It’s been an eventful year, but especially so for insurtechs who have seen a sudden upswing in demand for online insurance services, new ideas and rapid solutions to existing problems.
IE caught up with Peter Goodman, CEO and Founder at Aventus, to find out more.
IE; Tech can really build a difference if it’s applied in the right way, what started you on the road to using technology to transform insurance?
PG; I wanted to build insurance products that used data and APIs in new ways, price insurance in a different way, and make it more customer-centric. The first part of the journey was Homelyfe, which was a great opportunity to offer cross-selling in an area where traditionally, there hadn’t really been any. You bought Buildings and Contents annually, and unless there was a claim, the insurer or broker never made contact until Renewal time.
In some ways, the technology didn’t exist to utilise data fully just a few years ago, plus we found there was a demand to develop new solutions and that’s how Aventus came about. Homelyfe was sold to enable us to focus time and energy into developing the Aventus Platform. It is designed for Managing General Agents (MGAs) who need to get to grips digitisation. Distribution is increasingly about data; how you gather it, stack it and make sense of it in pricing risks – and monetise it too of course.
IE: How important are partnerships in the insurance sector right now when it comes to developing new products?
PG: You know insurance is increasingly a range of niches within niches. Take car insurance, for example; it is so big that there are all kinds of strands to it now, it’s almost a separate industry on its own. Building partnerships is very important of course, but here’s a fact for you – some 79% of MGAs don’t use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, which for me is far more important than doing a deal with say five brokers or six insurers.
So, let’s say you are in the car insurance market somewhere. Whether you’re an insurer or MGA you have access to loads of data, and that data is getting richer, more layered every year. In some regards you can maximise that data through the right partnerships, could be driver behaviour from telematics, claims costs whatever. But having lots of data in different pockets doesn’t really add much value, the trick is to join it all up. The most important partnership of all is ultimately with the customer, because you want to be providing quotes, not asking questions.
This is why having a system that joins everything up, integrates the data channels and identifies potential opportunities to up-sell, or cross-sell, is the best way forward. Say you have a car insurance customer and they are in that sweet spot, we call it the insurance zone – it’s when they are motivated to do deals and get stuff sorted online – and so you want the data you need to offer better deals, more convenient products, right there on the page or app, whatever.
What you don’t need at that point is a slow process of asking for forms to be populated again with twenty questions, referrals to other partner sites where the consumer has to start all over again. That doesn’t work because people don’t want to be your data-inputters; they have better things to do.
IE: Are the biggest savings across insurance down to automating everyday processes then, like getting a quote on car, bike, home etc. insurance?
PG: In the future selling the right policy, at the right time, will be far more important than old fashioned annual policies. It comes back to consumers wanting a problem solved as easily as possible. That means automating as much of the opportunity as humanly possible. So, OK, you always have privacy and consent issues on data sharing, but if you can offer consumers power to find the answer to their problem quicker, they will most likely use it.
If you look at how insurers have coped with the change in mass commuting during the Covid pandemic, then you see a variety of approaches. Refunds are great for a driver that isn’t clocking up 1000 miles a month, but what else do they need? Home/Office or business use cover on a garage or outbuilding maybe, upgrading their home policy to cover new laptops, webcams, headphones? If you automate that offer then you’re adapting, learning, gathering data all the time.
Quotes not questions, that’s what it’s all about.
IE: Do you see voice devices like Alexa becoming more important as people would rather have a conversation than fill in 5 pages of data to get a car quote?
PG: Yes, new voice-activated technology can only enhance the customer experience. It’s in the early phase right now. But your policyholders should not be keying in data any more, and the opportunities that will naturally arise from consumers being connected by voice to brokers or MGAs are huge.
There is always a compliance issue of course, but devices like Alexa will definitely provide great engagement points in future. You have the customer’s full attention when talking – they want information, they want answers and initiated the chat – that’s all good. Plus you will be able to gain insights into where the extra value may be for the customers, and your partners too.
IE: What’s next for Aventus?
PG: So much has happened in a very short space of time. We now have customers in the UK, USA, and Australia. We made the Top 100 Insurtech listing this year, which is very lovely to see of course. Overall, we have done around 50 integrations this year, so it’s been very busy.
Aventus just launched in the Salesforce AppExchange too so companies can access a really powerful eco-system that boosts their marketing, empowers consumers with MTAs, admin and so on. We want to help companies modernise their offer because that really is the key to long term survival; building something that adapts quickly, sifts the value from data and helps you identify the new opportunities out there – because they ARE out there!
IE: Peter thank you.