InsurTech Innovation Insights from Industry Leaders

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over the past few years, insurtechs are providing the much-needed disruption of the traditionally viewed, and sometimes outdated insurance industry.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 discover what some of the major insurtech technological innovations have been recently and how it has impacted the insurance market. 

David Goate, co-founder and chief technology officer, Marshmallow, believes that the changes to the industry are making it more inclusive.

He said: “Whilst the full impact of technology is yet to be realised in the insurance sector, we have seen significant progress in the past 5-10 years. If the industry continues to progress, we’ll be looking at a much fairer and more inclusive system in the long term – one that gives greater benefits to consumers.

“Recently, the most significant development has been the effective use of data. Data has always been available, but how it’s collected, analysed, and utilised has been missing – to the detriment of consumers. Now insurtechs have created tech-led solutions that use multiple new data sets, allowing them to price risk much more effectively and provide a fairer, more informed quote.

“Consumers of all ages now expect a smoother digital journey that can be accessed instantly through apps for continued support. Advancements in technology will enable insurtechs to deliver a fully serviced account management service through an app, from renewing their policy, adding additional drivers, logging a claim or contacting support. Additionally, chatbots and instant messaging services have changed the game, giving peace of mind to customers, knowing they can reach help whenever they need it.

“Insurtech’s have forced incumbents to sit up and effectively adopt technology. It’s well-known that the insurance industry has typically favoured the provider rather than the consumer but insurtech’s have flipped that on its head and put people first. Data is becoming more accessible, and technology is creating endless ways to use that data, giving insurers vast opportunities to improve and expand their offering, all for the benefit of consumers.

“Compounded with the most recent FCA price walking regulation coming into force, these advancements mean we can expect to see a new insurance industry forming, one of transparency and fairness.”

Chris Lankford, SVP of engineering at Pie Insurance believes that the use of technology within insurance has created a huge catalyst in the industry.

“Insurtechs have shown that technology and digital innovation can streamline and automate all aspects of the insurance process, from quote to claim,” he said. “For an industry that has historically been slow and resistant to change, especially in commercial lines, the use of technologies like predictive analytics, AI, and machine learning have created a catalyst for disruption.

“For example, my company, Pie Insurance, is automating the small business insurance experience through a combination of advanced analytics, machine learning and proprietary pricing algorithms to ensure our customers can get a workers’ comp insurance quote in three minutes and save up to 30 per cent on their premiums. In comparison, traditional insurers rely on a manual, time-consuming process in which underwriters manually price each policy that comes through the door. By taking advantage of advanced algorithms, Pie’s underwriting team can focus on the most challenging cases, and the savings can be passed along to our policyholders.

“Looking to the future, machine vision is one technology I am particularly excited to see gain adoption. Machine vision creates an opportunity to apply AI to images, and can unlock enormous amounts of otherwise unknown visual data to help insurers sharpen risk assessment of potential policyholders.

“Insurtechs now have the ability to dramatically expand the amount of useful data we collect and process through technologies like machine learning, data analytics, and AI This allows us to conduct better, more granular risk assessment and pricing, ultimately giving us the opportunity to pass on value to customers. As technologies like AI and machine vision mature and become easier to implement, I expect to see widespread adoption across both insurtechs and incumbents alike.”

Pollyanna Ma, vice president, eHealth said: AI and machine learning have been extremely influential in the insurtech space.”

She continued: “These advancements have allowed insurance marketplaces to provide hyper-personalised experiences for customers from initial plan research all the way through actual enrollment. These technologies give licensed insurance agents the ability to provide plan options and recommendations for individual customers based on their exact location, needs, preferences and more. By referencing securely stored individual information provided by customers, agents are able to provide optimised recommendations wherever, whenever customers are looking for them. These advancements have given insurtech a boost in reaching the always-on, always-connected consumer.”

Kevin de Sa, SVP & chief information officer for digital enablement at Travelers Insurance, believes the pandemic has helped accelerate digital transformation in the industry.

He said: “As a society, our use of technology has been on a rapid incline over the past several years, and the pandemic has only amplified that with the need to complete just about every task virtually.

“From an insurance perspective, technology enables us to better understand and manage risk, furthering our best-in-class underwriting practices – from analysing geospatial data and aerial imagery to applying machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“We believe that by adopting the latest technologies, we strengthen the company’s ability to serve customers and remain an indispensable partner for our agents and brokers.

“For example, data and analytics have long been core components of our business. However, the proliferation of emerging technologies is helping us to accelerate the transformation of our data into actionable insights.

“Beyond just AI and predictive modelling, we are also embedding technology-driven solutions into every step of our value chain.

“As we look ahead, we are focused on continuing to identify new and emerging technologies that will further enhance our risk management expertise and create the best possible outcomes for our customers.”