Tag Archives: Michael Tempany

Lemonade: A Whole New Paradigm

We’ll admit it; we were caught asleep at the wheel on this one. We had heard of Lemonade a few months ago and how it successfully raised $13 million in investor funding, but given that there are 500-plus other insurtech startups out there, we didn’t pay that close attention. Then on Sept. 21, it opened for business. Both Carly and Tony were in Hawaii for the CPCU Society Annual Meeting and entirely too busy drinking Mai Tais, err, I mean, working the event to even notice that Lemonade went live. We’re back in the lower 48 now, back at our day jobs and, after almost a month working on catching up, it just recently hit us that Lemonade is a BIG deal. A REALLY BIG DEAL.

A lot of digital ink has already been spilled at ITL with at least three great articles about Lemonade, but we still needed to give our own point of view. As Insurance Nerds, we are completely geeked out, and, as millennials, we can’t help but want to move our own insurance to Lemonade and are actively wondering when the company will expand to Pennsylvania and Georgia, where we live.

Lemonade is not just another insurtech startup. It is an actual, mobile-first, legacy-system-free, licensed carrier offering P2P (peer-to-peer) insurance to delighted customers in the state of New York through a seemingly magical iPhone and Android app. To start understanding what this is all about, you must watch the three short videos in this article:

That first video looks like a VERY snazzy proof of concept, and it almost makes you wonder if this thing will ever go live or if it will simply be vaporware. But it’s already live! Maya, the young lady who asks you in plain English a few simple questions to “get you some great insurance” is not a call center rep in NYC, Des Moines or even in Delhi; she’s an artificial intelligence chat bot. This technology is so new that it was unknown before 2016 and is only starting to be experimented with in the high-tech industry, and it’s live on Lemonade, helping people buy homeowner’s and renter’s insurance.

Notice how, as the user fills in his address, the system automatically pulls potential matching addresses, and once it has a full match it automatically displays a map to confirm. Then it asks whether you have roommates, a fire alarm or a burglar alarm, if you answer yes to any of those, the system knows what else it needs to ask.

See also: Lemonade: Insurance Is Changed Forever  

It immediately pulls data from databases, analyzes all the underwriting characteristics it needs and offers an incredibly cheap policy. Oh, and if you already have a policy, Lemonade will even cancel it for you and get you a refund! Coverages are shown in a simple, graphical illustration, and just tapping on a darkened icon adds that coverage to your quote immediately. Enter your credit card info, and done. The whole video takes about 40 seconds to get to a bound policy. In real life, it probably takes about 90 seconds. You even get to sign your contract right on your touchscreen. It’s downright magical.

The ease of use and freedom from legacy systems by themselves are probably enough to get 70% of millennials (and many Xers and Boomers) to leave their existing insurers and go with Lemonade instead! As Michael Tempany explains, no existing insurer can produce an app like this because of our legacy systems, workforce and processes. It’s simply not possible. He even argues that “the only solution for traditional insurers wanting to compete with Lemonade is to start from scratch. In short, they need to create a company or subsidiary unencumbered by legacy systems, workforce constraints and intermediaries.”

But that’s just the beginning. Rick Huckstep of the Digital Insurer is absolutely right that “This is what insurance is meant to be: mutuality in the pooling of shared risk.” He argues that “the industry has lost its way with the evolution of mass scale personal lines in the 20th century. The profit motive has gotten in the way of trust; the insured and the insurer are both chasing the same dollars. And now, their interests are no longer mutual but are misaligned. The insured wants a helping hand and to be ‘made whole.’ The insurer wants to satisfy its duty to shareholders.” This is true even with mutual companies with no shareholders; the existing model of every other insurance carrier puts the customer’s interests against the carriers interests at least to some extent. While Lemonade is a full-on risk-bearing carrier, it has eliminated the existing dilemma of every other carrier: Lemonade takes a 20% cut of the premium as a fee, and that’s it. If you have a loss, you get paid for it (immediately and without questions), and, if you don’t have losses, and your policy produces a profit, it gets donated to the charity of your choice.

The claims process is also amazing. You open the app, tell it you had a claim, answer a couple of questions, sign on the screen, record a quick video explaining what happened and get paid, on the spot, immediately.

Oh, and by the way, Lemonade is A-rated and reinsured by Lloyds of London.

The second video explains the science that makes it all work and has a great line: “Insurance that is a social good, not a necessary evil.” This tag line is going to be killer awesome. Also, very interesting that Lemonade explicitly explains what Geico’s “15 minutes can save you 15% or more” line has always meant: There are no brokers or agents involved.

Nobody explains Lemonade better than Dan Ariely, behavioral economics expert, Duke professor and Lemonade’s chief behavioral officer. “In the very structure of the old insurance industry, every dollar your insurer pays you is a dollar less for their profits. So when something bad happens to you, their interests are directly conflicted with yours. You’re fighting over the same coin. Basically if you tried to create a system to bring out the worst in people, you would end up with one that looks a lot like the current insurance industry.”

