2016 was the year of Fintech startups, with global Fintech venture investments reaching USD 17.4 Billion according to PitchBook. Payments companies accounted for almost 40% of these capital injections. Insurtech, Fintech’s newborn little sister refers to companies who use technology to enhance the way insurance products are designed, administrated or distributed.
Insurance is a very old business, one of its earliest accounts was recorded in the Code of Hammurabi (1 750 B.C.). The Babylonians developed a system where a merchant received a loan to fund his shipment for an additional premium in exchange for the guarantee that if the shipment was stolen or lost, the merchant’s debt would be cleared.
The insurance industry has changed very little in the past few centuries. Recently, following the success of Fintech startups, tech-oriented entrepreneurs have started to focus on how they could improve how risk is calculated, how policy servicing could be automated and how products can be distributed in a more logical way.
Insurtech, a combination of the terms “insurance” and “technology”, was born.
As a consequence, startup entrepreneurs with limited initial financial means are starting to rub shoulders with the big industry players, and that’s good news for the end consumer.
Finding the right insurance plan 2.0
The days when you sat down with an insurance agent in his office and had to rely on his best recommendation are soon to be over.
And South East Asia based startups might become the trend setters. Ehealthscanner, a Vietnam based insurtech startup counts on revolutionizing the way expatriates choose, apply and are serviced during the lifespan of their health insurance policy.
How it used to be done:
Insurance comparison websites aren’t new. But most of them are just non-innovative click generating platforms used insurance companies to get new prospects. Historically the workflow would go as follows:
– Users search, compare different health insurance plans and manifest their interest in a plan by filling a contact form
– Users are called back on their phone a few hours later by a call center representative. It’s improbable that they are still online, ready to review their interest’s documentation.
– Users receive and email with a pdf application they need to print, fill up, scan, send back to the insurance company.
At no point have the users benefited from an agent’s service. They have merely been given a phone call to make sure they would be purchasing a product.
How it should be done:
For ehealthscanner, it’s all about combining the service of a physical agent with the advantages of an online platform:
– Users search, compare different health insurance plans
– Users can video chat and co-browse with an agent directly through the web app without having to download 3rd party plugins
– Once they have chosen the appropriate insurance plan according to their needs and received appropriate clarifications, they are sent an electronic application link.
The workflow is now fully automated and a process that used to take days can be done under an hour whilst empowering the user to have full control and to receive a better service. Expatriates can now have a single point of contact no matter where life takes them. All they need to do is head to ehealthscanner.com and ask for a session with an agent.
What’s next for insurtech?
The sky is the limit. Innovations have no boundaries as new lines of insurance come out, products become increasingly personalized and distribution fully automated. Artificial intelligence, peer to peer insurance are only a couple of the terms that start to resonate on a daily basis in the industry.
Jeremy Hubert – Co-founder of ehealthscanner, a BML Services platform.
Featured on CCI France Vietnam