ITIJ: Tailoring Products Using Insurtech

Excerpt from an article originally published on in November 2018

David Kernek asks how insurtech startups and other disruptive advancements are helping the industry in its goal of providing tailor-made products to an ever more demanding customer

Do tech startups – the dreaded disruptors – have an inherent advantage in the travel and health insurance industry’s search for made-to-measure and add-on products? After all, they’re new, lean and unencumbered by the weight of accumulated experience that can stifle risk and creativity in large, long-established companies. Evidence presented at one of last year’s International Travel & Health Insurance Conferences (ITIC) by Spain-headquartered Coverontrip’s CEO Rafael Senén carried a warning for the sector’s big beasts. He noted that, while many insurers realised the market was changing, only 36 per cent believed that insurtech would disrupt it with new products and services in the near future, and cited a 2017 industry survey, which found that only one-third would be focusing on the evolving needs of consumers in 2018.

 “Most insurers,” Senén said, “are still selling the same policies as they did 20 years ago, but customer needs are changing, and tailor-made policies will be more sought after. If we do not start disrupting the industry, others surely will.

Rajeev Shrivastava, Founder and CEO of VisitorsCoverage, explained to ITIJ that the industry is on the road to greater policy personalisation – but adds a note of caution about its date of arrival. “Technology certainly has the capability to completely transform the insurance industry,” he said, “and in many ways we’re already starting to see this disruption. The growing interest in the insurtech industry is a prime example of this. Many aspects of the insurance industry are based on technology – such as data science and business intelligence – but I think there is a hesitance among key insurance industry players to harness innovative technology to its fullest potential. The insurance industry is just starting to receive attention in the startup world, both from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. This is disrupting a century-old industry, causing many of the key industry players to re-think their products and strategies. Overall, this is an exciting time to be a part of the insurtech industry. With so much potential to innovate and improve, change is inevitable. Consumers and the industry have a whole lot to gain. The more we grow technologically within the industry, the more companies and consumers alike will benefit.”

Data-driven technologies, he explained, are already allowing insurers to make better, more informed decisions more rapidly and efficiently than before: “These technological capabilities, along with artificial intelligence, certainly have the potential to help insurance companies create more customised products on an on-demand basis. It’s always been the strategy to create one-size-fits-all products that fit many different needs, but this strategy doesn’t work for everyone. With the help of technology, it’s within the realm of possibility that a few years down the road we could start seeing entirely customised insurance plans and benefits based on the unique and individual needs of each consumer.”

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