How many times have you spent a significant percentage of your day searching your company’s database for one small, yet critical piece of information? How many times have you been hours into a cumbersome search and thought, “Does it truly have to be this hard?”
If you have ever negotiated with me, you know that I start at a central point: what is fair? My contract law professor would laugh at me right now; she declared on the first day of class that there is no such thing as "fair." I disagree. I believe that in life and business, we all have a sense of fairness. Whether we choose to follow that sense is the question.
What would you do if you could go to Google.com and search for insurance clauses and policies?
I've been reading about the history of insurance to understand how we got here. Here's a quick story from one insurance book.
There once was a membership association called the American Insurance Underwriters (AIU). The AIU acted as an agent for member insurance companies in international markets. Each member insurance company held a percentage of the AIU pool by which payments and liabilities were assigned.
In the 1960s, an insurance company and AIU member bid on a contract to insure a large church in Boston. But the insurance company didn't bid the insurance like everyone else. Instead, the underwriting team created a tailored contract with its own rate calculations, "rather than the standard forms and prices other (AIU) insurers had agreed to use."
The incumbent insurer was not pleased:
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It's been a good ride over the last year for the insurance technology ("insurtech") community. In 2015, insurtech raised over $2.6 billion. In the first quarter of 2016, insurtech broke a record for money raised.
And yet, I am looking at the companies that are emerging from these fundraise events, and I keep thinking, "Really, that's it?"
There have been some outliers. Lemonade and other peer to peer companies are interesting to me because they have an opportunity to create fundamentally new technology that connects people and just happens to also provide insurance through the connection. I am still awed by the magic of Uber and I hope a Peer to Peer company can replicate that experience.
But when it comes to other insurtech innovations emerging with funding rounds -- well, I am a bit underwhelmed. I call these companies the Aggregators and the Process Improvers.
I was recently thinking about the dilemma faced by many insurance agencies when an image popped in my head: