Tag Archives: On-Demand

The Path Forward for Insurance Industry

The insurance industry is hundreds of years old and full of ingrained perceptions and antiquated processes, which continue to cause frustration among customers. Insurers know they need to innovate, but the question is – how? How can global insurers, which have been operating in and underwriting insurance the same way for hundreds of years, know which types of technology they need to meet consumer demand and remain competitive in a rapidly changing market?

Insurance technology is the missing link. The insurtech market is growing rapidly, and players have to be prepared to adapt. There is little time to sit idle, because, if you can’t keep up with consumer demands today, there is a small chance you’ll keep up with them tomorrow. Whether it’s the need for small business cyber insurance or the necessity for pay-per-use homeshare insurance, insurance is moving away from the traditional model.

The on-demand culture and sharing economy continue to disrupt industries across music, entertainment, transportation and payments. The wave of acceptance by consumers flags a fundamental shift in consumer behavior, where consumers can get what they want now, without delayed gratification. The insurance industry is the next in line, ripe for disruption. With the continued explosion of rideshare and homeshare applications, the traditional models for car and home insurance are not substantial enough to protect individuals using their personal property as a commercial asset.

See also: Insuring a ‘Slice’ of the On-Demand Economy  

While the battle of insurers vs. insurtechs continues, we firmly believe that both parties have equally valuable offerings to bring to the table. To truly drive the industry forward, an open-source cloud platform that allows insurers to quickly build, test and deploy their own on-demand insurance products will be the beginning of the insurance industry transformation in response to the sharing and gig economy.

Legacy carriers have centuries of experience writing insurance policies and have the historic industry knowledge that insurtechs need to be able to grow – emerging industry players that don’t see that are missing a huge opportunity. On the flip side, technology is changing fast and, therefore, changing the way people work and live. It’s the new norm for consumers to get what they want, when they want it; and while insurers might have the industry knowledge needed to be competitive, what most don’t have is the ability to be agile to protect against emerging risks and meet increasingly demanding customer needs. Largely due to the lack of technology and resources available, our partners tell us there is much higher value in cooperation, as insurtechs have the technical resources insurers need to improve time to market. For both parties, it’s a win, win.

Cloud platforms are allowing insurers to quickly ideate, experiment, test and deploy new, on-demand insurance products. Since making our Insurance Cloud Services platform publicly available in January 2018, we’ve experienced higher-than-anticipated demand, causing us to make a heightened focus on global expansion as insurers increasingly realize the need to adopt agile technology.

AXA XL and the Co-operators both launched their first on-demand cyber and homeshare insurance products in the last two months. Through cooperation vs. combat, the two are now ahead of the curve, with AXA XL’s product being the first ever on-demand cyber insurance product in market, and Co-operators launching the first on-demand homeshare insurance solution in Canada, allowing the company both to reach and work with customers in a way that works for them vs. the other way around.

See also: A New Way to Develop Products  

The path forward for fully digital on-demand insurance is moving quickly, and, as the industry continues to experience disruption, it’s critical that insurers consider not only what type of technology they need to improve internal processes and compete in the market, but also the changing, increasingly in-demand needs of their customers. Insurtechs that are able to provide solutions for insurers that allow them to quickly ideate, experiment with and launch new products are set to lead the future of the insurance evolution.

How to Move Into the On-Demand Economy

The rise of the on-demand economy is disrupting billion-dollar markets — from retail, travel and transportation to healthcare, financial services, insurance, cable and utilities. In fact, a recent survey by Pew Research Center found that 72% of American adults have used on-demand services.

While we’ve become accustomed to witnessing startups and digitally native companies launch on-demand services with relative ease, the reality is far different for established enterprises with legacy systems that they have to integrate. For many companies, adapting to an on-demand model requires organizational restructuring, not to mention disparate systems that need to be connected to make that possible. Often, it’s difficult for enterprises to keep pace with the changes to meaningfully transform their business for the on-demand economy.

