By Chris Kay · March 28, 2022
7 minute read

Insurance Innovators Nordics: Three new kinds of insurance

FintechOS will be at Insurance Innovators Nordics on the 30th-31st March in Copenhagen.  Find us at the Leaders’ Forum, where you can listen to our CEO, Teo Blidarus, share his thoughts on insurance innovation. In the meantime, read what Chris Kay, our sales director for general insurance, has to say about the future of insurance.

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In my previous article in this series, I wrote about the need for a new kind of insurance to win back customer faith in the industry. Personalized, digital experiences that provide exactly the value that consumers are looking for. 

It’s all very well to talk about insurtech, but we sometimes forget to look at the reasons why it’s important, what it can actually do for customers and corporations to make insurance better. Not to mention, by looking into the far future, we often forget that this insurance is being utilized by your competitors right now. 

Chris Kay

So, in this article, I want to look at three kinds of innovative insurance that are on the market today and thriving. One looks at insurance on a bigger scale, one in smaller detail, and the last as part of the digital e-commerce landscape. 

What all three have in common, however, is the need for the right technology to implement them, which I will cover later on in this article, but first, let’s look at three types of innovative cover: 

1 Parametric insurance 

Parametric insurance is a direct response to the number of large-scale natural disasters the world has faced in the last few years, including COVID-19. In the age of automation, when a large-scale catastrophe happens, there’s no need to wait to assess every individual claim. 

Parametric insurance utilizes advanced AI technology to identify when an event is causing a large number of claims and will automatically pay out up to a set reserve to provide instant relief to customers and win their loyalty during their time of need. 

It’s the modern equivalent of Cuthbert Heath of Lloyds telling his underwriter to “pay all of our policyholders in full, irrespective of the terms of their policies” in response to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, cementing Lloyds’ reputation for over a century. 

2 Micro-insurance 

The world is moving at a fast pace. Technology is no longer built to last, people change careers annually, and our lives are transitory. The very concept of an annual insurance policy seems unwieldy and outdated. 

So, why not take a tip from travel insurance that can be taken out per trip? Allow consumers to take out car insurance for a single long drive in a friend’s car, property and casualty insurance for a weekend stay at an Airbnb, a pause in commercial insurance payments during lockdown, or retro-active pet insurance to cover a single emergency operation across installments. 

This allows cover to flex and adapt to consumer needs in their day-to-day lives as they happen, taking insurance from a simple annual administrative task to an essential tool for modern living.  

3 Embedded insurance 

With insurance going from a simple yearly expense to a service you expand and adapt as called for, it becomes just a part of your everyday life. Imagine your insurance app being used like Netflix, Uber or Deliveroo – something you open daily to purchase additional services from. 

When you book an Uber, do you also call around other taxi services to see if they’re cheaper? Do you keep track of how much you’re spending on Deliveroo and consider deleting the app to cut your costs? Do you think twice about renewing your Netflix subscription, even if it goes up by a dollar a month or you need to add additional services? 

These services fade into the background of your daily life to such an extent that, even if you could easily make do without them, you wouldn’t even think about any alternative. 

These ‘ambient’ services are the new reality of e-commerce and it’s time that insurance joined this market by providing embedded digital insurance services that do far more than just pay out in case of a claim. 

Imagine billing for a tailored level of cover as a monthly subscription, with additional monthly or one-off services. This is the future of insurance, and all you need to access it are two essential things: 

  1. Technology 
  2. Partnerships 

The catch 22 of insurtech 

This is where the “catch 22” comes in. To be an innovative insurer, you need to take advantage of the latest technology. However, the latest technology may not be compatible with your legacy tech. Still, upgrading those established systems is too complex and expensive without the boost you would receive from offering innovative services. 

This is where insurance is stuck in an endless cycle. The only solution is for insurers to escape tech debt by finding a way to offer innovative digital products without the need for a full digital transformation. That’s the vision that guided us when we built our Northstar digital insurance platform. 

Northstar bridges the gap, allowing you to offer innovative digital insurance products before you go through a digital transformation. That isn’t the end, though. 

Once Northstar is integrated, digital makers can create and launch the next wave of innovative products, then the wave after that, and so on. That doesn’t mean you give up on your digital transformation, it just means it’s no longer a barrier to insurance innovation and you can transform in your own time, within your own budget, for your convenience, funded by sales of your new digital offerings. 

Remember above when I said that insurtech startups were benefitting from lean structures and a lack of red tape? Too often, launching innovative products is slowed to glacial pace by old-school Waterfall methodology and a reliance on technical teams to implement changes they have no incentive to push through. 

Using our no-code/low-code interface, you can handpick a small team of creative digital makers to design your next range of innovative products that they can build and launch themselves without relying on technical teams and slow development processes.  

Freed from outdated technology and old-school processes, you can launch new products in days, rather than months or years. Suddenly, you’ll be keeping pace with the lean startups you previously couldn’t see for dust. 

Partnerships 

“The threat to incumbent insurers is much overdone. They have a lot of money and, if they really feel threatened by something, they’ll buy it. That’s why partnerships are completely the key.” 

Robin Merttens, co-founder, InsTech London, at FintechOS Leap 2021 

Partnerships is the key to the insurance market. To regain customer trust, you need to offer more than just cover, and you can only do that by partnering with vendors for other services. 

Not to mention, partnerships with third parties allow you to offer insurance through new channels, such as bancassurance or super apps like WeChat, Revolut or, perhaps, Klarna in the near future. Lastly, partnering with nimbler players lets you access areas of the insurance market that were previously closed to you. Ambient insurance allows for merged streams and joint initiatives, so you can stay relevant and increase your share of wallet. 

Once again, the key here is technology. Always has been. 

To connect with partners in the digital space, you need to be able to integrate your products into other customer journeys, and vice versa, using application program interfaces (API). This can only be achieved with cloud -native technology of the kind that Northstar will unlock for you.  

The future of insurance 

So, to sum up: the future of insurance is a new model. One that’s bigger, but also smaller. One that’s vital to consumers, but they barely have to think about. One that’s as high-tech as the latest startup, but doesn’t rely on a digital transformation.  

It’s not going to be an easy journey, but with the right tools, we’ll all be able to transition into the future of insurance. That’s why we founded FintechOS: to provide the tools the banking and insurance industries need to build the future of financial services. 

To find out more about what Northstar can do for your business, book a demo. 

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