Here is a little Q&A with AXA Partners UK&I Sales, Marketing & Innovation Director, Kelly Ward, looking at the UK insurtech landscape.
How successful has the investment in insurtech been in recent years?
There have been significant steps forward, but there are still teething issues when it comes to finding workable business models. Organisations need to find the right balance between putting the customer first and building profitable solutions – if a customer thinks they need a product then it’s worth developing, but if it’s a case of thinking there’s a cool piece of kit that should be brought to the market and you haven’t drilled down into customer perceptions, that’s where things can fall down. We don’t think hard enough to solve customers’ problems and that needs to change.
Look at Greggs as an example – they saw an increase in demand for vegan products and made small tweaks to their existing range to limit cost while still meeting customers’ needs. They are thriving at a time when the High Street is not, and it’s because they’ve got that balance right.
Do barriers still exist for consumers when it comes to insurtech?
In banking those barriers are breaking down. We’re seeing that customers are gravitating towards services and solutions with real practical benefits to them, including much easier to use user interfaces. It’s the same with API where you’re getting information that you should know anyway.
The catalyst is not having to ask the customer questions we should know already – for example, it’s reasonable for them to say; “you should have that information already from the claim I made two years ago.” We should be able to use the customer’s information that we gathered from previous interactions in a way that helps them.
Developments continue to be made in the connected home space, but has it stagnated?
Connected homes in the US have taken off, but in the UK it has been slower and more fragmented. Customer behaviour is changing slowly, but there is still resistance to the level of tech that is already on the market.
Home security is one area that is seeing progress – as the price point on video doorbells has dropped we’ve seen usability increase, but people aren’t ready for security sensors and fully-automated homes, and organisations need to consider that.
At the moment, there is a cycle of “too hard, too expensive and not relevant.” The tech is too hard to set up and deemed to be too expensive without delivering enough relevancy. People will do a price-benefit analysis based on the likelihood they’ll need the product versus how much it costs. For example, if your neighbour is burgled, having a connected home is likely to become far more relevant to you. That said, change is happening very quickly and as prices drop we’re likely to see an uptake as customers gain a better understanding of how connected home tech can help them.
What are some of the biggest trends in the connected home likely to be over the next decade?
With the advent of AI, things are going to change so quickly – organisations want to be able to provide value to customers and the amount they help them in their homes. It won’t be long before we’re seeing digital PAs in the home to wake you up in the morning and ask for permission to buy groceries or arrange for the car to get fixed.
It was only a few years ago that we were making lists of errands to run with pen and paper, and now Alexa is reminding people what they need to do. In Spain it is already possible to recharge a car from your home with a mobile car charger, and if you think about it, it is crazy that you still have to leave your home to fill up the tank. The food economy is a good example of how far things have come – if you had the money and lived in a relatively urban area, it is possible that you’d never even need to leave your home to eat. Everything is moving towards make people’s lives so much easier.