Tag Archives: Livegenic

‘Digital’ Needs a Personal Touch

The insurance claims process is rapidly being transformed from analog to digital as industry economics and customer expectations demand it and as technology enables it. Not only does digitization provide impressive cost savings and satisfy the expectations of a growing number of “always connected” consumers, but it delivers a host of other benefits. Insurtech providers of many types have emerged seemingly overnight to provide a dizzying array of new technologies to support claims innovation within established carriers and enable new insurance entrants at the same time.

See also: Let’s Keep ‘Digital’ in Perspective  

Examples include:

  • CCC Information Services, a leading U.S. information provider to the automotive, insurance and collision repair industries, is working to combine auto injury causation software with telematics expertise and overlaying casualty claims management assets to meet the needs of the rapidly transforming auto insurance claims industry.
  • DropIn provides an on-demand, live video platform for more precise underwriting, speeds claim resolution, enhances damage estimate accuracy and reduces indemnity and loss adjustment expenses. Users can access streaming video and high-resolution photos captured directly by customers or via a crowdsourced independent contractor network using commonly available insurtech tools, such as smartphones and drones, to achieve insight into the complexities of auto and property damage for enhanced decision-making.
  • EagleView provides aerial imagery, data analytics, property data and GIS solutions related to millions of residential and commercial properties for local and federal government agencies as well as the infrastructure, insurance, solar and construction sectors.
  • Livegenic provides cloud-based, real-time patented video solutions to property and casualty insurance organizations connecting every part of the claims ecosystem. The Livegenic platform streamlines communication between in-house and external adjusters, appraisers, contractors and policyholders, provides field video loss documentation capabilities, and delivers customer self-service solutions.
  • OnSource provides insurance companies with claims and underwriting photo inspections through intuitive smartphone apps and a mobile website. Policyholders and claimants use self-inspection apps, Instant Inspection’s chat website or its managed network of thousands of photo field inspectors and quality assurance analysts.
  • PartsTrader, an automated repair parts bidding and procurement platform, connects thousands of collision repair shops with repair parts suppliers of all types to reduce the cost and cycle time in the $15 billion U.S. repair parts market segment. The PartsTrader platform allows repair shops to search and compare multiple suppliers at the same time and to work with suppliers competing for their business.
  • Snapsheet uses proprietary technology to optimize virtual auto physical damage claims operations, giving insurance adjusters the tools they need to provide a seamless experience to their claimants.
  • WeGoLook, in which Crawford recently acquired a majority interest, provides on-demand field inspection and verification services. Using its web and mobile platform the company empowers a 30,000-plus mobile workforce, known as Lookers, to collect and verify information and fulfill custom tasks for businesses and consumers alike in insurance and other verticals.

While this is all good news – and inevitable – what is at risk of being overlooked in this rush to a more efficient, streamlined claim process are the individuals who buy and use insurance services and at critical times require the reassurance and comfort of a personal touch.

Auto claims are a case in point. Many claims processes, mainly those that take place in the background, are well-suited to the cold efficiency of technology, automation and digitization. But the auto claim is frequently preceded by a totally unexpected, disorienting and sometimes traumatic accident. This is the moment when the consumer most needs and depends upon the insurance carrier….and a human touch.

In 2016, there were about 190 million registered passenger vehicles on the road in the U.S. More than 15 million auto accidents occurred involving 18.5 million vehicles. Stated another way, about one out of every 10 cars on the road was involved in an accident. On average, every driver can expect to experience an auto accident once every 10 years, most minor in nature but others involving serious injury or even death. Sadly, there were 40,200 traffic fatalities in 2016.

We are never fully prepared, nor do we know exactly what to do when involved in a traffic accident. The experience is unfamiliar and confusing. A battery of questions immediately come to mind – how much is this going to cost me? – was this my fault? – could I have prevented it? – how will I get where I was going? – who should I notify first? – is anyone hurt, including me? And so on.

Historically, a police officer would typically show up, review the scene, ask the drivers several questions, make some notes and direct the vehicles off the roadway to a safe location or if necessary call a tow truck or an emergency vehicle.

Then you would need to follow an often frustrating, protracted claims and repair process; call your agent or carrier; get the car to a body shop, arrange for a rental car; make numerous calls to the shop and the adjuster to see when your car will be ready; and then reach into your pocket to pay your deductible even after paying your insurance premiums faithfully for all those years.

But this scenario will soon be a thing of the past. For one thing, police in many urban markets are no longer responding to auto accident calls. Law enforcement budgets are shrinking, and police officers are busy handling higher-priority tasks such as criminal investigations. We can’t rely on the police always showing up in the future.

Insurance companies are addressing some of their challenges by using new technologies to make the auto claim and repair process simpler and faster. Many carriers offer smartphone apps that include claim-reporting capabilities enabling drivers to take photos or videos of the accident damage at the scene (or later from home) and upload them to the carrier, which assesses the damage and schedules the repair, often in minutes. Some companies are paying drivers electronically on their smartphones and closing out the claim in mere hours.

However, for those who believe that younger policyholders prefer technology to human contact, the recent J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study reveals that only 7% of millennials prefer digital channels to report their claims and concludes that technology cannot fully replace humans during the claims process, even among millennials.

The one missing piece is what happens immediately after an accident occurs and before your insurance company starts to process your claim. Not everyone has a smartphone, is tech-savvy enough or understands the importance of reporting the accident immediately to the insurance company. Auto accidents can be traumatic. Many people can be involved, in your vehicle and in other vehicles. Differences of opinion between drivers about the facts or what caused the accident are not unusual. Without the presence and authority of a police officer, people are left to cope with all of these issues on their own. And, because almost 80% of vehicles damaged in auto accidents are safely driveable, there’s no logical reason to have to stay at the scene once your information is exchanged with the other driver(s).

See also: Do You Really Have a Digital Strategy?

To address these new realities, innovative programs have emerged to bridge the gap between the accident and the claim report. One such solution is the Collision Reporting Center (CRC). These facilities provide drivers with the assistance, advice and support they need at the critical time following an accident. The CRC is a partnership between local police departments and privately managed reporting centers. The model initially emerged in Canada 20 years ago when the insurance industry and police joined forces to solve a mutual challenge. Today, the operation manages 32 Collision Reporting Centers in partnership with 53 police departments across Canada and serves 80% of the Canadian auto insurance industry. Recently, the operator expanded into the U.S., opening its first Collision Reporting Center in Roanoke, VA, in the fall of 2016, with plans to open several more centers soon.

At the Collision Reporting Center, drivers involved in an accident provide their individual accounts of what happened and other information while professional staff take digital images to document damage. The information is reviewed by an on-site police officer at the CRC and is immediately sent to the driver’s insurance company, where a claim is initiated and processed. Drivers are provided with a customized instructional guide from their own carriers describing what to do next and a private room where they can make a phone call to their insurance company or family members. The Collision Reporting Center provides a comfortable and safe environment, eliminating the need for drivers to wait on the roadway.

As we move toward self-driving automobiles and the elimination of most accidents,, we will see many innovative accident and claim management programs emerge that can bridge the gap between the auto accident and resolution of the claim process. Collision Reporting Centers are an excellent solution to these needs – they provide personalized customer service and a human touch with the power of technology making the auto accident reporting process as non-intrusive as possible into our busy lives.

A Simple Model to Assess Insurtechs

“The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula necessarily cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative.”

― Peter Thiel, Zero to One

Whether we’re talking about telematics, artificial intelligence (AI), digital distribution or peer-to-peer, investing in insurance-related technology (commonly termed “insuretech” or “insurtech”) is no longer considered boring. In fact, insurtech is one of the hottest investable segments in the market. As a 20-plus-year veteran in insurance, I find it surreal that insurance has become this hip. Twenty years ago, I gulped as I sent an email to the CFO of my company, where I proposed that there was a unique opportunity in renters insurance. That particular email was ignored. Today, that idea is worth millions of dollars.

What changed?

