information. However, she expects
this to change as on-demand products
become more prevalent.
“Looking at mileage-based
insurance, such as By Miles specifically,
it’s actually older generations who are
most likely to save money, as the use
of their vehicles tends to decline. Our
job is therefore to not only create more
customer-centric products but also
highlight their benefits to everyone.”
Another Insurtech ready to partner
with long-established names is New
York-based Slice Labs, which in the UK
is working with Legal & General to
enter the homeshare insurance market,
recently announcing that XL Catlin will
use its insurance cloud services platform
to create the world’s first on-demand
cyber insurance solution.
“For our cyber product, we were
looking for a partner on the fintech
side, which dovetailed perfectly with
what Slice was trying to do,” said John
Coletti, head of XL Catlin’s cyber
“The premise of selling cyber
insurance to small businesses needs
a platform such as that provided by
Slice — we can get to customers in
a discrete, seamless manner, and the
partnership offers potential to open up
Slice Labs’ CEO Tim Attia added:
“You can roll up on-demand cover in
many different areas, ranging from
contract workers to vacation rentals.
“The next leap forward will be
provided by the new economy, which
will create a range of new risks for
on-demand insurance to respond to.
McKinsey forecasts that by 2025,
ecosystems will account for 30 percent
of global premium revenue.
“When you’re a start-up, you can
innovate and question long-held
assumptions, but you don’t have the
scale that an insurer can provide,” said
Attia. “Our platform works well in
getting new products out to the market
Slice Labs is now reviewing
the emerging markets, which
aren’t hampered by “old, outdated
infrastructures,” and plans to test the
water via a hackathon in southeast Asia.
COLLABORATION VS COMPETITION
suggest that the industry noted the
banking sector’s experience, which
names the tech disruptors before
deciding partnerships, made greater
“It’s an interesting correlation,”
said Slice’s managing director for
marketing, Emily Kosick.
“I believe the trend worth calling
out is that the window for insurers to
innovate is much shorter, thanks to the
banking sector’s efforts to offer omni-channel banking, incorporating mobile
devices and, more recently, intelligent
assistants like Alexa for personal banking.
“Banks have bought into the value
of these technology partnerships
but had the benefit of consumer
expectations changing slowly with
them. This compares to insurers who
are in an ever-increasing on-demand
world where the risk is high for
laggards to be left behind.”
As with fintechs in banking,
Insurtechs initially focused on the retail
segment, with 75 percent of business
in personal lines and the remainder
in the commercial segment. Those
proportions may be set to change, with
innovations such as digital commercial
insurance brokerage Embroker’s recent
launch of the first digital D&O liability
insurance policy, designed for venture
capital-backed tech start-ups and
reinsured by Munich Re.
Embroker said coverage that
formerly took weeks to obtain is now
“We focus on three main issues in
developing new digital business — what
is the customer’s pain point, what is the
expense ratio and does it lend itself to
algorithmic underwriting?” said CEO
Matt Miller. “Workers’ compensation is
another obvious class of insurance that
Jason Griswold, co-founder
and chief operating officer of
Insurtech REIN, highlighted further
opportunities: “I’d add a third category
to personal and business lines and that’s
there we see the biggest opportunities
for partnering with major ecosystems
generating large numbers of insureds
and also big volumes of data.”
For now, insurers are accommodating
Insurtech disruption. Will that change?
“Insurtechs have focused on
products that regulators can understand
easily and for which there is clear
existing legislation, with consumer
protection and insurer solvency the two
issues of paramount importance,” noted
Shawn Hanson, litigation partner at law
firm Akin Gump.
“In time, we could see the
disruptors partner with reinsurers
rather than primary carriers. Another
possibility is the likes of Amazon,
Alphabet, Facebook and Apple, with
their massive balance sheets, deciding
to link up with a reinsurer,” he said.
“You can imagine one of them finding
a good Insurtech and buying it, much as
Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods gave
it entry into the retail sector.” &
GRAHAM BUCK is a UK-based writer and
has contributed to Risk & Insurance® since
1998. He can be reached at riskletters.com.
On-Demand Insurance Serves Many Niches
App-based on-demand insurance turns on coverage with just a snap or swipe. Here are eight startups paving the way.
Trōv Inc. Trōv offers on-demand insurance for valuable
personal possessions like camera equipment, televisions,
smartphones, sports equipment, and even musical
instruments. Trōv is available in the U.K., Australia and
now in the U.S., beginning with Arizona.
Verifly Insurance Services Available in 49 states, New
York startup Verifly provides an on-demand insurance
product for drones weighing 15 lbs or less. The startup
has sold more than 35,000 policies in two years. Since
its launch, drone pilots have asked Verifly to arrange
coverage for their other jobs, such as photography,
construction work, house painting, DJ’ing, and more.
Metromile (U.S.) and By Miles (UK) offer insurance
coverage for drivers who are not driving frequently, with
transparent pricing based on the miles a user actually
Cuvva London startup Cuvva allows you to pay for just
what you use based on the exact number of hours or
days you’re driving. You can also insure yourself to drive
in any vehicle — such as a friend’s car — for durations as
little as a single hour.
Slice Labs New York startup Slice Labs provides a
tailored insurance offering for home-sharing hosts. Hosts
pay only for insurance equivalent to the guest’s length of
stay and the offering is available as a beta offering in 13
states for Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and FlipKey.
Sure Inc. New York startup Sure Inc. offers on-demand
renters’ coverage as well as coverage for luggage, collectibles,
smartphones, fine art and jewelry and pets. Notably, Sure
also offers small business insurance for general liability,
business personal property, and lost business income.
Digital Risks UK startup Digital Risks covers digital
businesses against loss due to employer’s liability, public
liability, professional indemnity, cyber liability, directors &
officers’ liability, content & equipment, commercial legal
protection, and media liability.
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