Enough of COVID adversity- how about enjoying some insurance innovation diversity?

GIA

Enough for now on COVID-19- let’s consider what can the insurance industry expect as the world slowly pivots back to normalcy, whatever that will be?  The insurance industry is a five trillion USD business, and while aspects of the industry remain in flux as of this date, insurance does carry on as a foundation of business, ownership, contracts, transportation, life, etc. Insurance has been undergoing innovation focus for some years so in anticipation of what’s next, let’s take a look at one organization’s view of that very thing- ideas that are made to influence insurance change- the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA).

 

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance consultant, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners in his day job. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.

The GIA functions as “a mentor-driven business accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry by supporting InsurTech startups targeting the global insurance industry.”  As such the GIA hosts a selected cohort of startups over a one-hundred-day period at their facilities in Des Moines, Iowa, a full-immersion environment of mentored development of the respective firms’ concepts. GIA Managing Director, Nicole (Cook) Gunderson notes another key aspect of this accelerator- sponsorship by established carriers and a token equity position being taken by the sponsor firm(s).

The recent graduating cohort was comprised of seven firms from diverse insurance line focus:

  • DenScore, software solution for dental insurers, leveraging dental claims data and patient feedback to measure dentists’ clinical performance
  • Caregiven, digital engagement and support tool offered as a group benefit by employers, ensures aging or ailing loved ones benefit from a higher quality of life.
  • Kiwi Insure, a social media focused analytics firm that risk scores customers before engagement in outdoor or sports activities and distribute personalized insurance products to customers on a demand or ‘gig’ basis.
  • Summary Medical, innovation to search and auto-review medical records, a hub for the review of medical records in life insurance underwriting.
  • Insurevite, virtual claim service focused on medical claims utilizing claim bot technology.
  • UdoTest, at home health screening developer and marketer with a full suite of do at home health tests.
  • Gerald Technologies, B2B digital SaaS acting as an info bridge between the insured and insurer.

With the GIA’s goal of providing a fertile development environment and intensive advisory services within the Accelerator’s 100 day period, the cohort went full steam ahead January 14 of this year.  As with the rest of the business world, the GIA began its required virtual operation March 16.  The apparent success of the virtual adaptation was evident in the Virtual Pitch Event the program sponsored on day 100, as the reader can access here on the presentation video- 2020 GIA Cohort Companies’ Presentations.

 

As I listened to each org’s pitch I considered the respective firm’s goals, the approach and delivery as currently exists, and then posed a question  or two by email for each founder.  While I was unable to obtain responses from all of the cohort’s members, I did receive information from a majority.  My thoughts- no matter how engaging the idea there has to be a purpose customers see and are willing to pay for.

DenScore

Knowing that DenScore’s focus is helping program enrollees make better choices about dental care based on a ‘best dental providers’ network, I asked founder KyleGernhofer:

DF          “Does the proposed rating service provide information that carriers will pay for absent immediate proof of financial worth?”

KG          “Absolutely! In addition to DenScore’s financial appeal, most of our conversations with dental insurers circle back to their desire to better serve their stakeholders (ie. enrollees, employers, dentists, brokers) which has been so refreshing to hear! Dental insurers love the fact that we’ve designed DenScore to provide added value to their entire customer base because this will ultimately lead to a stronger network and a resulting boost in net earnings.”

So it seems the ongoing potential benefit of the firm’s concept is through continuing assessment of patients’ experiences, carriers’ use of real-time ratings monitoring dental providers in not only knowing who is a good performer, but in providing under-performers feedback to improve how they serve clients.

Caregiven

A provider of a safe, convenient and easy to use caregiving platform for family members to use for structure, support, and guidance needed to manage the final years of a loved one, Caregiven is the idea of founder Candice Smith.  The service is marketed to life and health insurance companies, and to employee benefits providers as a digital engagement and support tool.

DF           “Soft benefits can get lost in the suite of benefits an employer can provide.  Seems awareness is the first hurdle for Caregiven; what other marketing avenues are being considered besides employee benefits presentations to build exposure for the firm’s services?”

CS           “One of Caregiven’s values is to reach those individuals who need it, when they need it, in as frictionless a way as possible.  Therefore we are going-to-market as an employee benefit because there is such a gap in the services offered to employees caring for an aging or ailing loved-one.  Caregivers themselves suggested this channel as one of the first entities impacted by their new family caregiving obligations and proclivity they have to trusting benefits provided by their employer.”

Build the tool as a soft benefit an employer provides and build from the employee community aspect one can get from one’s employer and leverage the organizational and prompting aspects an application can provide a family caregiver.  That’s the firm’s unique approach.

Kiwi Insure

Per Kiwi Insure’s founder, Evgeny Aleksandrov, “Insurance is hard. It’s hard for customers because it’s poor experience, confusing and prefer to not think about. It’s hard for insurance companies because it’s expensive to sell, takes long time and often times the ultimate customers are not clear.  Using analytics to distribute with personalized offers at the time the product is most relevant to the customer and the design innovative products that fit people’s lifestyle.”

