Agent Efficiency, Analytics and AI Top Trends at InsurTech Week

Against the backdrop of the Global Insurance Accelerator’s 5th Annual InsurTech Week, nearly 200 insurance company executives, InsurTech startup founders, and industry influencers spent the better part of a week talking about innovation.

Conversation centered not only what innovation looks like today in the insurance industry, but how to bring more innovation to market in the future.

Held October 14-18 in the insurance hub of Des Moines, Iowa, InsurTech Week brought together founders from 17 invited startups, as well as mentors from the GIA’s insurance company investors, various venture capital companies interested in early-stage investments, program mentors, and cohort alumni. The invited startups applied to be a part of this week-long program during the summer and traveled to Des Moines from eight U.S. states, Argentina, Canada, Israel, and the U.K.

InsurTech Week offers these companies a unique opportunity to get in front of contacts that are willing to help them accelerate their position in the U.S.

In addition to the opportunity for InsurTech founders to engage with Iowa’s active insurance community, the week is always a place where industry trends become evident as well. A couple of the more prevalent trends and discussions worth noting included:

  1. The maturity of InsurTech solutions. InsurTech as a movement is still just barely out of kindergarten, but the maturity level of the solutions which startups are trying to bring to market is clearly on the rise. These companies are solving complex problems but must be careful now not to narrow too far. Specificity is undoubtedly important, but by becoming too focused on a particular process or even line of business, startups can easily diminish the universe of potential customers or ability of carriers to assign budget priority.
  2. The willingness of carriers to engage in pilots or proof of concept (PoC) projects. Insurance carriers across lines of business are actively looking for InsurTech partners with solutions to pilot. Satisfaction with “good enough” technology is waning rapidly and paying lip service to innovation without ever actually implementing anything is tiring for all parties involved. Therefore, carriers are coming off the proverbial bench in greater numbers to engage in pilots or PoCs leading to paying customer relationships with InsurTech startups.

In terms of emerging technologies under the microscope, this year’s InsurTech Week attendees were talking about agent enablement, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI).

  1. Distribution channels are more than an easy mark for InsurTechs. The death of the independent agent as the industry’s primary distribution channel has been seriously oversold. Carriers today are looking at technologies not intent on replacing the agent or broker in the value chain but enhancing the efficiency of the channel while reducing customer acquisition costs (CAC), automating manual processes, and opening doors to new markets.
  2. There is increased interest from carriers in investing in new data and analytics that can activate it. Having been locked into static models of data and delivery for decades, carriers are ready for something different and are investing in startups with solutions which provide new data from emerging sources in more consumable formats. Coupled with integrated analytics, the availability of more real-time data has an almost unprecedented ability to transform the accuracy of underwriting, fraud detection, and more.
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation are the new front lines of innovation. With innovation now fully funded and mandated at a board level for most carriers, attention quite naturally turns to AI and intelligent automation to better predict customer behaviors and preferences and to achieve operational efficiency. Unfortunately, to the aforementioned data investments, many carriers have dirty data which has been corrupted by multiple modernization initiatives, failed conversions, and manual data entry or imaging errors, and this situation must be fixed before AI can be truly effective.

However, as carriers continue to struggle with digital modernization initiatives, InsurTech companies without the ability to integrate easily into existing IT infrastructures will find it nearly impossible to gain traction.

Original article in Carrier Management: https://www.carriermanagement.com/features/2019/11/25/200762.htm

(Editor’s Note: AI vs. Intelligent Automation. While definitions vary, the author uses the term AI refer to software that can continuously learn better ways to mimic human behavior—intended to eventually replace humans. She views intelligent automation as being about using a combination of humans and technology to create the best possible workflows—working smarter, not harder.)

Startups invited to GIA’s InsurTech Week were: Aerialytic, Avolanta, Bell Analytics, Inc., BOUND, Breathe Life, DeepVisionAI, EasySend, HazardHub, InDoW Technology Company,KASKO, MākuSafe, Optimity, Protosure, Relativity6, Relay, Talage, Inc., UDoTest Inc. For more information on the 13 startups in this group with offerings for the property/casualty insurance industry, see related article: “Now Presenting: 13 InsurTechs for P/C Carriers to Know

18 GIA Alumni Companies Participate in 2019 ITC

InsureTech Connect 2019 (ITC) has grown to become the insurance industry’s biggest conference, bringing together more than 7,000 attendees. This year’s event kicks off on Monday, September 23rd, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

We are thrilled for the opportunity to support 18 of our alumni companies, comprising of 30 insurtech founders, CEOs, COOs and Heads of Sales, to participate in ITC programming this year. You can find a majority of the companies in the ITC exhibit hall (K39 – K53), where you can have one-on-one conversations to learn more about the solutions, as well as the industry problems these startuare solving. Additionally, you can schedule conversations with the founders through the ITC conference app.

