Tag Archives: Spixii

Key Insurtech Trends to Watch

This is the third in a four-part series. The two first parts can be found here and here.

It’s well established that insurers understand the need to innovate. Accenture’s Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 revealed that “86% believe they must innovate at an increasingly rapid pace simply to retain a competitive edge,” and a full “94% of insurance executives agree that adopting a platform-based business model and engaging in ecosystems with digital partners are critical to their business.”

See also: 10 Insurtech Trends at the Crossroads  

Increasingly, insurers are turning to insurtech, whose digital products and platforms can help them in their quest to innovate quickly and at scale. While the bulk of global investment in insurtech is still coming from outside the traditional insurance space, we do see a significant increase in investment from insurers over the past two years.

Which technologies are attracting the biggest investments? Accenture’s report, The Rise of Insurtech found three key areas which accounted for more than half of the overall investment in 2016:

  1. Analytics
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
  3. The Internet of Things (IoT)

Let’s look at a few interesting examples of how insurtechs are leveraging these digital technologies to help them connect with customers in new and innovative ways.

U.S. insurance startup Lemonade uses AI as an intermediary at multiple touch points throughout the customer journey. At the beginning of the client relationship, the homeowners and renters insurance company has an algorithm to assess a new customer’s risk level (by cross-referencing neighborhood data, past claims and other factors).

While most insurance claims still require some level of human interaction, the bots are improving. Lemonade’s “AI Jim” helped the insurer set the standard for the fastest processing time when the bot reviewed, ran multiple anti-fraud programs on, then settled a claim for a policyholder’s stolen winter coat in three seconds. It typically takes traditional insurers 30 to 45 days to close a similar claim. Lemonade launched quickly and attracted $60 million in stable investment by the end of 2016; insurers and investors are watching the company closely.

SPIXII is both the insurtech business and the name of its chatbot, a virtual blue parrot that “sits on the customer’s shoulder and talks to you.” It’s an automated digital agent that assists customers on their retail journey via a chat window on their smartphones. As with other AI tools we’ve seen, SPIXII learns from its customer interactions and can offer personalized insurance products in real time. SPIXII’s interactions are friendly and conversational, making for a customer experience that is convenient and even pleasant.

Digital Fineprint uses analytics and social media data to provide insurers with insights into customer risk profiles and relationships. The startup uses digital technology to connect with customers where they are online, via social media, providing convenient and customized offerings and increasing sales by targeting a larger network. After receiving initial seed investment from venture capital, the insurtech is attracting attention from Allianz, which invited the company to its accelerator initiative.

What makes these startups such interesting entrants into the insurance space? They’re using digital technology to interact with and reach their customers where they are. They’re offering a customized, personal and interactive service, and investors and incumbents alike are paying attention.

See also: Top 10 Insurtech Trends for 2018  

If you’d like to read more about insurance innovations, I recommend this series on the 2017 Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards winners.

You can register to read Accenture’s report The Rise of InsurTech here.

Insurtechs: 10 Super Agents, Power Brokers

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.

See also: Insurtech: How to Keep Insurance Relevant  

Agent and broker empowerment

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.

DIA Munich

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2vniEFD
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2irgVOG

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2vdced1
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2wmpXC7

3. Finanzen.de: the marketplace for leads

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2nZAR9C
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2xrmr6j

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2w23mbh
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2wmAGg5

5. RiskAPP: Risk assessment by agents and brokers

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2wDxoon
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2vnQtX4

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.”

Quote is from our new book ‘Reinventing Customer Engagement’

Next Generation Brokers

7. Knip: The personal digital insurance manager

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2wxi65i
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2vXA7YK

See also: What Incumbents Can Teach Insurtechs  

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.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2xrFfT9
Check demo: http://bit.ly/2sxsubF

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?

Read more in our new book ‘Reinventing Customer Engagement’.

Key Trends in Innovation (Part 3)

This article is the third in a series on key forces shaping the insurance industry. Parts One and Two can be found here and here.

Trend #3: Just in time: The majority of the simple covers will be bought in standard units through a marketplace/exchange, permitting just-in-time, need and exposure-based protection through mobile access.

Why can’t insurance work in the same way as Amazon, easy, seamless, one-click, no hassle, managed through your mobile and regular updates?

Actually, this is starting to become a reality. Insurers and start-ups have already taken up this challenge and significant progress is being made.

Aviva, for example, are piloting a home insurance product where customers won’t need to answer any questions and Digital Fineprint will autofill your insurance policy application form for you by using your social media information.

See also: 10 Trends at Heart of Insurtech Revolution  

Data availability and technology are enabling ‘blind rating’ of risks by insurance companies, providing guaranteed acceptance and prices to customer through direct or broker-assisted channels.