Insurance seems to be the latest in a string of industries caught in the crosshairs on venture capital. With the success of Uber and AirBnB, VCs are now looking for the next stale industry to disrupt, and the insurance industry carries the reputation of being about as stale as they come. The VCs view the needless paperwork, cumbersome purchasing processes, dramatic claims settlement and overall old-school look and feel of the industry and think they can siphon those trillions of dollars of premium over to Silicon Valley. It seems like a reasonable thesis.

The problem is, it’s not going to happen that way. Insurance will NOT be disrupted. While insurance looks old and antiquated on the exterior, it is actually quite modern and vibrant on the interior. The insurance industry is actually the Uncle Drew of businesses; it’s just getting warmed up!

The Model

Much of the reason I think VCs are unaware of their doomed quest for insurance disruption is that they are looking at the market from a premium standpoint and envisioning being able to capture large chunks of it. $5 trillion is a lot of money. Without an appropriate model, an outsider coming into insurance can naively think they can capture even a fraction of this. But premium is strongly tied to losses. Those premium dollars are accounted for in future claims.

I once had a VC ask me what the fastest way to $100 million in revenue was. The answer is easy, “slash the premium.” I had to quickly follow up with, “and be prepared to be go insolvent, as there is no digging yourself out of that hole.” He didn’t quite get it, until I walked him through what happens to a dollar of premium as it enters the system. And it was this that became the basis of the model I use to assess new product formation and insurtech startups.

There are four basic components to my model. Regardless of new entrants, new products or new sources of capital, these four components remain everpresent in any insurance business model. Even if a disruptive force was able to penetrate the industry veil, that force would still need to reflect its value proposition within my four components.

Component 1 – EXPOSURE

This is the component that deals with insurance claims: past, present and future. Companies or products looking to capture value here must be able to reduce, prevent, quantify or economically transfer current or new risks or losses. Subcomponents in this category include expenses arising from fraud and the adjustment of claims, both of which can add substantially to overall losses.

See also: Insurance Coverage Porn  

Startups such as Nest are building products that increase home security by decreasing the likelihood of burglary (or increasing the likelihood of capturing the criminals on video) and thus reduce claims associated with burglary or theft. Part of assessing the value proposition of Nest is to first understand the magnitude of the claims associated with burglary and theft and then quantify what relief this product could provide (along with how that relief should be shared among stakeholders).

Another company that is doing some interesting things in this model component is Livegenic (disclaimer: I have become friends with the team). Livegenic allows insurers to adjust claims and capture video and imagery using the mobile phone of the insured. This reduces the expenses associated with having to send an adjuster out to each and every claim. Loss adjustment expenses can be in excess of 10% of all claims, so technology that reduces that by a few basis points can be quite valuable to an insurer’s bottom line and ultimately its prices and competitiveness.

Component 2 – DISTRIBUTION

This component focuses on the expenses associated with getting insurance product into the hands of a customer. Insurtech companies in this space are typically focused on driving down commissions. This can be done by eliminating brokers and going directly to customers. Savings can also be achieved by creating efficient marketplace portals that allow customers to easily buy coverage.

Embroker is one of many companies trying to do just that in the small commercial space by creating a fully digital business insurance experience. Companies such as Denim Labs are providing social and mobile marketing services to companies in insurance. And then there is Lemonade, which is developing AI technology that it hopes will reduce the friction of digitally purchasing (its) insurance and making the buying process “delightful.”  Peer-to-peer (P2P) insurance is a fairly new insurtech distribution model that attempts to use the strength of close ties via social methods for friends and close associates to come together to make their own insurance pools.

Distribution expenses in insurance are some of the highest in any industry. As with the risk component, reducing expenses in this component by even a few basis points is incredibly valuable.

Component 3 – CAPITAL

This component focuses on the expenses associated with providing capital or the reinsurance backstop to a risk or portfolio. For many insurers, reinsurance is the largest expense component in the P&L. Capital is such an important component to the business model that the ramifications of it almost always leak into the other components. This was one of my criticisms of  Lemonade recently. Lemonade will have a lot of difficulty executing some of the aspects of its business model simply because it cedes 100% of its business to reinsurers. So, when it comes to pricing or its general underwriting guidelines, its reinsurance expenses will overwhelm other initiatives. Lemonade can’t be the low-cost provider AND a peer-to-peer distributor because its reinsurance expenses will force it to choose one or the other. This is a nuance that many VCs will miss in their evaluation of insurtechs!

