Tag Archives: IVASS

UBI Has Failed, but Telematics…Wow!

Insurance telematics has been out there for more than 20 years. Many insurers have tried to play with the technology, but few have succeeded in using the data available from connected telematics devices. The potential of this technology was misunderstood, and best practices have remained almost unknown, as it was not common in the insurance sector to look for innovation in other geographies, such as Italy, where progress has been made.

But the insurance sector is being overtaken by a desire to change, and it’s becoming more common to see innovation scouting taking place on an international level. In the last two years, billions of dollars have been invested in insurance startups; innovation labs and accelerators have popped up; and many insurance carriers have created internal innovation units.

On the other hand, I’m starting to hear a new wave of disillusion about the lack of traction of insurtech initiatives, the failure of some of them, or insurtech startups radically changing from their original business models.

In a world that tends toward hyperconnectivity and the infiltration of technology into all aspects of society, I’m firmly convinced all insurance players will be insurtech—meaning they all will be organizations where technology will prevail as the key enabler for the achievement of strategic goals.

See also: Telematics Has 2 Key Lessons for Insurtechs  

Starting from this premise, I’d like to focus on two main points:

  1. The ability of the insurance sector to innovate is incredibly higher than the image commonly perceived.
  2. While not all insurtech innovations will work, a few of them will change the sector.

In support of the first point, consider the trajectory of digital insurance distribution. The German Post Office first experimented with remote insurance sales at the beginning of the 1980s in Berlin and Düsseldorf using Bildschirmtext (data transmitted through the telephone network and the content displayed on a television set). Almost 60% of auto insurance coverage is now sold online in the U.K., and comparison websites are the “normal” way to purchase an auto insurance policy. In few other sectors is one able to see comparable penetration of digital distribution.

In the health insurance sector, the South African insurer Discovery demonstrates incredible innovation, as well. Over the last 20 years, the insurer has introduced new ways to improve policyholders’ lives using connected fitness devices to track healthy behaviors, generate discounts and deliver incentives for activities supporting wellness and even healthy food purchases. Discovery has been able to replicate this “Vitality” model in different geographies and different business lines and to exploit more and more usage of connected devices in its model each month. Vitalitydrive by Discovery rewards drivers for driving knowledge, driving course attendance and behavior on the road with as much as 50% back on fuel purchases at certain stations.

More than 12 months ago, I published my four Ps approach for selecting the most interesting initiatives within the crowded insurtech space. I believe initiatives will have a better chance to win if they can improve:

  • Productivity (generate more sales).
  • Profitability (improve loss or cost ratios).
  • Proximity (improve customer relationships through numerous customer touchpoints).
  • Persistency (account retention, renewal rate increase).

Those insurtech initiatives will make the insurance sector stronger and more able to achieve its strategic goal: to protect the way people live.

One trend able to generate a concrete impact on all four Ps is connected insurance. This is a broad set of solutions based on sensors for collecting data on the state of an insured risk and on telematics for remote transmission and management of the collected data.

In a survey of ACORD members by the North American Connected Insurance Observatory, 93% of respondents stated this trend will be relevant for the North American insurance sector. It’s easy to understand why. We live in a time of connected cars, connected homes and connected health. Today, there is more than one connected device per person in the world, and by some estimates the figure will reach seven devices per person by 2020. (Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, “The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of The Internet Is Changing Everything,” April 2011, estimates seven per person; AIG/CEA, 2015, estimates five per person.) Others put the number at 50 devices for a family of four by 2022, up from 10 in 2014. The insurance sector cannot stop this trend; it can only figure out how to deal with it.

Moving to the concrete insurance usage of connected devices, the common perception of UBI is not positive at all. This is the current mood after years of exploring the usage of dongles within customer acquisition use cases, where the customer installs a piece of hardware in the car for a few months and the insurer proposes a discount based on the analysis of trips. This partially (only for a few months) connected car approach is based on the usage of data to identify good drivers, with the aim of keeping them as clients through a competitive price offer. In 2015, around 3.3 million cars in the U.S. sent in data to an insurance company in some way, representing less than 1.5% of the market.

In contrast, another market used telematics in a completely different way—and it succeeded. Almost 20% of auto insurance policies sold and renewed in the last quarter of 2016 in Italy had a telematics device provided by an insurer based on the IVASS data. The European Connected Insurance Observatory—the European chapter of the insurance think tank I created, consisting of more than 30 European insurers, reinsurers and tech players with an active presence in the discussion from their Italian branches—estimated that 6.3 million Italian customers had a telematics policy at the end of 2016.