By 2025, leading enterprises will operate entirely on-demand — using software and mobile devices to connect to global and distributed networks and using a combination of AI and chatbots to handle customer service, payment and transactions and other business processes. According to Gartner, three out of 10 jobs will be converted to software, robots or smart machines.

These realities both threaten and present opportunities for enterprises. But the biggest risk of all is for businesses is to pretend the changes aren’t happening. Enterprises need to embrace the change to both redefine their role and the value they bring their customers, all while automating key areas of their business, ensuring compliance and stimulating growth.

See also: On-Demand Insurance: Ultimately a Bust?  

The on-demand economy has raised consumer expectations across industries. It places the customer firmly at the center of a business. We’ve seen Amazon set a new standard for retail customer service. Uber and Lyft have used a distributed workforce to disrupt a $60 billion local transportation market, while Airbnb has changed the travel and vacation rental market, and Lemonade is changing the insurance industry. The elevated experiences provided by these companies, and those like them, combine to raise the customer expectations across all industries.

What’s even more interesting is what has become known as the “experience gap.” It’s based on the fact that 80% of CEOs believe they are delivering a superior experience, but only 8% of customers agree. And given that more than half of customers today say they’ve switched companies solely because of poor user experiences, it’s clear that companies that fail to embrace change and the shift to consumer-centric solutions are at a strategic disadvantage. This experience gap is the catalyst for a lot of disruption because it’s catching businesses off-guard because they’re not yet deploying the new tools that can close the gap.

As such, competition doesn’t manifest itself through traditional means. Instead, competitive differentiation stems from the quality of experiences businesses can deliver to their customers.

So that brings us to the question of “how” to deliver experiences consumers expect.

How can enterprises join the on-demand economy and deliver experiences that are synonymous with being always-on and personalized? In broad terms, there are elements or “steps” of digital transformation that enterprises can undertake to get them in the right place and ready to meet the needs of today’s demanding consumer. And, the process is not as complex as one might imagine.

Enterprise Transformation for the On-Demand Economy

1. Enabling messaging as a customer engagement channel

The first step is to enable a secure messaging system that can adequately serve the needs of consumers. This means it needs to offer all the necessary functionality that consumers experience in other channels such as payments, scheduling, CRM integrations, file transfers, customer service and marketing. In addition, the communication platform needs to meet security and privacy standards to ensure no breaches in compliance.

The fact is, traditional channels — such as telephone and email — are no longer the primary channels through which people communicate with each other. The adoption of messaging has been rapid, and it shows no signs of slowing down. With this in mind, businesses large and small need to follow suit and begin the transition to messaging by including it in their channel strategy.

The reason messaging is such a key part of the on-demand economy is that its very premise is on-demand. Messaging allows consumers to respond in their own time and send messages whenever they like. It harbors a strong sense of immediacy that’s unmatched on other channels. And it’s a channel that’s easily accessible through the smartphones that people carry with them everywhere they go.

2. Messaging across all devices and channels

This same messaging capability then needs to be plugged in effectively across all devices and channels to connect with customers in real time. So, whether the primary interface is a mobile app, website, social network or otherwise, it’s the same high-value messaging experience.

3. Scale through business process automation with chatbots and artificial intelligence.

The third step to entering the on-demand economy is scaling the always-on messaging experience through the use of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies work to automate the whole operation and provide a cost-effective solution for scaling 24/7 connectivity.

The future of business communication is firmly based in the on-demand economy. So enterprises must be focused on making processes easy to access and intuitive to move through. Despite all the extraneous features and services that will be enabled through technology, the biggest drivers of innovation will be utility and simplicity across the customer experience.

See also: Insuring a ‘Slice’ of the On-Demand Economy

What It Means for Businesses to be On-Demand

To be truly on-demand is to be at the beck and call of customers and consumers — to deliver experiences that provide consumers with access to information and services when and where they need it. It’s a simple concept with massive implications. Each day, consumers embark on an infinite number of journeys. For businesses to play a role in these consumer journeys, they need to meet them where they are along the way. And that is the the premise of the on-demand economy. Businesses no longer have the control — consumers are the ones who are empowered. It’s therefore essential that businesses adopt the on-demand model to retain and build their customer’s loyalty.

The New Insurance Is No Insurance

Insurers are aware that technology will help to reduce claims drastically and therefore finally run premiums down to unsustainable levels.

Time to move on

“Insurance is a cornerstone of modern life. Without insurance, many aspects of today’s society and economy could not function. The insurance industry provides the cover for economic, climatic, technological, political and demographic risks that enables individuals to go about their daily life and companies to operate, innovate and develop.” Source: Insurance Europe

I fully support this, but the way this cornerstone fits into modern life needs attention. It’s time to move on.

See also: Insurance Coverage Porn  

The Third Wave

Twenty years ago, I set up the first digital insurance. Ten years ago, I set up (again the first) mobile insurance Now we’re heading for the third wave: connected insurance.

Real connected insurance with the new opportunities that technology brings is what I (with a few former colleagues) believe in and have been working on for some time now.

Of course: “IoT,” “data science,” “AI,” “customer-centric” and “on-demand” are the buzzwords. But let me add two: “holistic” and “transversal.”

“Holistic” refers to the complete modern household with a connected lifestyle and “transversal” to the consumer who is completely not interested in our industry verticals.

Insurance has to stay but with an overall and fresh approach. Hundreds of insurtech initiatives are currently taking pieces and add sometimes compelling features. See the Sherpa-Neos-Interpolis-Trov-CBien-Metromile-Vitality-Clark-Knip-PolicyGenius-Lemonade-Inshared-like initiatives.

The real challenge is to bring it all together to a compelling, simple, transparent and engaging full service offer to the customer.

Focus on prevention

The new insurance is no insurance — meaning the focus should not be on pushing insurance products but on offering prevention services.

For this we developed an international concept for smart protection called InConnect, with the household as hub connecting all smart devices, vehicles and wearables and with technology and data used to improve prevention.

Safety and Peace of Mind

Unbiased personal risk management tools (Primes) help reduce insurance to what is really needed in one universal personalized policy without redundancies and gaps, dynamically adjusted to the actual situation and needs with:

  • On-demand add-ons
  • Built-in loyalty and reward system
  • Ready connections for sharing cars, rides and homes
  • Easy combining or splitting households
  • Privacy and cyber risk recognized

and backed with a one of a kind insurance and claims IT platform.

Startup

The overall concept is quite ambitious. Although we’ve successfully done ambitious businesses before and have qualified people and technology on our side, we’ll start on a controllable scale. A startup will kick off in three European countries with home, motor and travel.

As soon as we’ve completed our search for the right partners, we’ll start proving the concept, do the learning and keep you posted. Of course we’re always looking for enthusiastic and good individuals. Feel free to give me a buzz.

See also: The Insurance Model in 2035?  

Finally

Insurers are experts in risk and capital management, and that is what they should keep doing, but in a different perspective. Deploy that expertise in the new environment of connected lifestyles.

Is Insurance Having an Uber Moment?

Because of today’s technology, any person who has special knowledge of a service or product, or is willing to learn, can go into business as a freelancer. These people can not only be found by potential employers but can fit into their work flow. The result has been an on-demand work force, exemplified by the Uber or Lyft ride-sharing platforms and, in fact, by my company, WeGoLook, which facilitates gig work for our more than 30,000 strong on-demand workforce.

On-demand workers can generate substantial additional income without having to jump through the hoops that challenge traditional small businesses.

See also: The Uberization of Insurance  

Consumers have shifted, too, increasingly demanding that they be able to want to purchase goods and services based on their actual needs — what they want, when they want it and how they want it — rather than based on what the market tells them they need.

The result has been an on-demand economy that has been meshing with the on-demand workforce.

Insurance products face disruption because virtually every consumer purchases insurance at some point — insurance will have to adapt to both the on-demand nature of work and the on-demand nature of consumption. This is the industry’s Uber moment.

Insurtech has already led to innovation unlike anything the industry has ever witnessed.

