In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that consumers have become a lot more comfortable with shopping online. And, while digital payments and eCommerce firms have benefited from this trend, a lot of opportunities have also emerged outside of these spheres.
One industry that sees more latitude for growth is the embedded insurance sector. Dave Brune, the new president of the Americas at Cover Genius, told PYMNTS that embedded insurance would be a big trend in digital commerce precisely because it’s what consumers want.
“Embedded insurance [gives] retailers the ability to integrate insurance solutions within their existing [products, which will] ultimately increase customer lifetime value and loyalty,” Brune told PYMNTS in an interview.
When he joined Cover Genius in June, Brune said his new company is “destined to reshape the future of insurance distribution.” Cover Genius will do that by meeting consumers where they are, he said, giving them a more frictionless experience.
“The bottom line is that it’s all about convenience in terms of online experiences,” Brune said. “It’s about going to one place instead of two. They just want to be met at where they are.”
As more people transact online and become comfortable sharing their personal information, there’s a huge amount of data available for InsurTech firms, like Cover Genius, to tap into. And although it may come as a surprise, consumers actually want that data to be tapped, Brune said. He cited a recent study by PYMNTS and Cover Genius that found that 70 percent of digital bank customers and 44 percent of traditional bank users actually want embedded insurance offers based on transaction data.
“There is an opportunity to mine that transaction level data … to be able to solve the challenges of risk transfer,” Brune said. “With our embedded insurance model, we can offer a two-way value exchange for customers and the brand. Customers are better protected and brands build customer lifetime value.”
Brune identified mobility as one area that’s ripe for these kinds of data-based insights.
During the pandemic, people realized they were paying a lot of cash for a 12-month car insurance term with 12,000 miles when, in reality, they only drove around 2,000 miles. Now, customers ask for more flexible policies that pay for their experience and usage rather than a flat mileage number they may never meet.
Previously, insurers were wary of doing this because they believed they wouldn’t get enough of a premium to cover their losses. But, Brune said, with the influx of data, it’s now possible to do this.
“There are ways [to price it properly so that you don’t get burned, if] you’re targeting the most profitable segments [discovered through] data analysis,” Brune said. “On top of that, you’re making the consumer very happy because [they’re] paying for what they [want and] need.”
Brune spoke of the potential of data in commercial lines, saying it’s an area that continues to evolve as its customers expand into new businesses. What’s unique with this, he said, is that often companies aren’t even aware of what their risks are. Data analysis can help determine what kinds of hazards new businesses face, allowing insurers to respond with new commercial line products offered as a service, Brune explained.
Cover Genius’s partnership with Intuit is a good example of this, which embeds insurance directly into some of its most popular offerings.
“We partnered with them to offer QuickBook customers a range of insurance products to protect themselves and manage their risks,” Brune said. “Previously, [small businesses] would buy something from a business like Intuit, and then they would go and buy a commercial line of coverage from a traditional agent or broker. [We (Cover Genius) can embed it at the same time. What the market is looking for is a full suite of products. The business starts with a commercial general liability — the very basic policy — and depending on what that small business owner does, the insurance could range from E&O coverage (Errors and omissions) to D&O coverage (directors and officers) to protect them as they grow. It could even be commercial auto insurance, but all of that needs to be embedded into the transaction in order for the customer to make a relatively informed decision.”]
You might also like: Embedded Insurance Helps Merchants Avoid The ‘Protection Gap’
Besides driving consumers online, the pandemic has further acted as a catalyst for other trends shaping the InsurTech space, most notably automation, Brune said. As always, it’s all about giving consumers more convenience by simplifying experiences.
Cover Genius has already worked with eBay, Wayfair and Booking.com to do this through instant claim payments based on automation technology.
“Anywhere you look along the value chain, customers are looking for automation,” he said. “We’re providing automation, even with commercial lines where claims get a bit more complicated and not quite so instant. It’s just going to keep on amplifying until all of the parts of the value chain in insurance are done digitally.”
Brune explained how automation could also help insurers in another key area they have traditionally struggled with, namely their reputation among sizable segments of consumers.
“More often than not we hear about poor claims experiences, with people feeling an insurer is out to get them,” Brune said. “The claims process is really your one opportunity to show customers you’re loyal to [them by actually] trying to help. [That’s where InsurTechs like ours can add significant value.”]