Bradley Du Chenne, CEO at Hippo.co.za.
As with all industries, digital disruptions are rewriting the rules in the insurance business. These Insurtech innovations are changing how insurance companies service their existing customers and reach new ones, says Hippo.co.za CEO Bradley Du Chenne.
Consumers want great experiences and efficient service. In the digital age, they expect to find that everywhere – especially from their insurance companies.
‘Insurance – like all industries – has seen a huge shift towards digital solutions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ says Du Chenne. ‘Consumers now want providers with strong digital capabilities as opposed to liaising with multiple call centre agents in the claims process. In fact, a recent PwC survey found that 41% of consumers are likely to switch their insurance company in favour of one that’s more digitised.’
There’s a good reason for that. Insurtech innovations enable insurance companies to improve their operational efficiencies, with technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning bringing speed and accuracy to routine tasks like claims processing. Business analysts McKinsey found that insurance companies could potentially automate up to 60% of their back-office operations.
Endpoint devices powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), together with social media profiling, also help insurers to deliver highly personalised services. Telematic devices, for example, use GPS, motion sensors and on-board analytics to track driving habits, providing insurers with highly accurate user data.
Again, consumers are actively seeking out this kind of offering. A recent Accenture survey found that more than three quarters of customers would happily share their personal data to get cheaper risk coverage and personalised offers.
Yet a recent Deloitte survey found that only 4% of millennials are interested in working in the insurance industry. ‘This means that many – but not all – insurers just don’t have the technical skills within their workforce to implement these game-changing technologies, never mind come up with them,’ says Du Chenne. ‘And while those insurers are focused on enhancing risk and claims procedures and innovation in product development, it’s providing an opportunity for other industry players to innovate when it comes to customer acquisition.’
Sales aggregators provide a free, no-obligation comparison platform, allowing customers to compare multiple insurance quotes online, measuring multiple brands against each other based on price, premiums, cover and other key features on a single platform.
Crucially, the tool is built to be completely neutral. ‘We’re impartial and unbiased,’ says Du Chenne. ‘The results on the Hippo.co.za platform are in no way influenced by the agreements we have in place with our partners. We don’t influence where a Hippo visitor’s business goes; that choice sits with the customer. We simply give them the options so they can make an informed decision.’
‘As a sales aggregator, we offer consumers a convenient, one-stop shop for accessing and comparing insurance products from across the South African market. The service is at no cost to customers,’ says Du Chenne. ‘We simply charge a fee to the partner should a client be interested in their option.’
Aggregation tools like comparison platforms are disrupting the insurance industry in a significant and irreversible way. ‘I think initially some brokers were worried that our tool would put them out of business,’ says Du Chenne, ‘but now most brokers will use a comparator/aggregation tool to assess the relative strengths of a range of similar product offerings, helping them to deliver a better service to their clients.’
Insurers cannot afford to sleep on the sales and marketing opportunity these platforms provide, especially during the information-gathering and quote-generation stages of the sales process.
‘Consumers expect to see your brand on the list,’ says Du Chenne. ‘If, as an insurer, you’re not on an aggregation platform like Hippo.co.za, that’s your choice; it’s certainly not because we don’t want you as a partner.’