See also: It’s Time for Some Lemonade  

And a fantastic commercial making it all crystal clear to the customer:

Make no mistake, Lemonade will expand beyond New York, and we’d expect it to be in all 50 states within the next five to seven years at the very latest, and it will expand beyond renters and homeowners.

A lot of questions remain open: Will Lemonade have decent underwriting results? Will the underwriting results even matter given the fee-based structure? Will the company be able to come up with an equally genius model for auto insurance? How about commercial insurance?

A couple of things are absolutely certain: Millennials have no issue leaving legacy insurance companies and will be thrilled to try this out; and our industry has changed forever. Lemonade is what we will get compared with from now on. How will your company compete?

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Could an Incumbent Act Like Lemonade?

Lemonade, the industry disruptor touted as a game-changer for the insurance industry, has officially opened, with homeowners and renters products launched in New York.

Lemonade’s opening is significant for a number of reasons. First, Lemonade’s business model will donate unused premiums to a charity. This sounds like a great idea — and it deserves to work — but time will tell if it’s enough to deter fraud.

Second is the Lemonade app.

The Lemonade app seems to be a killer in terms of capability, usability and its use of bots. Get insured in 90 seconds? Tick. Submit a claim and get paid in three minutes? Tick. The app is easy to use and has a slick user interface (UI) – it’s the app every insurer wishes it had.

See also: Lemonade: Insurance Is Changed Forever  

Which brings me to my point: Could a traditional insurer create an app — and accompanying product offer — like Lemonade? Ever?

No. And here’s why.

First, traditional insurers are crippled by legacy systems — creaking green-screen pre-floppy behemoths that no amount of lipstick can overcome. They’re not capable of ever supporting a product offering like Lemonade’s.

Second, traditional insurers have global workforces that are personally invested in the industry status quo. Moving to a product offering like Lemonade would involve ripping up centuries of rules and embracing a lot uncomfortable (and job-threatening) change.

And third, Lemonade’s product offering has no place for intermediaries, who insurers depend on for the majority of their income. As we know, once an insurer goes direct, intermediaries will switch insurance companies, meaning bye-bye revenue.

The only solution for traditional insurers wanting to compete with Lemonade is to start from scratch. In short, they need to create a company or subsidiary unencumbered by legacy systems, workforce constraints and intermediaries.

It’s been done before in other industries. The 1990s saw the advent of the low-cost airline. Traditional carriers, unable to compete with low-cost carriers, created low-cost subsidiaries of their own. These low-cost subsidiaries were not hamstrung by legacy systems, unionized workforces or booking agents. They were free to innovate, create new cultures and products. While some have struggled, many have enjoyed success.

See also: It’s Time for Some Lemonade  

Now is the insurance industry’s low-cost airline moment. Transforming from within is proving to be a glacial and painful process for many traditional insurers. Starting from scratch may just be their best option.

Insurance Jobs of the (Near) Future

As the insurance industry continues its slow but steady journey into a digital future, the skills required by the insurance workforce of tomorrow will also change. Here is my take on some of the insurance jobs we can expect to see in (I hope) the near future.

Digital Forensic Investigator

It’s happening more and more – fraudsters submit an insurance claim only to have it thrown out because someone’s discovered footage showing the whole thing was staged. My two favorite examples of recent times are the pregnant woman case and the Bugatti Veyron case. With more of our lives shared online, it’s easy for insurers to check our digital alibis, and digital forensic investigators (basically people who get paid for trawling social media) are the mechanism to do this.

Cyber Actuary

Cyber insurance is becoming a must have for corporations, but it won’t be long until it becomes a must have for individuals, as well. To effectively price this insurance, a new breed of digital natives with actuarial skills will be required to work out the risk and loss associated with a personal hack of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and email accounts.

Drone Pilot

If you’re currently working as an insurance assessor, I recommend you start learning how to fly a drone. On any given day in the future, you could have five drones at your command, each one automatically programmed with a flight path of claim sites to visit. As each drone arrives on site, you take manual control to get a good look with the on-board camera. Same job, but no more climbing roofs or visiting wreckers.

Telemedicine Nurse

Panel doctors beware! Five years from now, most medical examinations will be done at your local “telemedicine booth,” where you’ll self-assess using the same tools a doctor would use. A live telemedicine nurse, located anywhere in the world, will be on a video conference screen located in the booth to guide you through any tricky parts and to verify that it’s actually you taking the tests.

Internet of Things Solution Architect

It’s already possible to control many Internet-connected things in your home – televisions, fridges, air-conditioners, door locks, lamps and pet food dispensers – using smart phone apps. So, in theory, it should also be possible for these devices to notify you when they’ve been stolen (televisions), had food spoil because of a power failure (fridges) or been broken into (door locks), or when a pet stops eating and falls ill (pet food dispensers) – all of which are also insurable events. The challenge for IOT solution architects is to take the data and use it to trigger automated claim applications and approvals. It’s an exciting (though less private) future.

Have we missed anything?

These are just a few of the jobs that insurers can expect to start recruiting for shortly, if they haven’t already. Do you agree? Have we missed anything? Please comment below!