Enhancing Human Relationships Through Techology

With insurtech valuations surging in Q1 and Q2, we brought together three of our California-based thought leaders, to have them weigh in on innovation and industry topics driving decisions we make within our agencies, insurance companies and wholesale businesses.

 By Susan Hatten

Question 1: Behavior based price modeling is becoming more abundant in the personal lines space. Do you see behavior-based pricing impacting the commercial business, P&C space, if so – how?

Brian Hetherington: Yes – it is already happening with driving by the mile (Root, MetroMile) by modifying driving behaviors. It is riskier to turn left into oncoming traffic than right- right-right turns. Certain apps are helping modify behaviors for shared economy deliveries — taking breaks, not speeding, obeying traffic signals. Life insurers (for example, John Hancock) have offered special pricing for those willing to monitor healthy habits. With its Vitality Program, you can earn points and rewards for your health-positive lifestyle and use it to get cash back on your annual premiums.

If you’re a smoker, John Hancock’s Quit Smoking Incentive program can help you secure lower rates as you quit the habit. Companies like Make-U-Safe monitors employee environments to make sure they are in safe working environments. As data becomes annualized, carriers may make decisions to provide pricing based on using these types of wearables. Oura ring is another data-analytic wearable that will help manage health costs through sleep, activity readiness and temperature.

Question 2: What are your predictions on the risks of the future, creating a need for additional coverage and risk mitigation?

Brian Hetherington: The ability to “see around corners” will help predictive analytics and accident avoidance. Leveraging data to make our clients and employees “super-human” will also be leveraged to help our clients become better risks over time.

Garrett Koehn: Currently, crypto is a hugely growing space and it is widely underserved within insurance. We have all heard about the risks of crime with crypto assets being lost or stolen and carriers are usually uncomfortable with most types of “crypto companies” due to these headlines. Yet, the potential reshaping of the international financial world with decentralized crypto assets and the Defi movement, in particular, cannot be ignored.

Exchanges, lending companies, and even insurance companies structured in a decentralized, crypto-backed, borderless model will continue to become more common. Regulation is complex as international boundaries, and central authority becomes antiquated. Liability, similarly, becomes complex as ubiquity grows. Therefore, new insurance products will need to be developed to protect the entities, investor interests, and specific projects.

Brian Hetherington: As technology becomes more ubiquitous with insurance — insurtech should be seen as a “cooler” place to develop a career. It looks like taking data and putting it into action can help people live better, more successful and happier lives. Who doesn’t want that? ABD has engineers developing next generation technology to help us take care of our clients and employees. BrokerTech Ventures helps bridge that gap with BTV Labs, and insights about the future of our business with next-gen start-ups.

Andy Barrengos: While I think the next generation of talent will lead using some similar approaches to the current leadership generation, I believe many will be different. One key difference will be in more effectively leveraging the knowledge, experience, and ideas of team members throughout our organi- zations to develop better solutions for a variety of needs. Our teams represent an under-utilized innovation resource which will be critical to innovating impactful solutions to needs we can anticipate and those we cannot. BTV’s “labs” concept is experimenting with this by building a group of innovation thinkers within member firms to road- test a variety of ideas and POC’s (proof of concepts). This is to accelerate both solutions and, probably more impor- tantly, the develop innovation skills and muscle at scale.

Question 4: Where do you see the greatest opportunity for collaboration between the broker and insurance company/wholesale relationship? How and when does insurtech play into this collaboration?

Brian Hetherington: Working with BTV has really helped us see that there are a number of innovative, forward thinking, altruistic companies that are working together for the benefit of the whole industry: brokers, carriers, service providers, technology companies and partners.

Andy Barrengos: I think bringing more simplicity, ease of use, and efficiency to our delivery systems is one of the most impactful areas of collaboration for insurers and brokers in the retail and wholesale channels. While technology, and InsurTech specifically, are a critical part of this opportunity, collaboration between risk providers and advisors in the insurance ecosystem will create better and longer lasting improvements. BTV is one example of how collaboration among these constituents can work quickly and effectively by providing a venue for brokers and insurers to collaborate with InsurTech firms and one another to address many complex issues like inefficient delivery models.

Garrett Koehn: Collaboration in insurance is nothing new. Collaborators built the insurance industry, filling a need for shared and syndicated risk spread amongst multiple players. Today cooperation is prevalent between our market players as brokers and insurance companies design the best ways to incorporate technology into our process. For us (a sizable wholesale broker) technology allows us to leverage data and better connect with our trading partners. The most significant current opportunities may relate to these areas. Think about API integrations or AI for data analysis, underwriting, and client benchmarking. In working with Broker Tech Ventures, we can source technology companies that may help with these efforts.

Additionally, we benefit from groupthink in that retail brokers and carriers who participate in the group can garner insight from our partners.

SUSAN HATTEN is chief operating officer of BrokerTech Ventures and oversees corporate and community engagement at Holmes Murphy. Prior to joining Holmes Murphy, Hatten led business development for a marketing communications and advertising agency for more than a decade. In addition to mentoring within the insurance industry through The Global Insurance Accelerator, CPCU and more, she dedicates much time to community involvement through fundraising and volunteering for several organizations. Hatten was named the 2017 Meredith Corp. Emerging Business Woman of the Year and is a member of the 2011 Forty Under 40 class by the Business Record, among others. Hatten is a graduate of Iowa State University. 

Learn more about BrokerTech Ventures at www.brokertechventures.com, or follow on Twitter (@BrokerTechVen), LinkedIn, or Facebook.