InsurTech Scouting Report 2016 by Colin Allison & Thom Lucasson
Article Synopsis :
Regulatory, societal, technological, and competitive forces are reshaping insurance. To what extent will change come from disruptive startups, i.e., InsurTechs?
The “InsurTech Scouting Report 2016” from Startupbootcamp profiles 29 noteworthy InsurTechs culled from a broader list of 1,000 candidates. The report is structured along the following five areas of the insurance value chain:
- Distribution: The fully integrated layer of customer-facing activities. There’s an aspect of distribution in every touchpoint with the customer, not just at time of sale. InsurTechs are exploiting historically poor customer interaction levels. The overarching theme here is the word “experience.” By taking a customer-focused approach and designing an interaction between insurer and policy holder that’s pleasing, frictionless and even enjoyable, the customer’s appreciation and perceived value are much higher, locking in loyalty and brand equity. Profiled: Fluo, PractiFI, Gravie, Knip, Embroker, Spixii, Stride Health.
- Customer & Channel Insight: In a time of exponential data harvesting the ability to analyze that data is at least as valuable as collection itself. For insurers, there is an abundance of personal data that can lead to valuable insights into the minds and lives of customers translating into real business intelligence and competitive advantage. This section of the value chain is the portfolio of enterprise planning, market research and data mining capabilities insurers employ to supplement their core activities and sources of revenue. InsurTechs are looking to exploit this sector in a couple of ways. 1) Data capture: specifically the collection of data from the Internet of Things (IoT) and internet-connected wearables, and 2) Data analytics: many startups are flexing their analytical prowess by developing solutions to convert the vast data available to actionable insight. Profiled: FitSense, Doorda, Buzzmove, Bought By Many, Domotz, Quantifyle.
- Manufacturing: Mainly the business model itself. Many new entrants are fundamentally shifting the traditional operating model with new structures and ideas, often enabled by technology. Manufacturing is the very core function of insurance where market and customer intelligence is processed, resulting in the development and assembly of differentiated products and services to address customer segment needs. This most often takes the form of new types of policies and covers, like pet insurance or highly differentiated pricing for low-income customers. These can be simple or complex but, regardless, are focused on being adaptable to customer needs. Startups in this space have taken it upon themselves to innovate where most insurers have not yet done so. New business models such as Peer-to-Peer and on-demand have emerged, look for new revenue models as well. Profiled: Friendsurance, Trov, Founder Shield, Cuvva, Kasko.
- Processing Operations: The ultimate goal in optimizing this function is to remove friction wherever possible in everything from claims handling procedures, payment acceptance and payout, to asset appraisal and underwriting. In the majority of businesses, optimization equals automation for cost reasons. However, in insurance, as with other industries, there is a less calculable, but exponentially more important benefit to process improvement: customer satisfaction. Where many insurers have not introduced process improvement and digitization, many startups are stepping up to help improve these functions, both for employees and for customers. Profiled: Claim Di, RightIndem, bimaAFYA, Cape Analytics, Massup, Tyche.
- Risk & Financial Management: Risk and financial management are the backbone of the insurance operating model. It’s in this function that all underwriting and risk assessment takes place. Traditionally humans have calculated the variable risks and corresponding covers, using actuarial tables, excel models and algorithms; but this is increasingly becoming an area where computer science and tailor-made programs can deliver faster, more accurate, and better insights. Startups are surprisingly able to deliver better analysis and more comprehensive insight than traditional tools and infrastructures, such as Tableau and Excel, while being every bit as accessible and flexible. Profiled: Cytora, MyFutureNow, CoVi Analytics, Analyze RE, QuanTemplate.
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Digital Insurer's CommentsThe velocity of change is accelerating, but most incumbent insurers are taking a slower approach to innovation. Capitalizing on this delta (or hoping to anyway) are the growing crop of InsurTechs.
Incumbents have three options with respect to InsurTechs:
- Ignore them
- Compete with them
- Partner with them
While option 1) seems enticing, even popular, how can one ignore a startup like Cape Analytics that’s currently testing a solution enabling appraisers to simply highlight a property on a satellite image (from Google Earth) with a program determining the cost of insurance?
The market is changing, How about you? Based on where you are in terms of customers and markets, What are your risks and opportunities? Do you have any really big ideas, and if so, What are they?
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