It has been a busy 12 months in the insurance industry – a year of disruption, and far-reaching disruptors.
And while the global market has had one of its costliest years ever in the face of seemingly endless natural disasters1 (Hello Harvey, Irma and many more…), the industry just kept on innovating.
Here’s a look back at the year’s 5 key disruptors:
Lemonade – Ok, so they’re not in the UK – yet – but it seems everyone wants a sip of Lemonade. Already famous for their paperless policies, and their no-broker, chatbot-led approach, recent weeks saw an even more impressive coup: the promise that customers won’t face excess charges or premium increases when they make a claim.
The company calls it Zero Everything, and they promise it will change the way people think about making claims – allowing policy holders to go ahead and claim for genuine losses without having to work out if it’s ‘worth it’, or if the insurer will pay out.
As co-founder Shai Wininger says: “Many people experience anxiety before filing a claim, and in many cases just give up altogether. Filing claims should be a pleasant and reassuring experience. After all, claims are the reason why we all get insurance in the first place.”
And they may have only just revealed the real trick up their sleeve. The Lemonade API2 could see the quote engine integrated everywhere, from a third party website or app, to a physical point of sale – essentially, anywhere you buy something, you could get an instant quote to insure it.
Whether that makes for the ultimate convenience, or merely another annoyance, only time will tell…
Trov – Try as we might to remain more high-minded, the things we own can often end up owning us. That’s why the slightly abstract notion of home insurance, for example, or travel insurance, doesn’t necessarily get at the root of what we want to protect.
Particularly for younger consumers, it’s the individual objects; our phones, our tablets, our laptops which we fear losing. Unfortunately, they are precisely the small, valuable things we constantly risk by taking out and about.
That’s why Trov’s “new way to think about insurance”3 makes so much sense, offering an on demand approach to insuring individual items wherever you take them, with instant quotes on a pence-per-day basis.
Sweet Cover – While others already give back by donating some of their profits to charity, newly-launched Sweet Cover is actually set up as a social enterprise – meaning whatever they make above covering operating costs and claims goes straight to customers’ favourite charities.
Throw in the ubiquitous chatbot experience, and a promised super smooth quote and claims process, and they could be onto a winner.
Urban Jungle – With the level of renters aged 25-34 almost doubling over the last ten year4, young adults are living different lifestyles to their parents. This often means living in house shares, and typically not having the same level of insurance cover (or none at all) as someone with a mortgage.
Urban Jungle aims to solve this with policies targeted at young professionals, with flexible home insurance policies which include tenants’ liability. They’ve created a mobile-first quote experience, and customers can cancel at any time.
Wefox – After buying fully digital provider ONE in September, ‘concierge’ service Wefox helps consumers negotiate the buying process, providing recommendations – working with brokers and insurers on the customer’s behalf.
As ground-breaking as some of the others on this list? Maybe not – but one to watch, if it can marry the best of the old insurance world, with the slickness of the new.