DF           “Kiwi Insure provides a variety of covers- are they all indemnity-based, or are some simply triggered by an occurrence?  Kiwi has an insurance partner; is Kiwi an MGA, full stack carrier with rei backing, or other?  Is the insurance partner also assisting with claim handling and severity spikes?”

EA           “Kiwi offers product that fits people lifestyles. They are easy to understand, fit for purpose, and on-demand. We currently focus on offering individual indemnity accident / injury product that insured can turn on/off whenever they need it most. Kiwi acts as an agency passing on the capital risk to our carrier. Our carrier assists with claims.”

Clever social media analysis that can prompt a customer to trigger cover for the ‘adventure’ period and can provide additional intelligent ‘nudges’ for cross sold products.  As a sort of MGA the firm’s utility to its carrier partner(s) is essentially prequalified leads.

Summary Medical

As many others have found there is a need to better organize medical records for use in many healthcare or insurance tasks, including wrestling the demon of unstructured data- both in volume and in accessibility.  Summary Medical’s founder, Clint Laskowski, has first hand knowledge of the challenges being an IT professional working with large life carriers.

DF           “OCR, NLP, and security/privacy protection are not entirely unique concepts.  What differentiation does Summary Medical provide that would be a discouraging barrier to entry for other firms with similar AI tech?”

CL           “With regards to the excellent points in your second question, I can’t get into specifics other than to say that we believe we have some advantages, but (1) we are not ready to share these yet, and (2) we see a bright future in the application of NLP and ML when it comes to understanding unstructured data.”

I like the no-answer answer- confidence in the pursuit, not yet at proof of concept but cognizant that at first blush the idea appears to be more of the same.  Looking at the three words, “understanding unstructured data” hints at the firm not only organizing medical records/data, but doing it in a manner leveraging NLP and ML such that the access software provide an optimized search tool that is superior, less costly, and faster than competition.  How they look in the Fall of 2020 will tell.

The other firms in the cohort, Gerald Technology (Ola Okeshola), Udo Test ( Allison Martin ), and InsureVite (David Yeng ) had not had time to finalize their responses to the DF questions prior to publication, but it’s certain the answers would have ‘fleshed out’ the short pitches the firms’ founders provided in the virtual presentation.  I recommend watching the pitch video to get an idea of what projects the GIA found meaningful, and the projects that some major carriers found useful to support.

Credit is to be given the GIA and the cohort for adapting to the virtual environment needed to complete the session, and for the successful virtual pitch finale.  Whether the startups’ respective success carries on to integration into the insurance and customer service environment- that we will all wait to see.

What is certain- innovative ideas will carry on past the immediate COVID-19 period.

 

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Insurtech Front Page Weekly CXO Briefing – Prospect, a preview for 2019

Prospect

The Theme last week was a review for InsurTech in 2018.

The Theme this week, at the beginning of 2019 is Prospect, a preview for 2019. What trends have the potential to impact future market? Which startups should you pay attention to? Let’s find out.

For more about the Front Page Weekly CXO Briefing, please click here.

Incumbents embracing InsurTech is a common theme in our posts. This time, it’s about customer engagement.

Story 1: 10 insurtech predictions for 2019: XL Innovate

Extract, read more on Digital Insurance:

“XL Innovate are watching all of the InsurTech developments and trends closely and expect to see a number of exciting changes occur in 2019. Here are 10 predictions for the coming year.”

Predictions include tech giants’ potential expansion in InsurTech, technologies like AI and blockchain going different directions, influences InsurTech gradually imposing on insurance etc.

Story 2: 10 insurtech start-ups to watch out for in 2019

Extract, read more on Bobs Guide:

“The global insurance market has remained more or less untouched by philosophical shifts for decades. Yet thanks to a flurry of recent tech innovations, an influx of investment from venture capitalists and sky-high demand for bigger, better and faster insurance products, the sector is now engulfed in a proverbial evolution.

That evolution has been driven largely by a fresh crop of insurtech start-ups racing to leverage a variety of blockchain technologies, machine learning techniques and revolutionary product lines in order to squeeze out savings that can be subsequently passed on to customers and create an ecosystem of more efficient insurers.”

Well-known names like Lemonade and Metromile are included in the list as well as relatively new ones such as CyStellar and Ins For Renascence.

Story 3: 5 Insurtech Questions for 2019

Extract, read more on Medium blog:

“The return of investment market volatility could make 2019 a year when what life and annuity issuers really want out of information technology is stability.

When the environment is calm, insurers may dream of fancy tech worlds of tomorrow.

When the ground is rolling like waves on the ocean, insurers may cling to any tech systems that can help them stay upright as banks, securities brokers, asset managers, and poorly anchored insurers blow past.”

The questions have been repeatedly asked since the emergence of InsurTech. Answers varied from different insurers and startups. You didn’t thrive because you made the right answer, you know the answer is right because you thrived.

Once again, it’s time to set yearly goals. Do you still remember your goal one year ago? Set your goals, share with us, consult us, let DailyFintech help you see the future more clearly and achieve your goals!

 

Zarc Gin is an analyst for Warp Speed Fintech, a Fintech, especially InsurTech-focused Venture Capital based in China.

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