Innovating across the insurance value chain with insurtechs
Insurtechs are a relatively new area of development in the insurance industry. McKinsey defines insurtechs as tech-driven insurance companies that use modern technologies to provide coverage or to reinvent business systems. As explained by Investopedia, these companies can “include ultra-customized policies, social insurance, and using new data streams from internet-enabled devices to dynamically price premiums.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS) focused on this growing insurance industry niche in the recent online webinar Insurtechs: Innovating across the value chain through AWS Marketplace. During this webinar, I talk about how insurtechs address current challenges facing insurance companies. I was joined by Tyler Danielson, Chief Technology Officer, and Taylor Fay, Vice President of Product from FOXO Technologies, to discuss their experience and insights on the insurtech impact.
Top challenges in the insurance industry
There are a number of risks challenging insurance companies, some of which are specific to the industry or even the line of business, for example, life insurance versus property and casualty (P&C). Two risks typically highlighted by industry analysts are the lack of digital channels and products and the need for innovative approaches to identifying and pricing risk.
Insurance carriers must be digital. Their move towards digital interaction has been evolving to match customer expectations. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted the ability to meet with policyholders, get out to job sites, or conduct risk assessment or claims adjuster visits. This absence of in-person interactions has accelerated the need for both digital channels and innovative approaches to identifying risk.
Insurtechs across the insurance value chain
Across the insurance value chain, from sales and underwriting to customer service and claims to financial management, there are three broad insurtech categories:
- Creative carriers. With substantial involvement in the insurance space, they are full-stack, meaning complete in terms of the quote-bind-issue process for policies throughout the value chain. Some carry risk on their books, but most are reinsured or underwritten by incumbents.
- Data and analytics suppliers. These focus on data, emerging tech, and building analytics-driven software. This category includes artificial intelligence (AI) and data providers.
- Customer experience enablers. These help improve user experience. These solutions enable insurance underwriting as part of the sales process as well as aggregation portals to compare quotes. Also included are low- or no-code players providing accelerated application development and agility.
FOXO transforming life insurance with Unqork
FOXO Technologies is transforming the life insurance industry by helping underwriters decrease the time it takes to obtain a risk assessment by using noninvasive, saliva-based epigenetic testing. While a person’s genetics are fixed at birth, epigenetics are changeable and a factor of diet, exercise habits, alcohol and tobacco use, and other elements. Together, these epigenetic factors help identify risk.
FOXO wanted to build a quality and highly adaptable solution they could quickly bring to market. The company turned to Unqork, a no-code platform that fundamentally shifts how enterprises build solutions. The platform offers the toolsets and elements necessary to quickly and easily build and manage applications or complex workflows. Unqork is built with atomic design, a design system employing reusable components that can be assembled to create applications and solutions. This key to reusability enabled FOXO to apply the different modules it created to multiple purposes. And the no-code platform eliminated the need to write code from the building process. Without the requirement for experienced developers, FOXO was able to hire employees with a focus on potential over specific skill sets. The team focused on hiring adaptable and ambitious people that they believed would help them build adaptable and ambitious products.
After just six months, FOXO had a live demo of a life insurance quote, an application, and a policy administration system. With Unqork, FOXO estimates it was able to conduct twice as much work as a team of senior developers would writing code from scratch, and at a lower cost.
Coherent Spark makes TRUE 6x faster in building rate plans
TRUE is a leading provider of property insurance products to homeowners and small businesses in catastrophe-exposed regions of the United States. As a newly launched enterprise, TRUE needed to enter the market and grow rapidly while mitigating risk and cost.
The company discovered Coherent Spark, a cloud-based logic engine that converts complex business logic from Microsoft Excel models into application programming interfaces (APIs). TRUE had developed sophisticated pricing and underwriting models, but all that logic rested in spreadsheets. Spark first ingested the complex pricing model algorithm. It then chose the business product and underwriting logic in real time and created a logic engine connected with other platforms and systems.
TRUE reduced the time to build a sophisticated rate plan from six months to four weeks. The resulting rate plan effectively rated risk with a comprehensive, multi-factor calculation, and enabled agents to run accurate quotes in real time, from any device.
EXL enables underwriters to remotely assess properties
One of the largest residential property insurance providers in the US needed an efficient way to remotely assess property conditions. In order to set appropriate premiums, it wanted to be able to appraise roof conditions and gain accurate views of other property attributes. The company worked with EXL, a global analytics and digital solutions company, adopting its state-of-the-art Property Risk Analytics solution.
EXL uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and information extracted from high-resolution aerial imagery to produce roof condition scores and key performance indicators (KPIs) on numerous attributes. Insights provided included the detection of swimming pools and secondary structures, for example, trampolines, roof footprint and composition, and a continuous roof condition score.
EXL provided the underwriter the right intelligence to make better decisions about P&C insurance operations. Early results show an increase of $20 million to $40 million in revenue due to accelerated policies in force growth.
Insurtechs enable innovations throughout the insurance industry and more than 80 percent of these companies build their offerings on AWS. To learn more about insurtech solutions and real-life customer stories, watch the webinar Insurtechs: Innovating across the value chain through AWS Marketplace.
About the author
Siddarth Tickoo is an Insurance Segment leader for Technology Partners at Amazon Web Services. As part of AWS global partner management, Sid works with select technology partners focused on insurance, including high growth insurtechs in the no-code/low-code space such as Unqork. Before joining AWS in 2020, Sid spent a number of years at IBM in various roles in corporate strategy, consulting, and sales leadership, including working with carriers on innovation around customer experience and digital channels, as well as on blockchain use cases in the financial services industries. A graduate of Columbia Business School, Sid lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, and loves to play tennis and read history.