Eliminating insurance’s pain points
Insurance is going through a period of unprecedented innovation. Most major auto carriers are offering usage-based insurance option. Property insurers are deploying drones for claims. And all insurance companies are providing smartphone apps that allow customers to sign up for policies and engage with the companies at any time.
All of these innovations started as ideas. Of course, insurance ideas haven’t always resulted in great products. Often the funding, or the backing or the vision wasn’t there to develop useful technologies. And some early customer-facing technologies that seemed like good ideas didn’t take hold because the end user — policyholders — rejected them. (The first usage based insurance programs actually asked customers to affix hardware in their car, then plug it into a computer to upload driving data. Not exactly frictionless.)
Today, many of those stumbling blocks have vanished into the past.
Consumers asked their insurers to provide them with digital tools that expand the relationship besides just premium-for-claim. Executives heard them and tasked IT and other business areas with meeting the demand. And now technological barriers are almost non-existent — consumers even have their own telematics devices in their pockets, if not built directly into their car.
That’s opened the door for innovators to make a mark on insurance. In this issue, we’re profiling
20 of them. They are of two breeds. The insurance CIOs and other IT leaders within the carriers and the innovators and entrepreneurs leading the insurance technology startups, the “insurtechs.”
But if I had to pick a defining characteristic for an insurance innovator, it would be this: They are true believers in what Alex Timm, founder of Root Insurance, calls the “noble cause” of insurance. That is, innovators tend to come at the industry from the perspective of the customer. And for too long, customers have viewed insurance as a frightening, adversarial experience.
This new breed is proving that insurance can do more than collect premiums and pay claims. Michael Rudoy and Luke Cohler built Jetty around the pain points that they encountered as renters. Rooney Gleason and Greg Barats identified the Internet of Things as a key tool to reduce risk. And Scott Walchek’s Trov transitioned from a simple catalog of possessions to providing single-item insurance on demand. That’s how new thinking and advanced tech combine to shake up the world of insurance.
We’re also moving ahead. We’ve recently changed our name to Digital Insurance. We’re proud to be the only media brand focused squarely on insurance technology and transformation. The editors are committed to keeping the industry’s leaders and innovators up to the moment on the critical issues, ideas and trends that most matter to their business. As the year unfolds, we invite you to let us know how you think we’re fulfilling that mission.