For those seeking disruption in insurance, we have historical precedent of what that might look like based on the last 20 years of alternative capital flooding into the insurance space. I will devote space to this in future articles, but, in brief, this alternative capital has made reinsurance so inexpensive that smaller reinsurers are facing an existential crisis.

Companies such as Nephila Capital and Fermat Capital are the Ubers of insurance. Their ability to connect investors closer to the insurance customer along with their ability to package and securitize tranches of risk have shrunk capital expenses tremendously. Profit margins for reinsurers are collapsing, and new business models are shrinking the insurance stack. It is even possible today to bypass BOTH veritable insurers and reinsurers and put the capital markets in closer contact with customers. (If you are a fan of Michael Lewis and insurance, you will enjoy this article, which ties nicely into this section of the article).

In the insurtech space, VCs are actually behind the game. Alternative capital has already disrupted the space, and many of the investments that VCs are making are in the other components I have highlighted. Because of the size of this component, VCs may have already missed most of the huge returns.

Component 4 – OPERATIONS

The final component is often the one overlooked. Operations includes all of the other expenses not associated with the actual risk, backing the risk or transferring the risk from customer to capital. This component includes regulatory compliance, overhead, IT operations, real estate, product development and staff, just to name a few.

It is often overlooked because it is the least connected to actually insuring a risk, but it is vitally important to the health and viability of an insurer. Mistakes here can have major ramifications. Errors in compliance can lead to regulatory problems; errors in IT infrastructure can lead to legacy issues that become very expensive to resolve. I don’t know a single mainstream insurer that does not have a legacy infrastructure that is impinging on its ability to execute its business plan. Companies such as Majesco are building cloud-based insurance platforms seeking to solve that problem.

See also: Why AI Will Transform Insurance  

It is this component of the business model that allows an insurer to be nimble, to get products to market faster, to outpace its competitors. It’s not a component that necessarily drives financial statements in the short term, but in the long run it can be the friction that grinds everything down to a halt or not.

SUMMARY

I have presented a simple model that I use when I assess not just new insurtech companies but also new insurance products coming into the market. By breaking the insurance chain into these immutable components, I can estimate what impact the solution proposed will provide. In general, the bigger the impact and the more components a solution touches the more valuable it will be.

In future articles, I will use this model to assess the insurtech landscape. I will also use this model to assess how VCs are investing their capital and whether they are scrutinizing the opportunities as well as they should, or just falling prey to the fear of missing out.

Originally published at www.insnerds.com,

A Word With Shefi: Polyakov at Livegenic

This is part of a series of interviews by Shefi Ben Hutta with insurance practitioners who bring an interesting perspective to their work and to the industry as a whole. Here, she speaks with Alex Polyakov, CEO of Livegenic, which delivers real-time video solutions to help organizations reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction and mitigate risks. His advice: “Never settle for the way things are, and always discover and share a better way, especially when it comes to seeing the customer’s point of view. The better we serve the customer, the happier we become.”

To see more of the “A Word With Shefi” series, visit her thought leader profile. To subscribe to her free newsletter, Insurance Entertainment, click here.

Describe what you do in 50 words or less:

I run a fast-paced startup that specializes in real-time video solutions in insurance claims.

Name an emerging technology you are most excited about:

There are many technologies that are hot right now like drones, Internet of Things, analytics, etc. However, live video streaming is the technology that I’m most passionate and excited about. Not just because that’s our specialty, but because this technology is mature, accessible, with low upfront investment costs and drives incredible value in productivity and customer satisfaction.

What are you most excited about with respect to Livegenic?

We were able to foresee innovation in insurance. We envisioned developing a video platform that would deliver a powerful impact to the insurance market, and we’ve been recognized for producing the type of innovative solutions this industry needs.