Some insurers in this market were able to use the telematics data to create value and share it with customers. The most successful product with the largest traction is based on three elements:

  • A hardware device provided by the insurer with auto liability coverage, self-installed by the customer on the battery under the car’s hood.
  • A 20% upfront flat discount on annual auto liability premium.
  • A suite of services that goes beyond support in the case of a crash to many other different use cases—stolen vehicle recovery, car finder, weather alerts—with a service fee around €50 charged to the customer.

This approach is not introducing any usage-based insurance elements but is an approach clearly able to satisfy the most relevant needs of a customer:

  • Saving money on a compulsory product. Research shows that pricing is relevant in customer choice.
  • Receiving support and convenience at the moment of truth—the claims moment. Insurers are providing a better customer experience after a crash using the telematics data. Just think of how much information can be gathered directly from telematics data without having to question the client.
  • Receiving services other than insurance. That’s something roughly 60% of insurance customers look forward to and value, according to Bain’s research on net promoter scores published last year.

Let’s analyze this approach from an economic perspective:

  • The fee to the customer is close to the annual technology cost for the hardware and services. The €50 mentioned above represents more than 5% of the insurance premium for the risky clients paying an annual premium higher than €1,000. This cluster represents less than 5% of the Italian telematics market. The fee is more than 10% of the premium for the customers paying less than €400. This cluster represents more than 40% of the Italian telematics market.
  • The product is a constant, daily presence in the car, with the driver, with no possibility of turning it off. While the product ensures support in case of a crash, it is also a tremendous deterrent for anyone tempted to make a fraudulent claim, as well as for drivers engaging in risky behavior otherwise hidden from the insurer.
  • The telematics portfolio has shown on average 20% lower claims frequency on a risk-adjusted basis than the non-telematics portfolio, based on the analysis done by the Italian Association of Insurers.
  • Insurer best practices have achieved additional savings on the average cost of claims by introducing a claims management approach as soon as a crash happens and by using the objective reconstruction of the crash dynamic to support the claim handler’s decisions.
  • A suite of telematics services is delivered to the customer, along with a 25% upfront discount on the auto liability premium.

So, best practices allowed carriers to maximize return on investment in telematics technology by using the same data coming from the black box to activate three different value creation levers: value-added services paid for by the customer, risk selection and loss control. The value created was shared with the customer through the upfront discount. The successful players obtained a telematics penetration larger than 20% and experienced continuous growth of their telematics portfolios.

See also: Telematics: Moving Out of the Dark Ages?  

These insurers were able to orchestrate an ecosystem of partners to deliver a “customer-centric” auto insurance value proposition, satisfying the three main needs of customers—or at least those of “good” customers. Compared with many approaches currently being experimented with in different business lines around the world, where the insurance value proposition is simply enlarged by adding some services, this insurtech approach is also leveraging the insurers’ unique competitive advantage—the insurance technical P&L—to create a virtuous value-sharing mechanism based on the telematics data.

The story of the Italian auto telematics market shows how insurtech adoption will make the insurance sector stronger and better able to achieve its strategic goals: to protect the ways in which people live and organizations work

This article originally appeared on Carrier Management.

Telematics Has 2 Key Lessons for Insurtechs

Connected insurance represents a new paradigm for the insurance business, an approach that fits with the mainstream Gen C, where “C” means connectivity. This novel insurance approach is based on the use of sensors that collect and send data related to the status of an insured risk and on data usage along the insurance value chain.

Auto telematics represents the most mature insurtech use case, as it has already passed the test and experimentation phase. It is currently being used as an instrument for daily work within motor insurance business units. In this domain, Italy is an international best-practice example: Here, you can find at the end of 2015 half of the 10 million connected cars in the world have a telematics insurance policy. According to the SSI’s survey, more than 70% of Italians show a positive attitude toward motor telematics insurance solutions. According to the Istituto per la Vigilanza sulle Assicurazioni (IVASS), about 26 different insurance companies present in Italy are selling the product, with a 19% penetration rate out of all privately owned insured automobiles in the last quarter of 2016. Based on the information presented by the European Connected Insurance Observatory, the Italian market surpassed 6.3 million telematics policies at the end of 2016.

See also: Telematics: Moving Out of the Dark Ages?

Based on this data, we can identify three main benefits connected insurance provides to the insurance sector:

  1. Frequency of interaction, enhancing proximity with the customer while creating new customer experiences and offering additional services
  2. Bolstering the bottom line, through specialization,
  3. Creating and consolidating knowledge about the risks and the customer base.

The insurance companies are adopting this new connected insurance paradigm for other insurance personal lines. The sum of insurance approaches based on IoT represents an extraordinary opportunity for getting the insurance sector to connect with its clients and their risks.

The insurers can gradually assume a new and active role when dealing with their clients—from liquidation to prevention.

It’s possible to envision an adoption track of this innovation by the other business lines that are very similar to that of auto telematics, which would include:

  1. An initial incubation phase when the first pilots are being put into action to identify use cases that are coherent with business goals;
  2. A second exploratory phase that will see the first rollout by the pioneering insurance companies alongside a progressive expansion of the testing to include other players with a “me, too” approach;
  3. A learning phase in which the approach is adopted by many insurers (with low penetration on volumes) but some players start to fully achieve the potential by using a customized approach and pushing the product commercially (increasing penetration on volumes);
  4. Finally, the growth phase, where the solution is already diffused and all players give it a major commercial push. After having passed through all the previous steps in a period spanning almost 15 years, the Italian auto telematics market is currently entering this growth phase.

The telematics experience teaches us two key lessons regarding the insurance sector:

  1. Transformation does not happen overnight. Before becoming a relevant and pervasive phenomenon within the strategy of some of the big Italian companies, telematics needed years of experimentation, followed by a “me, too” approach from competitors and several different use cases to reach the current status of adoption growth.
  2. The big companies can be protagonists of this transformation. By adding services based on black box data, telematics has allowed for improvements in the insurance value chain. Recent international studies show how this trend of insurance policies integrated with service platforms is being requested by clients. The studies also show that companies, thanks to their trustworthy images, are considered credible entities in the eyes of the clients and, thus, valid to players who can provide these services. If insurance companies do not take advantage of this opportunity, some other player will. For example, Metromile is an insurtech startup and a digital distributor that has created a telematics auto insurance policy with an insurance company that played the role of underwriter. After having gathered nearly $200 million in funding, Metromile is now buying Mosaic Insurance and is officially the first insurtech startup to buy a traditional insurance company. This supports the forecast about “software is eating the world”— even in the insurance sector.

See also: Effective Strategies for Buying Auto Insurance

How can other markets capitalize on the telematics experience and create their own approach?

The Future of Insurance Is Insurtech

The insurance sector has entered a phase of profound transformation. Numerous insurtech startups—around 1,000, according to Venture Scanner map—have popped up to challenge the traditional model.

I believe that we will see a completely changed insurance sector in the medium term. But I’m convinced that insurance companies will still be relevant in the future, or will become even more relevant than they are now, but these companies will have to be insurtechs, or players who use technology as the main enablers for reaching their own strategic objectives.

The reach of this digital transformation goes way beyond the elimination of “the middle man” from a distribution point of view. The direct digital channel dominates very few markets and deals only with compulsory insurance. In the vast majority of markets, a multichannel-oriented customer continues—with variations from country to country—to choose at least at some point of the customer journey to interact with an intermediary. But the digital transformation happening in the insurance industry is widespread and encompasses all of the phases of the insurance value chain, from underwriting to claims.

See also: Insurtech Has Found Right Question to Ask

Every insurance sector player—whether it’s a reinsurer, a carrier or an intermediary—ought to pose this question: How should the insurance value chain be reshaped by using the new technologies at hand? There are numerous relevant technologies that come to mind, including: the cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and advanced analytics, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, autonomous agents, drones, blockchain, virtual reality and self-driving cars.

To take full advantage of these technologies, there has to be a structured approach that begins with identifying use cases that can have an actual contribution to reaching strategic business goals, then maximizes their effects inside the insurance value chain of each player. Finally, the approach should look at the software/hardware selection or the “make vs. buy” choices. The essential idea is that “one size does not fit all. Each player needs to create customized use cases based on their individual strategy and characteristics.

To date, there are several types of approaches to mapping insurtech initiatives. I have developed my own classification framework based on six macro areas (awareness, choice, purchase, usage, IoT and peer-to-peer (P2P)).

Insurance IoT, also known as connected insurance, represents one of the most relevant and mature insurtech trends.

Connected Insurance represents a new paradigm for the insurance business, an approach that fits with the mainstream Gen C, where “C” means connectivity. This novel insurance approach is based on the use of sensors that collect and send data related to the status of an insured risk and on data usage along the insurance value chain.

Auto telematics represents the most mature insurtech use case, as it has already passed the test and experimentation phase within the innovation unit. It is currently being used in daily work within motor insurance business units. In this domain, Italy is an international best practice example: According to the SSI’s survey for the Connected Insurance Observatory, more than 70% of Italians show a positive attitude toward motor telematics insurance solutions. According to the Istituto per la Vigilanza sulle Assicurazioni (IVASS), about 26 different insurance companies present in Italy are selling the product, with a 16% penetration rate out of all privately owned insured automobiles in the second quarter of 2016. Based on information presented by the Connected Insurance Observatory—a think tank I created in partnership with Ania that brings together more than 30 European insurer and re-insurer groups—the Italian market will surpass 6 million telematics policies by the end of the year.

