March at The Fintech Times is all about insurtech and its many facets. With the industry making leaps and bounds over the past few years, insurtechs are providing the much-needed disruption of the traditionally viewed, and sometimes outdated insurance industry. From innovations in technology and applications to key industries like property, auto and energy, this month we’ll be taking a look at some of the key topics in the sector and how insurance really is the one to watch.
With this in mind, we have spoken to some of the leading players in the industry to uncover how Insurtech is evolving into an experience-based industry, and learn more about the rise of tailored insurance solutions.
Becoming the industry standard
Yuval Tal, managing partner at Team8 and chairman of Spott said, “As the insurtech space continues to evolve, data science innovation is facilitating new underwriting tools to help financial institutions carry out much more sophisticated and accurate risk profiling of businesses. This is especially true for online businesses, with a significant digital footprint that can be leveraged for underwriting purposes. In the world of eCommerce, data-driven underwriting that takes into account granular level details such as seller’s brand proposition, niche product offering, and supply chain ecosystem, as well as broader market trends, will steer the insurance sector away from generic, one-size-fits-all assessment criteria. For too long, traditional insurers have been routinely mispricing policies due to their anachronistic view of online sellers and a limited understanding of the niche markets they serve. Carriers also have a hard time distinguishing between the unique risk profiles of certain types of products. I don’t think anyone would argue that the liability insurance for selling gym equipment should be in any way similar to selling t-shirts, for example.
“In the absence of a conventional underwriting framework for eCommerce insurance policies, sellers end up paying exorbitant fees that undercut their bottom line, and are often forced to contend with unfavorable terms for the services they need. As leading marketplaces like Walmart and Amazon are mandating that sellers take out their own liability insurance policy, tailored insurance – facilitated by AI, machine learning, and other advanced technologies – will need to become the industry standard. By adopting such solutions, insurers can accurately assess, quantify, and price risk not only on a business level, but also on a product level, and help a budding class of online sellers get affordable access to insurance policies and other financial products that actually align with their needs.”
Meeri Savolainen, co-founder and co-CEO of Berlin HQ’ed insurtech, INZMO, said, “Consumers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with traditional insurance offerings and seeking out personalised, digital and more cost-effective alternatives embedded into products and services at the point of purchase.
“As a result, tailored and flexible insurance solutions that can be purchased as and when needed, are booming with insurtechs striving to meet customers’ ever-evolving expectations.
“Real customer centricity comes from providing solutions tailored to the exact needs of the individual, not just the choice of two or three rigid policies. This is key for insurtechs to build loyalty and providers are embracing technology to facilitate this.
“To satisfy consumer appetite for tailored and flexible solutions, insurtechs are using data management analytics to get to know their customers better. This enables them to provide hyper-personalised products to help retain their business as well as the ability to offer dynamic pricing based on the customer’s individual profile, behaviour and specific requirements.
“Embedded and ‘invisible embedded’ insurance experiences are also becoming more mainstream and we are seeing the growth of B2B2C approaches within our sector, with ecosystem players leveraging complementary partnerships across multiple verticals to expand reach, distribution and scale.”
Following fintechs steps
Mark Warnquist, CEO and Co-Founder of InShare, said, “Insurtech is closely following the path that fintech has been on for the better part of a decade. Just as fintech has evolved with advances such as digital banking and payments, insurtech is similarly evolving to deliver a far superior insurance buying and service experience.
“In the B2C space, insurance carriers and insurtech companies have launched digital solutions enabling 24/7 assistance and self services, including online binding and policy changes, use of chatbots, as well as mobile solutions for self-service policy servicing and claims reporting. In addition to delivering a superior experience for digital customers, these digital solutions offer substantial cost and data advantages v. manual/traditional insurance buying and servicing.
“On the payments side, insurtech continues to lag fintech, but digital payment advances are gaining significant traction with the move toward online binding. Additionally, digital claims payments are becoming an essential feature, as they greatly expedites claim resolution and, once again, drives a far superior user experience.
“In a B2B insurance world, broker experience is key and digital solutions need to be aimed at ensuring there is simplicity and ease of use for broker partners as well as customers .This includes broker self-service capabilities, real time data and analytics, direct and live claims access, and simplified digital billing processes.
“In sum, digital customers are demanding a digital insurance experience, and are increasingly finding that traditional/analog capabilities are not meeting their needs and resulting in unnecessary additional expense. While there have been significant advances in digital capabilities in the world of insurance, there is still much to do to keep up with the advances in fintech.”
Pasquale Saviano, CEO of Photocert, explains, “The digitisation of processes is inevitable to attract and retain the end-user of an insurance product; it can be considered part of human evolution. Imagine yourself queuing in a bank branch because you need to do a simple bank transfer. A customer experience like that would seem impossible for a bank today, but it still occurs in the insurance industry. Now, with the implementation of proposals like the Dual Pricing Ban and the global insurtech sector reaching an all-time high on funding in 2021, insurance companies are turning to technology and process automation to focus on enhancing customer experience and providing an overall better service.
“More insurers are starting to rely on process automation through AI because various steps are in play during a claims or underwriting workflow, usually including dozens of documents and a long clearing time. AI removes the necessity for manual workload while process automation gives users an outstanding end-to-end digital experience avoiding third-party inspectors and the possibility for human error.
“With modern technology comes certain risks. The insurers that work with us are well aware that before beginning with AI that could, for example, understand the damage severity of a water leak at home from an image, they want to be sure that what they receive is authentic. A recent Verisk analysis of 768,000 images from one carrier found 1,967 duplicates, including one photo used 44 different times. Without fraud prevention technology in place, the duplicates went undetected. The impact was $5.3million indemnities paid out across 1,475 claims.”
Will Wood, head of life and health at INSTANDA, told The Fintech Times, “Insurtech companies have capability to allow traditional product-focused experiences turn in to customer centric experiences. Take for example the rise of wearable technology and pairing this with life or health insurance. There is now enough data available within devices on people’s wrists to understand how active they are on a daily, monthly or even annual basis. Not only this but also the ability to understand how well people are sleeping, measuring heart rates and even as far as measuring sugar levels for diabetics. All of this information allows insurers to take a different view of how products can be underwritten for quote purposes. It isn’t just about the start of the insurance experience (and nor should it be), taking on customers who continue to work towards being fit and healthy means you can continue to tailor propositions for customers ongoing and be continually engaged in their health and wellness.
“Engagement is something insurers have always struggled with, whether this be as simple as ensuring customers are notified annually of the type of cover they have in place and if it is still fit for purpose or even offering guidance on what else the customer could be thinking about because you know x,y,z about them. It could also be adding additional value services to help customers prevent bad things from happening, like water pipe sensors or digital general practitioner (GP) services. These among many other areas of engagement opportunities are now within the grasp of all, thanks to new insurtech companies, making customers feel less like a transaction and more like an individual.”