Insurance still has many consumer challenges to overcome, from a lack of understanding, lack of trust and lack of perceived benefits. If it’s considered at all, it’s often as a grudge purchase. The comment that insurance is sold not bought remains true in many instances.

As the digital economy evolves, the opportunity to change this dynamic will multiply.

The key drivers of this change are:

  • Ability to interact with the customer through their mobile in real time
  • Ability to offer insurance at the point of sale or time of need
  • Ability to tailor the offering to the individual’s specific circumstances (location, time, activity, risk)
  • Ability to leverage available information to simplify the process

Innovative start-ups like Insure-A-Thing (IAT)are reinventing the insurance ecosystem by improving customer trust & transparency, and encouraging improved behavior through retrospective premium payments, based on actual claims.

Democrance is revolutionizing the distribution and servicing of micro-insurance products at POS through telcos and Uber-like shared economy technologies.

Other examples of where this is already happening include, Kasko which enables consumers to purchase insurance at the point of sale/demand – it’s relevant, it’s easy and it’s digital. Similarly, Spixii, an insurance focused chatbot knows if you’re in a ski resort and willout and let you know that your travel insurance doesn’t cover extreme sports and then allow you to purchase the additional protection – again it’s relevant, it’s easy and it’s digital.

Our view is that many relatively simple personal lines products will evolve over time to these types of interactive model. Rather than standard policies covering fixed periods of time, these new products will switch on and off for the period they are needed and will cover the specific circumstances/risk. This will encourage adoption at more affordable prices and importantly demonstrate that insurance is providing real value when it’s most needed.

The sharing economy is a further example of how innovative insurance solutions are being developed to meet new and emerging consumer needs. Start-ups like Slice and Oula.la are looking to provide tailored insurance protection for Airbnb property owners that switch on and off to cover the period when the property is rented.

See also: Insurance Coverage Porn  

We also expect to see market place or exchange platforms being developed to help facilitate the process. Again, this is already happening. As an example, Asset Vault allows customers to log their physical and financial assets in a secure online repository and can then help customers find and tailor optimal insurance coverage based on their specific circumstances.

We hope you enjoy these insights, and look forward to collaborating with you as we create a new insurance future.

Next article in the series: Trend #4: Solutions will continue to evolve from protection to behavioral change then to prevention – even across complex commercial insurance

Asia Will Be Focus of Insurtech in 2017

Asia will be the key pillar in the coming revolution of insurance and in all likelihood will become the hottest market for insurance technology (insurtech) globally. It’s no longer just a pipe dream, as this time all the stars are aligning. Take the sheer population size and rapidly emerging tech-savvy middle class, together with low effectiveness of traditional insurance distribution. Combine that with a destabilizing wave of political populism, making its rounds across much of the developed world, and you’ve got most of the ingredients for a region that will take on a leading global role for insurtech.

So what, if anything, is missing to really ignite insurtech in Asia? It turns out that while the region is ripe for insurtech, the actual quantity and quality of startups in Asia is nowhere near that of other regions… at least not yet.

Share of investments in insurance startups can be used as a good proxy to the overall level of insurtech activity around the world. According to the figures, the U.S. takes 63%, with Germany (6%), U.K. (5%) and France (3%). China is at 4% – which doesn’t account for Zhong An’s massive investment in 2015 — and India at 5% (Source: CB Insights).

See also: The Future of Insurance Is Insurtech  

So the logical question is, why aren’t there more startups in Asia, considering the substantial opportunity and funding that exists in the region? Is it due to a shortage of experienced entrepreneurs, difficulty of starting a business, lack of access to investment or something else? The answer is that it’s likely a combination of a few factors, including a weaker early-stage entrepreneurial ecosystem, which doesn’t yet effectively support startups, and a cultural aspect of lesser tolerance for failure. Both of these are changing fast, though, and entrepreneurs across Asia are starting to identify and test innovative insurtech solutions.

The following are just a few recent notable insurtech startup examples across Asia that have already reached beyond Series A funding: Zhong An (an $8 billion Chinese insurtech startup), Connexions Asia (Singaporean flexible employee benefits platform with a U.S.$100 million valuation), and two large insurance aggregators out of India– Policybazaar and Cover Fox.

So why am I convinced that Asia insurtech startups will not end up dominating their regional home turf ?

Probability and “Survival of the Fittest”

The lack of critical mass of startups in the region means that they will not enjoy the same quality filters and network effects of the larger entrepreneurial ecosystems of the U.S., Europe and to a somewhat lesser degree China.

“Surviving” U.S. and European startups have to fight their way across a lot more competition to reach scale in their home markets. Hence, where a weaker startup in Asia could get repeated life support simply because there aren’t that many others to invest in, natural selection weeds out the weaker models in EU/U.S. much quicker in favor of more robust ones. Stronger startups then get to attract the best talent from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including talented entrepreneurs whose models didn’t work as well, further reinforcing successful EU/U.S. startups.

