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Last May 28th some of us were fortunate enough to attend a very interesting event about the Insurtech world at Barcelona’s Pier01, courtesy of Barcelona Tech City. During this session, Oscar de Paz and Nieves Malagón from AXA talked at length about the importance of undertaking an innovative strategy in the insurance sector, using their own experience with the AXA Opensurance program as a point of view, which rests upon four main pillars: new business models, new distribution models, user experience and the job’s future.
It’s easy to see what “provoked” the birth of Insurtech as a concept: the impossibly fast technological evolution we’re experiencing right now, the emergence of the Internet of Things and the new economic models, like the collaborative economy. These last two factors open up a whole new world of insurance needs that didn’t exist before, hence the need for a technology that’s up to the task.
There’re lots of new possibilities in adopting these new technologies for insurance companies. They now have a huge array of data about their clients at their disposal almost instantaneously (and periodically): health condition, driving habits, how frequently they use different products. . . all of this data allows the companies to better assess the risk of each client individually, considerably improving each product’s efficiency. Moreover, with Insurtech it becomes much easier to prevent potential scams. The use of technology would let the company know almost every single detail about an accident (time, place, number of passengers. . .) allowing for a never before seen level of service optimization.
All of these new possibilities come with an equal amount of challenges and technological necessities that might “scare” these insurance companies, so a way many of them have sought out is to acquire/ally with Insurtech Startups to bridge the technological gap and have an easier and more efficient access to these technologies: A.I, Blockchain, IoT, Big Data. . .Many of these startups are working with said technologies on a daily basis, and that allows big insurance companies to get up to date without having to completely modify their internal structure.
This is precisely the path chosen by AXA with their Opensurance program, one which allows the company to collaborate with these emerging talents. During the event they told us about their experience collaborating with startups, a journey they started back in 2015. To give these ecosystem of startups a “face”, so to speak, three representatives from startups participating in the Opensurance program were invited to participate in the event and explain their product and their journey so far:
Hunab Moreno, Managing Director at Mobike España explained his company’s model of eco-friendly mobility, created to reduce congestion, reduce our cities’ carbon footprint and, of course, make your urban short trips easier and healthier. Simply pick up a bike and leave it at any time and at your own convenience. A model that allows cities to be greener, our daily commutes shorter, and everything with the ease of usage as a main focus.
Cayetano Ortiz, CMO at Vidahorro introduced their business model, which is a pretty peculiar one: If you buy something at one of their associated companies (more than 100), you’ll save about 10% of that import on your pension plan. All of this under AXA’s umbrella.
Helpflash is based on a single product offering a solution for what they perceive as a problem: the use of current signaling systems when you have an accident or a mechanical fault with your vehicle is not considered safe or efficient enough, and can’t be used by people with reduced mobility. Helpflash is a flash light, visible at 1KM & 360º which usage couldn’t be any easier: grab the light and put it on the roof of your car. As simple as that.
What’s in store for the future of Insurtech?
The event ended with a debate among all participants which made it all the more apparent that there’s still a long road ahead in the Insurtech world. The speed at which new products and business models are launched imply a constant challenge for insurance companies, and being up to date to answer all these needs will no doubt become one of the main goals of these big companies.
This huge array of possibilities is perfectly summarized by AXA when they defined the Top 11 Insurtech Trends we need to keep an eye on. Just to name a few:
Insurance of Things
A mixture of “Insurance” and “Internet of Things”, a pun that makes its meaning fairly easy to guess. Thanks to the “intelligent prevention” there’ll be a chance to gather lots of data through the objects’ sensors and anticipate potential accidents, maybe even avoiding them.
On Demand Insurance
Digital culture has given birth or magnified certain lifestyles, like collaborative economy, through which we share resources with others. These new lifestyles bring new challenges that’ll have to be accordingly tackled, something that’s already being worked on.
Kind of related to the last item, these people sharing a similar lifestyle have the chance to band together and mutualize the risks they’re exposed to.
Insurance for all kinds of products you use on your daily routine, independently of their value.
This rise in the digitalization and connectivity between objects and people brings forth new and bigger risks, like cyberattacks. Insurance companies are also adapting to these new challenges.