After all the excitement of BIBA last month, Insurance-Edge thought it would be the right time to catch up with James Burton, Director of Product Management at LexisNexis. The insurance software specialist company were heavily involved with the Hackathon, plus had the chance to take the insurtech temperature at this flagship industry event.
IE: It was your first time there James, what was your impression of BIBA?
JB: Absolutely brilliant event, such a good opportunity to meet so many brokers and other people within the industry. The Hackathon was probably the stand-out feature for us, as it fits into the `sweet spot’ for us as a company. We had a team of three staff there and it was fascinating to watch the progress at the Hackathon – I wouldn’t have enjoyed being in that glass-walled room, so full credit to everyone working hard under pressure!
IE: What was the overall feeling at BIBA, is insurtech still the buzzword?
JB: It is, very much so. The challenge for brokers is to transform their business, especially from a customer perspective. Faster quotation process, better claims handling and underwriting experience – these are the things that policyholders want to see from the use of technology. As a company, we are always looking at how we can be disruptive with data and it was great to meet so many other people, working beyond IT or tech, who are also looking for the same thing.
IB: Is there a bit of a goldrush right now? We are seeing a flood of start-ups, lots of apps and new online platforms being built, but is the pace of change slightly faster than the demand within the market?
JB: There is the argument that much of transformation process is about improving, streamlining, what we already have. For example; using AI and data handling tech to enrich the point-of-quote process that we use right now is a sensible step to take. If you look at the way the industry holds a policy history right now, you can see that working out NCD and other risk factors can be made easier by using data to pre-fill online quotes.
The switch from paper records to digital is something that has saved brokers a lot of time and money, and the continued development of digital services will do the same in the future. If we are using insurtech to solve headaches for both brokers, and customers, then we are doing it right.
IE: Was BIBA a good event in terms of showcasing your products?
JB: Definitely. We have a new Risk Score product and it was good to explain how that works in some detail to potential customers. As everyone knows, sharing data to help pre-fill quotes is very useful, but there is so much more locked within that data. Now most brokers will use a financial score tool to help assess a new policyholder, bit a Risk Score is different because we can help them look at things like number of previous quotes online, how many policies cancelled, and within what timeframe. Then there’s more granular features, such as how many times an occupation, or named driver detail was changed and then the online quote re-submitted.
IE: Ah, so it can spot if someone is trying to `game’ the system by putting in say ten different job titles from the drop-down menu, to see if that reduces the price?
JB: Exactly. The job does make a big difference in many cases, plus when it comes to named drivers we have seen quote session histories where up to 100 different names have been submitted.
IE: A hundred named drivers?
JB: Yes it is unusual to see that number, but it’s common to see three or four names being tried out at a particular address. So that’s just one way that our Risk Scoring Tool can help brokers and underwriters spot patterns within a quotation history. It’s an extra layer of information that goes beyond a claims history, or a postcode. Having that type of holistic data – a more in-depth view – can help you right at the point of policy inception.
IE: The named driver scenario, sometimes called `fronting’ has been a long standing problem within the industry, how can we solve it?
JB: We have a Named Driver Module, because offering the sort of rich data history on a named driver, to the same depth as we can research the main policyholder, is something that remains a challenge for the industry.
Our product lets brokers, online comparison sites, or underwriters track the history of named drivers; how many times they have been submitted, when and where, if covered how often did they cancel within 30 days etc. It looks back 90 days, so anyone can get a really detailed snapshot of that named driver activity.
IE: Interesting stuff James. Finally, in an American style, what was your takeaway from BIBA?
JB: Listening to the keynote speech from astronaut Chris Hadfield was one of those inspiring, and humbling moments. He was describing training at NASA with a guy who had served in the US Navy, qualified as a doctor and undergone NASA training – all by the age of 26! Makes you realise we could all work a bit harder.
IE: Very true, cheers James.