Home Market Advantage

Success in a large home market like the U.K., Germany or a few U.S. states gives a substantial boost to any startup. It provides both credibility and cash flow to allow a much more aggressive expansion into other regions. This also gives a startup flexibility to develop the necessary adjustments to the business model to adapt it for Asia.

The U.S. and EU have a deep domain level of insurance expertise, which gives EU/U.S. startups from those regions a further edge to tap advisory expertise locally, because most of the largest global insurers are based in these two regions.

Lastly, considering that most startups adopt a collaborative approach with insurance companies, having a relationship that originates close to the top decision maker at headquarters gives an added advantage to EU/U.S. startups when they are looking at expanding to new regions. I’ve personally experienced examples of relationships developed in Europe that later carried over in creating a pre-warmed partnership with the insurer’s operations in Asia.

Regulatory Complexity

Asia is made up of a large number of countries, where each has its own insurance regulator, who possess views on how things should be run. This means an additional potential growth hurdle for Asian startups.

For example, a startup out of Singapore will need to figure out how to navigate the neighboring Asian country regulatory regimes pretty early in its growth cycle. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam markets all have diverse regulatory requirements. This lands the Singaporean startup at a disadvantage vs. a more mature startup out of EU/U.S. – which not only has experience dealing with regulators in its home market but also possesses a proven track record and a larger resource pool that it can use to overcome any regulatory issues.

Meet Future Leaders of Asia InsurTech

Here are  35 insurance startups from across the U.S., Europe and China that have a real shot at collaboratively shaping the future of Asia’s insurance . Granted that not all of these startups will successfully adapt their models for Asia, a few would and will go on to successfully dominate Asia’s insurtech landscape in the foreseeable future.

Credit: George Kesselman

Credit: George Kesselman

The future of insurance in Asia is coming fast, and it’s looking pretty exciting!

See also: Insurtech Has Found Right Question to Ask  

Below are links/brief description of each of these 35 ventures.

U.K.

  • Guevara – People-to-people car insurance
  • Bought by Many – Insurance made social
  • Cuvva – Hourly car insurance on-demand
  • SPIXII– AI insurance agent
  • Gaggel – A better alternative to mobile phone insurance.
  • ClientDesk – Digitizing the insurance industry
  • Insly – Insurance broker software

Germany

  • SimpleSurance – World’s leading e-commerce provider for product insurances
  • Friendsurance – The future of insurance (P2P)
  • Getsafe – One-stop digital solution for all your insurance matters
  • Finanz-chef24 – Germany’s largest digital insurance for entrepreneurs and self-employed
  • Money-Meets – Save money and improve finances
  • Clark – Insurance as easy as never before
  • MassUP – White-labeled platform for online insurance sales
  • FinanceFox – Your insurance hero

USA

  • Metromile – Pay-per-mile insurance (usage-based auto insurance)
  • Oscar – Smart, simple health insurance.
  • Zenefits – Online HR Software | Payroll | Benefits – All-In-One (EB distribution)
  • Policy Genius – Insurance advice, quoting and shopping made easy
  • Embroker – Business insurance in the digital age
  • Slice – On-demand insurance for the on-demand economy.
  • Trov – On-Demand insurance for your things
  • Cover Hound – Compare car insurance quotes from top carriers
  • Insureon – Small-business insurance
  • Bunker – The marketplace for contract-related insurance
  • Lemonade – Peer-to-peer renters and homeowners insurance
  • Cyence – Comprehensive platform for the economic modeling of cyber risk

China

My Top Tips From EXEC InsurTech

I usually approach conferences with mixed emotions, whether attending, learning and networking or speaking. Ultimately, for me, conferences and events are about connecting people and ideas and moving the debate and understanding forward. To this end, I was delighted to join some great folks over at EXEC Insurtech in Cologne, which for me ticked all the boxes. It had a really interesting mix of folks attending, old and new, a serious number of VCs (AXA Strategic Ventures, Commerz Ventures and many more), There were angel investors and more and, importantly, a whole host of new start-ups, many very early-stage. There were some really great ideas from outside the U.K. market, so new to me personally. And it’s always great to see SPIXII, RightIndem and other graduates from the InsurTech StartupBootcamp in London with Sabine VanderLinden.

See also: InsurTech Boom Is Reshaping Market  

In addition to a number of panels where I was able to share the latest views from the Capgemini 2016 World Insurance Report, I was asked to share some perspectives with the group on InsurTech. I wanted to share the same here.