Traditional carriers feared a loss of about 20% market share and responded by making substantial investments of their own into technology, distribution methods and product innovation. Even though traditional carriers retained the underwriting and claims administration responsibilities for insurance products being marketed by startups like Lemonade, Slice and Trov, they soon realized they would lose contact with consumers and control of distribution.

This has led insurance companies to wisely consider innovation and partnerships to remain relevant during this Uber moment.

Innovation

Digitally savvy customers want to connect and communicate via smartphone, tablets and laptops. Innovations like bots and AI help the insurer implement these communication requirements without adding thousands of employees and cubicles. Technology, in particular mobile technology, is the key, and insurtech startups have a vast supply of ideas that will meet the needs of the new on-demand consumer preferences.

Partnership

Insurers willing to invest significant funds to compete will suddenly discover that their traditional IT systems will hinder attempts at innovation. These legacy systems are typically outdated within a few years of installation, and the traditional insurer must look to partnering with well-funded startups rather than replacing all these systems at significant cost.

See also: What Will Be the Uber of Insurance?  

Partnering can allow for quick implementation of technological advances, such as new communication techniques, and the on-demand workforce can quickly and inexpensively carry out the activities required to implement new processes. For instance, on-demand field service companies like WeGoLook can provide personnel to accommodate the new needs in claims adjusting.

Traditional insurers are retooling or partnering to accommodate the preferences of on-demand consumers, but they are in for a wild ride — or at least very different one — as they have their Uber moment.

How to Leverage On-Demand Labor

The on-demand labor force is growing substantially and has every reason to continue to do so. Just look at these results from a survey completed in June 2016 by Burson-Marsteller, The Aspen Institute and TIME, which measured responses from 3,000 on-demand workers:

  • More than 45 million Americans have worked in the on-demand economy – accounting for 22% of the total workforce.
  • 42% of adult Americans, or 86.5 million people, have used at least one service offered by the on-demand workforce.
  • Of the workers surveyed, 64% expect their financial future to improve, compared with only 47% of the general population.
  • More than 51% on-demand workers responded that their finances have improved over the past year, compared with 34% of the general population.
  • 61% of the workers surveyed believe that on-demand economy companies care about their workers.

The ability to decide when to work, what kind of work you prefer and where you work from, represents a giant carrot for many American workers.

Insurance: It Affects All Consumers

The changing workforce will affect insurance, especially property/casualty, where the claims process is most important to the consuming public. This process should be as uneventful as possible because an insurance claim can either make or break the relationship between the parties of an insurance contract. But ask any vehicle owner who’s had an accident to describe the claims experience in a word; too often, the word is “stressful.”

Traditional insurers do not understand that time is measured differently in the 21st century because of technology. Even when this difference becomes apparent to senior staff members, most dig in their heels as they consider the additional cost of streamlining their claims process. They need to know that by inserting on-demand workers in the claims process, they can gain efficiencies and save money.

Modern customers demand efficiency, choice and ease of access. This is no longer a nice-to-have in today’s digital economy. You must provide this to your customers, or be at the wrong end of disruptive industries like fintech and insurtech.

External Claims Resources and Modern Insurance

The claims process that some insurers employ poses serious challenges because of time constraints and having to depend on a claimant to provide a significant portion of the information required. Policyholders can drag their feet on providing needed claim documentation and then rate the claim adjuster poorly because their perception is that the settlement took far too long.

Insurers are learning that they can overcome these challenges by embracing the on-demand workforce that external claims resource companies like WeGoLook provide and significantly reducing the time required to adjust claims.

Why hire an entire staff of highly paid claims adjusters to complete mundane tasks that can be associated with standard insurance claims. Why be subject to W2 employees having very little to do when claims are slow and then becoming overwhelmed when a catastrophe arrives?

Or, why not supplement traditional workforces with external claims resource workers who are flexible, available and spread across the country.

On-demand workers and external claims resources are available where and when you need them. They enable insurance carriers to reduce payroll costs, improve their bottom line and remain flexible in the new digital economy reality.

And, just as importantly, leveraging external claims resources speeds up the claims process, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.

In an age of immediate gratification, this is necessary for any business model to thrive.