair trends as much as three months in advance. These insights are used to brief a team of beauty vloggers, who are paid by Unilever to create bespoke tutorials. This content features relevant products from Unilever brands, such as Toni & Guy, Dove and VO5. All Things Hair became the No. 1 one hair care channel in just 10 weeks, with 50 million views in the first year – wedged between Rihanna and Nicki Minaj in YouTube’s engagement ranking.
6. Foster beyond the traditional vertical
Successful pull platforms dare to take on other roles. Danone is shifting from purely product to offering a broad array of services, as well. Alipay is choosing to have a different role in the value chain than the traditional role of a payment solutions provider; the company actively supports retailers to increase their revenues. If you want to solve the actual problems that customers face, then often there is more required than delivering a financial product. Successful pull initiatives dare to take on other roles. That not only fulfills the needs of customers better but also helps to open up new revenue streams.
The Get platform of Danish telco TDC comprises 12 services, from online newspapers and magazines, to pay-TV and Bet25.dk, online betting (35% of all Danes watch soccer via TDC). This way, TDC is developing its business model from subscriptions to a content play.
China’s leading personal financial service provider Ping An adopted the strategy of the synergistic development of traditional and non-traditional businesses by creating all sorts of portals in non-traditional domains such as home, health NS car, but also food and entertainment. All these platforms have large numbers of users and interactions, and advanced data mining and precision marketing capabilities. Each and every one of them are new business lines that create new value for themselves, as well as for Ping An. Only when relevant and timely are Ping An’s traditional banking and insurance activities brought into contact with customers. The new business lines are not only increasing their own value; by moving upstream, they are increasing relevancy and enlarging the total customer base, and by allowing new synergies they also increase the value of the entire ecosystem of Ping An enterprises.
DIA Amsterdam 2018 will take place on May 16th and 17th in the awesome Westergasfabriek venue, close to the vibrant city center.
7. Use network effects
Google finances online advertising purchases by merchants. Obviously, Google has a fair idea of the track record of the merchant, in terms of marketplace success – traffic, sales figures, customer reviews and satisfaction scores – as well as financial reliability and debtor risk. Amazon follows the same strategy as Google, providing loans to independent sellers on the Amazon platform. Everybody is expecting Apple to eventually use the vast pool of iTunes users, including their credit card data, for financial services.
Both Google and Amazon can kick start such activities based on the millions of merchants they are already in contact with. That is their strength: they are capable of generating so-called network effects. Along the way, they have accumulated all kinds of assets; so-called stored value. Traffic figures, customer reviews and satisfaction scores are examples of such stored value. These accumulated assets are deployed later to develop new revenue streams with, if necessary, other business models. With every new service, the companies strengthen their position. Network effects can also be created by freeriding on the activity of established allied platforms. PayPal, for instance, grew on top of eBay.
There is currently much debate and speculation about how Amazon will enter the insurance market. Many fear that the company will launch a full-stack insurer, more or less similar to the ones we know. Looking at how Amazon leverages stored value to offer loans to merchants, it may in fact follow a totally different strategy. It may be interesting to look at all the stored value the company has and then think of what totally new insurance concepts would leverage this stored value to the max.
8. Create unconventional value
When financial institutions use pull initiatives to take on a different role in the value chain, we see that they not only strengthen their current business – for example by brand building or lead generation – but they also explore new revenue streams and business models. Ping An and TDC Get are explicitly doing so with various platforms.
PostFinance (Switzerland) is partnering with Strands to provide transaction-driven marketing. The integration with Card-Linked Offers (CLO) enables the bank’s systems to analyze customer transactions, make contextual offers, recommend marketing strategies to merchants and continuously learn from customers’ responses. For example, businesses can reward loyal customers, gain competitors’ share of clients or re-activate customers that haven’t made a purchase for a while. Eligible customers receive the coupon on their mobile from the bank with a discount, which they accept or reject. The discount is redeemed automatically in the customer’s account; he just has to make the payment with the bank’s card. PostFinance charges a percentage of the revenue generated by the coupons, for instance 5%. So if a customer spends 3,000 CHF a year using the coupons, the bank gets 150 CHF in revenue from this customer. PostFinance has full control of the CLO platform, including multiple pricing options and monitoring capabilities.
