What did it take for French law student Jules Léotard to invent the art of trapeze? Courage, recklessness, his young age?
It was his father’s swimming pool laying beneath him, ready to save his neck while he flew through the air holding onto a small wooden bar. The swimming pool took away risk and fear. Or at least it lowered them dramatically.
If we were to draw a lesson here, it could be: safety prompts risk. Risk prompts experimentation. Experimentation prompts innovation. Innovation prompts growth. Growth prompts mankind.
When we think of insurance we typically don’t picture it as a safety net that enables innovation and growth. It looks rather like an unavoidable and expensive burden everybody needs to take on. Protected by strict regulations and strong entry barriers, the insurance industry has largely escaped major disruption. Until now. InsurTech is set to revolutionize the old-fashioned market, just as FinTech did to the financial market.
Opportunities are arising that allow customer needs to be met with unprecedented precision and personalization, decreased costs, and increased speeds… Customers demand a shift from complexity and long-term commitments to on-demand, transparent, and cost-friendly product-services, which are all made seamlessly accessible on mobile and in real-time.
Insurtech enables insurers to take existing data and generate deeper risk insights — a game changer, since insurance is built on data risk insights.
The challenges for organizations are many and require alignment between innovation processes, strategic priorities, and implementation practices. Simply put: it’s going to be a lot of work. We hope the insights we share here will inspire you and give you the confidence to ignite change.
“Those who want to understand the trends in InsurTech must dare to look at what is taking place across the globe. Because innovation mostly takes place on the international stage.”
Mehrdad Piroozram, Angel Investor at InsurTech.vc, urges us to guard against taking a local market perspective. The battle of the insurances — he explains — is being played on a global stage.
Piroozram introduces a framework that classifies startups — regardless of location — depending on which part of the value chain they innovate. He identifies five fields: Touchpoints, Data, Processes, Products, and Big Bang. As the name suggests, the Big Bang startups will bring the most disruptive innovation as they enter the market as native full-stack digital insurers.
Piroozram also analyzes the so-called “venture funnel” which represents the brutal selection of the venture process. Understanding what happens behind the curtains of innovation — while adopting a global perspective — will shed some light on the fast-growing business of InsurTech startups.
Back to the future with P2P Insurance
There are several startups that caught the insurance world’s attention in the last few years. Among them is certainly Lemonade.
The US-based company, also known as “the Uber of insurance“, made news for multiple reasons. Firstly, because it is a Peer-to-Peer insurance, which is a new model of insurance that falls under the umbrella of the sharing economy. The shared good, in this case, is the risk capital. P2P insurances bring crowdsourcing into the equation to irreversibly overturn the traditional value chain.
In the first generation of P2P insurances, policyholders of a community pay premiums into a large pot and then draw on the pot in case of a claim. Essentially, everyone signs a contract with everyone else to share costs, risks, and rewards — members get any leftover funds at the end of the policy period too.
The newest players are pushing the model even further by creating premium-free insurances that operate through self-governed smart contracts on the blockchain.
This trilogy of articles by Rick Huckstep will walk you through the short but fast-changing history of P2P insurance, and its most talked-about players.
Rise of the Planet of the APIs
Which technology will have the strongest impact on the digital revolution of insurances?
Artificial Intelligence? Predictive Analytics? Virtual Reality? The Blockchain? Maybe. Or maybe not. What if the most powerful technology was also the most invisible and least discussed one?
Application Programming Interfaces — aka APIs — started making headlines in the InsurTech world only recently.
It appears that they still belong to the secret domain of some IT wizards because, unlike VR or Ai, they are (almost) invisible to end users. However, in their discrete nature lies power. For those who are not yet familiar with the term, APIs essentially are software intermediaries that allow two applications to talk to each other. Translated: you can easily incorporate your product into other businesses own experience, alongside their main products. And, since APIs don’t need to have a specific presentational layer, you can easily adopt an omnichannel content strategy.
Lemonade started offering its API in October 2017 — supporting easy quoting, policy creation, and payment for homeowner, condo, and renter insurance policies. Similarly, a couple of months ago, CoverWallet made their APIs available to obtain quotes, buy policies, and manage documents for small commercial businesses.
APIs are key to unlocking business agility and scalability in the world of IoT and service-oriented products.
As Sabitha Majukumar, Senior Research Analyst at Worldwide Insurance Strategies, explains in this article, “the time is right for the industry to embrace application programming interfaces with an open mindset as they can bring together multiple data sources in a flexible, reliable, timely, measurable, and cost-effective manner.”
InsurTech — should I care?
The insurance industry is far behind in the run for digital innovation.
Caribou Honig, Chairman of Insurtech Connect, says “to succeed today, carriers must be competent across many parts of the value chain; branding, distribution, customer experience, underwriting, billing, claims, and syndication of risk — to name a few.” To achieve this, organizations must align their innovation processes, strategic priorities, and implementation practices. Legacy insurers have the most to lose. We at Edenspiekermann are already helping many of them to build a consistent approach to disruption and swiftly react to change.
Now is the time for the C-suite to put innovation at the heart of their organizations’ cultures and bring InsurTechs to the top of their agenda.