  1. We are in a bubble. By “we,” I mean, those who are here at EXEC InsurTech and see the opportunity. Not everyone sees the world this way, yet! Many of you know I’m a firm believer that disruption is here and now, coming at us thick and fast.
  2. Stand out. Whatever reports you read, be it the tech journals, insurance news or the traditional annual reports from existing carriers, they all talk to the disruption of the traditional insurance carrier (following the “unbundling” of the banks). There are now hundreds of start-ups in this space. It always amazes me to hear Sabine and theStartup Bootcamp team talk to how many start-ups they talk to prior to shortlisting to their final cohort. Make sure that when you are on stage and you have three minutes to pitch, you stand out. Don’t be the me-too.
  3. There have been no really big failures yet. There is excitement and buzz around what people are up to, where disruption is coming from and what part of the insurance value chain people are attacking (sales, underwriting, distribution, etc.). Given this, there has been record investment in the sector; the prize is huge, with a $5 trillion market opportunity. Matthew Wong and the folks over at CB Insights continue do an amazing  job at tracking deal flow, more than $1 billion so far in 2016. The example nearest to a failure that I called out was Zenefits, given its recent re-valuation. Another one was mentioned from the audience — CSS in Switzerland, I believe, but please correct me if I have this wrong.
  4. Partnering is key.  Given the history, tradition and especially the speed of the industry, my view is it’s best to partner and work with the traditional players as opposed to going all out head-to-head today. This may, of course, change over time. There are some really great examples of partnership already.
  5. Evolution or revolution? This is one of my favorite topics. Unlike banking, where I believe #FinTech has unbundled individual services ofmatthew  a bank, insurance start-ups have taken a different approach. Underwriting, for example, is not a category all unto itself nor one that I have seen folks go after in isolation. All need other parts of the insurance value chain to be successful. There are great examples of start-ups evolving each part of the value chain, across products, distribution, sales, etc. Matteo Carbone put together some good thinking a while back on this with his mental framework covering awareness, choice, purchase and use, as did Venture Scanner here in a series of visuals. For now, we are primarily digitizing and simplifying the existing approach and process.
  6. Product mindset. We simply need to move away from this. It will take generations for a complete mindset change. It will happen, in my view, when start-ups move to an “all risks” or truly customer-centric approach (not just better service experience). My two golden rules here remain: relevance and convenience. At what point does insurance become frictionless?
  7. Every carrier is partnering. Pick your partners carefully. I was talking to one of the start-ups that has now engaged in 30-plus pilots. While this is really encouraging and great for the start-up, every carrier is a) partnering, b) building a lab c) working with an accelerator. Make sure you don’t become part of a badge-collecting journey. Are your and the insurance carrier’s ambitions, culture and outcomes aligned? Make sure we are all walking into these partnerships with eyes wide open and with a clear plan of what happens if a partnership is successful.
  8. AI/data/bots are big and cool. That is all! There are some great use cases and examples developing here. We heard from SPIXII and Insuragram, just two examples of how AI and bots are looking to solve some of the business and engagement challenges.
  9. Don’t be the fad. See #7 and #8. Over the last few years, I’ve seen the rise and rise of big data. Then came digital. Now it’s blockchain and chat bots. My point here is that these are all great technologies. But don’t be the technology looking for a business problem to solve — sage old advice you will hear again and again.
  10. Beware of the silos. Many start-ups are working with global carriers. Just because we work with them in one country doesn’t mean they all talk, are connected seamlessly internally and exchange ideas and key learnings. The same is true for in-country and across lines of business. Many people operate in silo’ed P&L models where you may end up doing multiple different engagements with the same global carrier. Joining the dots may not always be right for you. Think speed! You’re in a relay race. Moving parts of an organization to the start line is often easier than moving the whole team at once. As the saying goes,“think big, start small, act quickly.”
  11. Customers (end customers) need to be ready.  With all these cool new ideas and apps that can disrupt traditional insurance, our challenge is often not whether something can be done but whether customers will be ready. We know it can be done; everything is possible! But there are many reasons why customers take a while, often a long while. Telematics is 25-plus years old, but it’s only now becoming more widely adopted. Even now, take-up is still relatively slow (except in Italy).
  12. Talent. Above all, there is an arms race for talent out there. Bringing together InsurTech and traditional insurers is one of the best ways of ensuring (no pun intended!) that we continue to attract and leverage some of the greatest talent in the marketplace, promoting Insurance along the way as a great place to excel and challenge the status quo.

See also: InsurTech Forces Industry to Rethink

So back to one of my initial comments — what conferences do for me. At this one, particularly, I was delighted to meet with so many folks looking at the market from different angles. Conversations about Europe were especially interesting given the recent U.K. BREXIT decision.

Finally, getting to exchange ideas with Matteo Carbone of Bain and Florian Graillot of AXA Strategic Ventures in person was the icing on the cake. Gentlemen, until next time. My thanks to Robbie Boushery, Moritz Delbrück and the team at Pirate Summit for bringing this all together.

So what do you think? Good sage advice? Something missing? What would you add/remove from my list?

Looking forward to continuing the debate!