Those alumni with kiosks include:

  • AuthorityData (2018) simplifies IoT data aggregation and analytics for insurance companies to operationalize programs that lower risks and improve customer relationships.
  • BriteBee (2019) is building technology to help insurance agents and carriers increase their digital exposure online and in search.
  • Cowbell Cyber (2019) offers a cyber risk and insurance observability platform for mid-to-large enterprises that aligns insurable threats to risk exposures by using deep learning techniques that proactively mitigate losses in the aftermath of cyberattacks.
  • everyday life (2019) offers a new way to think about life insurance, using a unique business model and technology to craft plans that deliver real financial security while saving 50-80 percent off the typical cost of insurance and empowering families toward greater prosperity.
  • FindBob (2017) provides a growth, transition and succession planning tool for financial advisors and insurance agents, utilizing machine learning and elements of gamification for asset protection.
  • Friendly (2019) delivers a platform with highly advanced OCR technology to help life insurance companies better automate claim resolutions which involve complex documents with handwriting and disparate data tables.
  • InsuredMine (2018) is an innovative technology company helping insurance agents enhance customer relationships through proactive engagement and communication.
  • Insurmi (2018) delivers a white-labeled, conversational interface platform designed to engage users online and generate quality leads for insurers.
  • JAUNTIN’ (2018) offers an on-demand platform that will transform insurance business by providing access to more data and giving customers more flexibility than ever before.
  • LVLFi (2018) gamifies exercise for individuals and works with insurers to develop programs which incentivize and reward healthy behaviors.  
  • Micruity (2019) is a fully digital marketplace to enable frictionless finsurance (financial insurance) transactions, such as deferred annuities, the first product of its kind.
  • RE-Sure (2017) is a blockchain-enabled, app-driven, smart insurance product designed for the on-demand economy.
  • SD Refinery (2019) leverages data science methodology with narrow AI core capabilities that include the ability to extract written data, analyze sentences word by word, transact by applying key data points, and load the data into a data warehouse or analytic dashboard.
  • ViewSpection (2017) a platform providing a transparent, collaborative method for agents and policyholders, as well as underwriting, claims and loss control departments, to share information and maximize service while preventing fraud.

Those alumni who are attending and participating in ITC but without a kiosk in the exhibit hall include:

  • InsuranceMenu (2017) a dynamic, data-driven platform geared toward local insurance agents, creating process efficiencies.
  • Pablow (2015) a turn-key solution enabling property managers and owners to create customized travel insurance websites in minutes, not months, along with specialized policies that can be sold before and “after final payment”, giving managers and guests much greater flexibility.
  • ProtectRisk (2018) a platform between insurance brokers and insurance underwriters in specialty commercial business insurance, simplifying the process to reach to the purchase and delivery of insurance coverage between all parties.
  • Prosper (2019) a company developing a solution to monitor and measure an individual’s epigenetics to address their unique health and wellness needs with customized content.

There are two opportunities to see our alumni in action. Cowbell Cyber has been selected as a top-three finalist to present at the Resiliency Challenge on Wednesday from 2:00-2:50 p.m. That same day from 3:40-4:15 p.m. you can hear from Roland Chan, CEO of Findbob, on a panel “Your Pilot is Doomed, And You Don’t Even Know It Yet”. 

Heading into selection for our sixth cohort and our Fall InsurTech Week program in October, the GIA has an established network of startups and stakeholders attending ITC. This conference is a great opportunity to connect with these amazing startups. Please reach out to GIA Managing Director Nicole (Cook) Gunderson at nicole@globalinsuranceaccelerator.com, or GIA Program Manager Megan Brandt at megan@globalinsuranceaccelerator.com, for more information or to be connected directly to any of the startups mentioned above.

See you in Vegas!