Name a challenge you have faced working in insurance:

While the insurance industry is ripe for innovation in many areas, it adopts innovations slowly. This is one reason why there aren’t that many start-ups in insurance compared with other industries. However, this challenge is also an opportunity because the industry is fueled by competition and the need to differentiate.

Your best piece of career advice for the insurance professional:

Never settle for the way things are, and always discover and share a better way, especially when it comes to seeing the customer’s point of view. The better we serve the customer, the happier we become.

Your favorite news source:

I follow several sites, such as Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, PropertyCasualty360 and of course Insurance Entertainment. They all share great content, but I must admit that Insurance Entertainment makes me laugh — always a great way to start the morning.

When you are not working for Livegenic, you are most likely…

I enjoy competitive table tennis, which is like playing chess at 100 miles an hour. It is a great way for me to take my mind off of things and exercise at the same time.

If you weren’t working in insurance, what profession would you be in?

I am a product and technology guy at heart, so I guess if I wasn’t in insurance, I’d be working in technology in another industry.

Your favorite quote:

“Luck favors the prepared.”

Which term best describes you?

  • Driverless or in control? In control
  • Elon Musk (dreamer) or Warren Buffett (doer)? Doer
  • Risk-averse or risk-taker? Risk-taker

To be honest, I wish I could select a term immediately, but I’m very analytical. The best words I would use when I see these questions are “adaptive intelligence.” Meaning, the answer depends on a situation because I resemble a little bit of both during different times.

Innovation Awards for Solution Providers

Three solution providers have been recognized for truly ground-breaking projects and initiatives with demonstrable real-world impact, following the recognition of three insurers. SMA also published a collection of case studies on all the solution provider award submissions this year, showcasing the remarkable innovation taking place in the industry today.

The insurance ecosystem encourages the holistic spread of innovation, with insurers and solution providers working together to create new capabilities and adopt new technologies. Next-Gen Insurers that are reinventing the business of insurance for the 21st century depend on advances in four main areas: business models, infrastructure, products and services and customer engagement. The solution providers to watch understand and support these changes, helping insurers to actualize the value from the market’s shifts and ultimate evolution.

This year’s submissions for the SMA Innovation in Action Award for Solution Providers demonstrate the strides that solution providers are making in those areas. By developing creative solutions that are embracing new technologies and leveraging innovative approaches to solve important business challenges, the 2015 award winners show what kind of value insurers can gain from their solutions and their partnership.

This year’s solution provider winners are:

Livegenic, which offers a patented, mobile, real-time video platform to help insurance organizations reduce claims handling costs and improve customer satisfaction. Livegenic connects a policyholder with a claims customer service representative through live video without disconnecting the phone call. Claims professionals can see what the customer sees while on the phone, enhancing first notice of loss, underwriting, field operations and supplemental claims.

Social Intelligence, which offers a sophisticated scoring platform that leverages publicly available social media data and the Internet of Things for improved risk assessment. The solution helps insurers by aggregating data and offering access to new predictive, reliable and less expensive data sources. Social Intelligence’s Social Media Risk Scoring provides another layer of risk assessment that insurers can utilize in real time across life and personal and commercial P&C lines of business at critical stages in the policy lifecycle, including point of sale, claims filing, first notice of loss and renewals.

Wallflower Labs, which offers a patent-pending solution to reduce the number of unattended cooking fires and associated claims. Wallflower’s Electric Range Smart Cord and Gas Range Smart Valve enable ranges and cooktops to remind homeowners that they are operating, through smartphone push notifications, and to allow for remote or automatic shutoff. Wallflower solutions can also provide insights into cooking behavior and trends by capturing information about household range/cooktop use to improve how insurers price their homeowners insurance products.

By delivering new tools that help insurers to improve their businesses, the winners of this award are blazing a trail with innovative approaches and raising the bar for solution providers everywhere to provide creative offerings and help insurers achieve real-world value. This year’s submissions for the solution provider awards show the vital role that innovation plays within the industry and offer commendable examples of innovation in action.