Pull platforms are digital flagships
After mobile, social, and connected devices, pull platforms are offering a new interface with customers. Eduard de Wilde (director digital VODW) calls them examples of digital flagships, no less — comparable to the flagship stores of renowned retail chains at the best locations in the most important cities to show their brand and what it offers in full depth. The best practices that we included show that pull platforms can take so many different shapes. Some seem to be detached from the systems; others seem fully integrated. Some of them are using a specific medium; others use different media simultaneously, seamlessly matched to each other. But they also have a single point of departure in common. Real problem solving requires that financial institutions need to speak to their customers at the moments when customers need them most. Consequently, pull platforms need to be designed around the customer journey and building the two-way relationship, to enhance top-of-mind position, brand loyalty and advocacy.
The focus on problem solving also means it is about selling without selling. Self-serving content is out. The shift from push to pull is not just about shifting budget to pull platforms. How you reach customers is not the only thing that is important. It is what you do for them that counts even more. Consequently, brands need to adjust, from “how can we make sure people will buy more from us” to “how can we do more for them?” That is the way brands are built, and the way to become less dependent on search engines and comparison sites and escape the commodity trap.
If you would like to read more about pull platforms, check our book “Reinventing Customer Engagement. The next level of digital transformation for banks and insurers,” in English or in German
Obviously, we will ample attention to platforms at DIA Amsterdam, May 16 and 17.
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 …
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
DIAmond Award winner Trōv is one of the most widely referred to cases when speaking about disruption in the insurance sector. But what is Trōv exactly about? What is the business model? How successful is it? Trōv’s founder and CEO Scott Walchek will share his vision in a keynote presentation at DIA Amsterdam, this May. To warm up, I interviewed Scott last week.
Trōv is the world’s first on-demand insurance platform for single items. It is a mobile app that allows users to insure whatever, whenever. It empowers customers to insure “just the things you care about” for whatever period you prefer. Trōv users simply snap a picture of a receipt or the product code of a product. This creates a personal digital repository for all things tangible. For selected items, Trōv offers a quote to insure each individual item. Customers can then simply “swipe to protect” to purchase the insurance. It is equally simple to “swipe to unprotect.” With Trōv, long contracts are not necessary. Even the claims process is automated with the use of chatbots and available on-demand on a smart phone.
Trōv is founded by Scott Walchek. Scott is a successful technology entrepreneur. Over the past 25 years, he built companies such as Macromedia, Sanctuary Woods, C2B Technologies and DebtMarket. He was also a co-lead investor and founding director of Baidu, China’s largest search engine.
Scott: “At some point I realized there is an enormous latent value in the information related to the things people own. From obvious things such as receipts and warranties to actually having an overview of what you own and what the current replacement value of each item is. We want to curate ways to turn this into value for consumers. From keeping information on items up to date to, for instance, arranging insurance for these items.
We’re a technology company, not an insurance company. We’re new in this space. So I started with testing our first ideas about a proposition and the assumptions behind it with several senior executives of large P&C insurers such as AIG and ACE. What I assumed is that at the end of the day the core metric of success is the ratio of insurance to actual value. The better this ratio, the better the balance sheet.
Of course, this is an oversimplification, but everyone agreed that in essence this is how over the past 200 years value in insurance is created. Now, what is remarkable is that insurers do not really know what consumers own, and what the exact value of these goods is … What if they did know? This would disrupt markets. It would lead to much better risk assessment driven by real knowledge of the true value of what people really own.”
Trōv’s main target users are millennials, a target segment that most incumbents find very difficult to reach and engage with. Why does Trōv strike the right chord among this generation?
Scott: “We’re in the Australian market for a year now and entered the U.K. market a few months ago. Around 75% of our users are aged between 18 and 24. It appears that we are successful in tapping into the specific needs of this group. We do this by explicitly tapping into four key millennial trends. The first is “on-demand.” We can see that from how millennials consume entertainment, shopping etc. Services need to be now, 24 hours a day, on my device. The second trend is, “Don’t lock me into a lengthy contract.” We enable micro-duration. Customers can turn their insurance on and off as they see fit. In practice, they hardly do. But it is about the psychological benefit of being able to do so. The third is what we call “unbundled convenience”: “Let me choose what to protect, the things I really care about.” The fourth is: “people/agent optional.” Millennials want to engage with their smartphone without having to talk to an actual person.”
Trōv is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. But you decided to launch first in Australia and the U.K. Why there?
Scott: “Ha ha – there’s a linear story and a non-linear story to that! The linear story is that microduration is still new to the industry, so our hypothesis requires testing. The regulatory environment is important if you want to get to market fast. Australia and the U.K. have a single regulatory authority versus the 56 bodies in the U.S. But we’re also in the process of filing in the U.S. The non-linear story is that I just happened to meet Kirsten Dunlop, head of strategic innovation at Suncorp Personal Insurance, at a conference in Meribel in France. She immediately understood the strategic impact of Trōv, and that is when it took off.”
Because the Trōv concept is so new to consumers, it must be extremely interesting to learn what exactly strikes the right chord …
Scott: “Customers just love the experience. Our NPS is +49. However, we’re learning every day. With a completely new concept such as Trōv, it is impossible to know exactly what to expect, honestly. It turns out that Trōv reveals new consumer insights. There is still a significant number of valuables that our audience wants to insure but that we cannot provide a quote for, for instance. Although more than 60% never turn off an insurance, the ability to switch an insurance on and off turns out to be an important psychological benefit. This appears to be category-dependent. Sporting goods are switched on and off more often than smartphones and laptops.
We’re constantly measuring and improving every step of the funnel. From leaving Facebook to downloading the app, to registration, to actual swipes. We will share concrete numbers on uptake and conversion rates at DIA Amsterdam. But to already share two big learnings: We designed Trōv for use on smartphones, but, much to our surprise funnel figures multiplied when we decided to add a web interface. And we are actually even attracting better-quality customers.”
In Australia, you decided to partner with Suncorp, in the U.K. with AXA and in the U.S. with Munich Re. What are the success factors of a partnership between an insurtech and an incumbent?
Scott: “At the end of the day, it is about relationships and people. We understand their internal challenges. Everyone agrees that real knowledge of individual insured goods and the actual value of those goods improves the loss ratio. But we need to figure out how this works exactly through experimentation. This requires internal dedication, throughout the whole organization, starting at the top. It is not about conducting small pilots, but the willingness to experiment while going all the way, invest for several years and learn as we go what insurance will look like in the future and how consumers want to engage.”
What are your future plans and ambitions with Trōv? We can imagine that Trōv could also be an interesting partner for retailers and producers of durables. With Trōv, they could seamlessly sell insurance …
Scott: “We have three lines of business. The first is what we call “solid.” This is about expanding the Trōv app geographically, covering more categories and continuously developing the technology. Trōv will be launched in Japan, Germany and Canada shortly. Then there is “liquid”; offering white-label solutions to financial institutions, for instance in relation to connected cars and homes. The third line of business is “gas”; basically Trōv technology embedded in other applications; insurance as a service. This could be attractive for all sorts of merchants, telco operators etc.”
This would make Trōv even more part of the context in which consumers makes decisions about the risk they are willing and not willing to incur. And it also taps into the exponential growth of connected devices, similar to how machine-to-machine payments are increasingly taking place …
Scott: “Yes. What we’re now doing with Trōv is really the beginning. Trōv is about providing our customers with exactly the protection they want, exactly when they want it. With more and more connected devices and sensors and new data streams everywhere we can make the whole experience so seamless they don’t have to do anything at all.”