Insurtech- a portmanteau of the words ‘insurance’ and ‘technology’ was coined soon after the exponential growth of its elder sibling ‘Fintech’. While Fintech focused on technology to improve and automate the use of financial services, insurtech leveraged technology to drive advancement within the insurance industry.
Within the last decade, insurtech startups have led innovations focusing on almost all aspects of insurance leading to an exponential growth of the industry. The health insurance industry has become the fastest-growing segment in the non-life insurance sector, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23%, for the past 10 years.
When it comes to health insurance, insurtech has witnessed innovations in product, pricing, distribution, marketing, and claims disbursement. While distribution and sales innovations hold the largest share, technology to improve pricing, policy issuance, and underwriting are second in the lead.
That being said, this seems to be just the beginning of what can be called a transformational disruption in the health insurance industry. On one hand, this transformation will definitely impact the accessibility and penetration of insurance in India. But on the other, it will also make insurance more convenient for a digital audience.
That said, the above mentioned innovations have largely been restricted to the retail health insurance segment, thanks to players like PolicyBazaar, CoverFox, Acko, Digit and Star Health. The group health insurance, which includes employer-sponsored health insurance for employees, and that has 2X the lives covered compared to retail health insurance, has remained largely the same in the last two decades. Recently, insurtech companies like Collective Health and League in the US and Plum in India have focused on bringing innovation to the group health insurance market.
Here are 5 trends that will drive insurtech innovations in 2020:
5 Insurtech Trends In 2020
A common perception about insurance has been that it’s too complicated for non-industry folks to understand and navigate. Nearly one-third of employees don’t understand or know nothing about their health coverage. Even those who do, feel that they are not able to take complete advantage of the benefits provided by their employers. Insurance companies and startups are using technology to combat this issue.
From providing convenient online consultation to easy enrollment and claim procedures, insurtech is using a tech-first approach to make health insurance simple, transparent and convenient for your users.
Additionally, to improve the overall health benefits experience for consumers, insurance companies are moving towards holistic healthcare coverage that expands to mental health and well-being benefits too. As more and more insurance providers cover holistic benefits, employees also seek all-encompassing coverage from their employers. 57% of people say that if employers support their mental well-being, they’d feel more loyal, more productive and take less time off work.
Personalisation and Data
We produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day, globally. Companies across industries are making use of this data to provide customised recommendations and inputs. Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain them and 19 times more likely to be profitable, according to McKinsey Global Institute. That’s why like Amazon and Netflix are using data to provide customers with recommendations based on their behavior. Trends suggest that this approach will soon trickle down to the insurtech industry too.
Data can allow insurance companies to predict their costs and provide premium rates lower than usual based on workforce data of companies. For instance, data from wearable technology like fitbits can give providers information about the lifestyle of employees which they can use to determine rates, mitigate risk, and even prevent losses.
Additionally, this can allow insurance companies to recommend personalized benefits to different employees. For instance, a young employee can be recommended to take maternity and the newborn cover as an add-on to their health benefits, while a senior employee could cover pre-existing diseases from day-1 in their coverage.
Over the past decade, the share of web traffic from mobile has shot up by 222% with mobile accounting for more than half of the traffic in 2019. Now, 75% of smartphone users expect to get immediate information through mobile. As a result, trends suggest customers want to navigate their insurance policy, access their benefits and manage their claims through their cell phones.
As a result, insurtech is working towards developing mobile-first insurance technology that will allow companies to provide employees benefits that are accessible at their fingertips at all times, to enhance their experience.
Insurtech companies have already moved to a mobile-first approach and many have developed mobile applications for their users. Even at Plum, we’ve developed the Plum app which helps in quick enrollment and easy policy management for employees and well as HR managers.
Another pain point of the insurance industry is the lack of transparency and the slow process. Group health insurance plans, on average, take 2 weeks to get the initial quote, and another 4 weeks to go back and forth with the pricing negotiations. Even after spending 6 weeks, employers feel that they have not received a transparent price.
Automation can drive transparency into the process and even pace it up. It has been forecasted that AI’s first impact in the insurance industry would be related to improving efficiencies and automating existing customer-facing underwriting and claims processes. However, it has the potential to even identify, assess, and underwrite emerging risks and identify new revenue sources.
As this happens, employee benefits would become much more easier for companies to manage. At the same time, employees would enjoy a hassle-free claim experience.
Presently, the use of chatbots to guide users through the policy and benefits is just the beginning of the disruption that AI and automation are going to bring to the insurance sector.
There are two key drivers in insurtech at present: big insurance providers and insurtech startups. While the big boys are hungry to bring agility and transformation to their processes, young entrepreneurs are craving to reach a larger customer base. As a result, trends suggest extensive big-to-small collaboration that can be a win-win for both parties.
Another subset of this trend could be the growth of invisible insurance. The roots of this trend are already visible when you book a flight, wherein you have the option to opt for personal insurance at minimal cost at the time of booking. As technology progresses, benefits and insurance are likely to come as an embedded offering with various products and services wherein insurance companies collaborate with healthcare service brands to create this experience.
In The End
Research by Accenture states that 81% of insurers acknowledge that technology has become an inextricable part of the human experience. So, the effectiveness of all developments around insurtech can be measured only on the basis of their ability to enhance human experiences. In this post-digital era, all trends suggest that leaders in any field, including insurance, can succeed if and only if they build technology with a human focus. Once that technology is in place, we’ll witness a complete transformation in employee healthcare experience from what we see today. For companies that aim to stand out in the competitive market for good talent, keeping up with these trends and adapting these technological advancements will be crucial.