See also: Insurtech: One More Sign of Renaissance  

Based on this data, we can identified three main benefits connected insurance provides to the insurance sector:

  1. Frequency of interaction, enhancing proximity and interaction frequency with the customer while creating new customer experiences and offering additional services
  2. Bolstering the bottom line, improving insurance profit and loss through specialization,
  3. Knowledge creation and consolidating knowledge about the risks and the customer base


The insurance companies that are part of the Observatory are adopting this new connected insurance paradigm for other insurance personal lines. The sum of insurance approaches based on IoT represents an extraordinary opportunity for getting the insurance sector to connect with its clients and their risks. The insurers can gradually assume a new and active role when dealing with their clients—from liquidation to prevention.

It’s possible to envision an adoption track of this innovation by the other business lines that are very similar to that of auto telematics, which would include:

  • An initial incubation phase when the first pilots are being put into action to identify use cases that fit with business goals;
  • A second exploratory phase that will see the first rollout by the pioneering insurance companies alongside a progressive expansion of the testing, to include other players with a “me, too” approach;
  • A learning phase in which the approach is adopted by many insurers (with low volumes) but some players start to fully achieve the potential by using a customized approach and pushing the product commercially (increasing volumes);
  • Finally, the growth phase, where the solution is already diffused and all players give it a major commercial push.

After having passed through all the previous steps in a period spanning almost 15 years, the Italian auto telematics market is currently entering this growth phase. The telematics experience teaches us three key lessons regarding the insurance sector:

  • Transformation does not happen overnight. Telematics—before becoming a relevant and pervasive phenomenon within the strategy of some of the big Italian companies—needed years of experimentation, followed by a “me, too” approach from competitors and several different use cases to reach the current status of adoption growth.
  • The companies can be protagonists of this transformation. By adding services based on black box data, telematics has allowed for improvements in the insurance value chain. Recent international studies show how this trend of insurance policies integrated with service platforms is being requested by clients. It also shows that companies, thanks to their trustworthy images, are considered credible in the eyes of the clients and, thus, valid to players who can provide these services.
  • If insurance companies do not take advantage of this opportunity, some other player will. For example, Metromile is an insurtech startup and a digital distributor that has created a telematics auto insurance policy with an insurance company that played the role of underwriter. After having gathered nearly $200 million in funding, Metromile is now buying Mosaic Insurance and is officially the first insurtech startup to buy a traditional insurance company. This supports the forecast about how “software is eating the world”— even in the insurance sector.

A Mental Framework for InsurTech

Digital transformation has become a major challenge for insurance companies all over the world. In Italy, this transformation is exemplified by the adoption of vehicle telematics. According to the latest IVASS data, black box became an integral part of 16% of new policies and renewals during the third quarter of 2015.

The insurance sector is now seeing the same dynamics already experienced in many other sectors, including financial services: with start-ups and other tech firms innovating one or more steps of the value chain traditionally belonging to financial institutions. InsurTech has seen investments of almost $2.65 billion coming in during 2015, compared with $740 million in 2014. Like FinTech in 2015, it’s now InsurTech’s turn to define the elements to be included in the observance perimeter, this being a main point of debate among analysts.

In my opinion, all players within the insurance sector will have to become InsurTech-centered in the coming years. It’s unthinkable for an insurance company not to pose the question of how to evolve its own model by thinking which modules within its value chain should be transformed or reinvented via technology and data usage. This digital transformation can be achieved by building the solutions in-house, by creating partnerships with other players—both start-ups and incumbents—or through acquisitions.

Based on this view that all the players in the insurance arena will be InsurTech—meaning organizations where technology will prevail as the key enabler for the achievement of strategic goals—the way to analyze this phenomenon is via a cross-section view of the customer journey and the insurance value chain. This mental framework, which I regularly use to classify every InsurTech initiative—whether it’s a start-up, a solution provided by established providers or a direct initiative by an insurance company—is based on the following macro-activities:

  1. Awareness: Activities that generate awareness in the client—whether person or firm—regarding the need to be insured and other marketing aspects of the specific brand/offer;
  2. Choice: about an insurance value proposition, which, in turn, is divided into two main groups:
    1. Aggregators, which are characterized by the comparison of a large number of different solutions;
    2. Underwriters, which are innovating the way to construct the offer for the specific client, irrespective of the act to compare different offers.
  3. Purchase: Focuses on innovative ways in which the act of selling can be improved, including collection of premiums;
  4. Use of the insurance product: clarifies three very distinct steps of the insurance value chain: policy handling, service delivery (which is acquiring an ever-growing significance within the insurance value proposition) and claims management;
  5. Recommendation: Part of the customer journey that is becoming a key element in the customer’s experience with a product in many sectors;
  6. The Internet of Things (IoT), which can be included in the category of activities—though transversal  to the activities described above. The IoT covers all  the hardware and software solutions representing the enablers of connected insurance (the motor insurance telematics is the most consolidated use case);
  7. Peer-to-peer (P2P): Initiatives that, in the last few years, have started to bring peer-to-peer logic to the insurance environment, in a manner similar to the old mutual insurance.

 

Based on my interpretations of the evolution of the InsurTech phenomenon, I would say:

  • on the one hand, there is a tendency toward ecosystems in which each value proposition becomes the integration of multiple modules belonging to different players;
  • on the other hand, the lines between the classical roles of distributor, supplier (coming even from other sectors), insurer and reinsurer are getting blurred.

In a scenario like this, the balance of power (and consequently the profit pool) among various actors is bound to be challenged, and each one of them may well choose to collaborate or compete depending on context and timing.

My friends at InsurTech News represented – based on my framework described above – a map of the InsurTech newcomers and will continue to map the most interesting initiatives. Please feel free to comment adding more InsurTech newcomers you know.

InsurTech

Key to Understanding InsurTech

Digital transformation has become a major challenge for insurance companies all over the world. In Italy, this transformation is exemplified by the adoption of vehicle telematics. According to the latest data from IVASS (Istituto per la Vigilanza sulle Assicurazioni, or the Italian Insurance Supervisory Authority), black boxes became an integral part of 16% of new policies and auto renewals during the third quarter of 2015.

The insurance sector is seeing the same dynamics that have already been experienced in many other sectors, including financial services—with start-ups and other tech firms innovating one or more steps of the value chain that traditionally belonged to financial institutions. InsurTech has seen investments of almost $2.65 billion during 2015, compared with $740 million in 2014. Similar to FinTech in 2015, it’s now InsurTech’s turn to define what elements will be included in the observance perimeter, a main point of debate among analysts.

See Also: Where Are the InsurTech Start-Ups?

In my opinion, all players within the insurance sector will have to become InsurTech-centered in the coming years. It’s unthinkable for an insurance company not to question how to evolve its own model by thinking about which modules within the value chain should be transformed or reinvented via technology and data usage. Realizing this digital transformation can be achieved by building the solutions in-house, by creating partnerships with other players (both start-ups and incumbents) or through acquisitions.

Based on this view that all the players in the insurance arena will be InsurTech—meaning organizations where technology will prevail are the key enabler for the achievement of strategic goals—the way to analyze this phenomenon is via a cross-section view of the customer journey and the insurance value chain. This mental framework, which I regularly use to classify every InsurTech initiative, whether it’s a start-up, a solution provided by established providers or a direct initiative by an insurance company, is based on the following macro-activities:

  1. Awareness: Activities that generate awareness in the client (whether person or firm) regarding the need to be insured and other marketing aspects of the specific brand/offer;
  2. Choice: Decisions about an insurance value proposition, which, in turn, are divided into two main groups:
    1. Aggregators, who are characterized by the comparison of a large number of different solutions
    2. Underwriters, who are innovating how to construct the offer for the specific client, regardless of the act to compare different offers;
  3. Sales/Purchase: Focuses on innovative ways in which the act of selling can be improved, including the collection of premiums;
  4. Use of the Insurance Product: Clarifies three distinct steps of the insurance value chain: policy handling, service delivery—acquiring an ever-growing significance within the insurance value proposition—and claims management;
  5. Recommendation: This part of the customer journey has become a key element in the customer’s experience with a product in many sectors;
  6. The Internet of Things (IoT): Includes all the hardware and software solutions representing the enablers of the connected insurance (the motor insurance telematics is the most consolidated use case);
  7. Peer-to-Peer (P2P): Initiatives that, in the last few years, have started to bring peer-to-peer logic to the insurance environment, in a manner similar to the old mutual insurance.

Based on my interpretations of the evolution of the InsurTech phenomenon, I say:

On one hand, there is a tendency toward ecosystems where each value proposition becomes the integration of multiple modules belonging to different players.

On the other hand, the lines between the classical roles of distributor, supplier (even coming from other sectors), insurer and reinsurer are getting blurred.

The balance of power (and, consequently, the profit pool) among various actors is bound to be challenged, and each one of them may choose to either collaborate or compete, depending on context and timing.