Mark Dowds is the strategic force behind Trov, the world’s first fully-mobile, on-demand insurance app. From time-sensitive coverage to near-instant claim submissions, Trov is reinventing the way people protect the things that are important to them. We asked him about the emergence of insurtech, disrupting incumbents, and the role of IoT in the future of insurtech.
To learn more, join Mark and other fintech leaders at Mobey Day in Toronto, August 30–31, 2017.
Carta: Insurance was late to the fintech scene, but now it seems to be in a different category altogether. What happened with fintech and insuretech?
Mark Dowds: Insurtech became substantial enough a few years ago and split off from the pure fintech channel to create its own brand. Lots of fintech players have emerged and fragmented the banking and payments market while similar efforts to digitize the world of insurance are biting small chunks off the big elephant. These two industries that used to rely on one another are now quite divided with innovation taking centre stage.
I’m interested in exploring what it means when insurtech and fintech come together. How will insurance borrow again from banking as a distribution partnership?
People are beginning to pay in new ways with digital wallets that brings with it a lot of new data. That data could open up new insurance experiences. At Point of Sale, for example, imagine paying for a nice bicycle and it being insured automatically within the same transaction. That’s where insurance is headed.
Carta: There’s been a lot of momentum in insurtech in the last few years. What developments in particular are most exciting to you?
Mark: A lot of insurance companies are beginning to wake up. When first entering into this space, many insurance companies were still in denial that something was going to change the industry. They held the balance sheet and the license, so they thought they couldn’t be disrupted.
Insurtech companies are realizing you can borrow a license and bypass the traditional process and leverage the balance sheet of large re-insurers and other money markets.
Today, most insurance companies are legacy-bound which limits their ability to respond to the needs of the next generation. At Trov, we responded by building a virtual insurance company in the cloud which liberates us from legacy systems and gives us the ability to operate in a seamless digital manner with flexibility on user experiences.
Now, we’re able to push the boundaries a bit more. We are excited to see more insurtech players do the same.
Carta: What have been some of the key learnings insurtech has picked up from the broader fintech movement?
Mark: That large incumbents can’t do everything any longer. There was a time when banks did everything. Now there are lots of fintech companies that are just taking one slice of the banking experience and digitizing it.
They are dreaming of a day when you don’t have to sign papers, use cheques or meet a teller. A lot of fintech players have demonstrated that they can borrow licenses and rethink the user experience completely. In a similar vein, there are emerging players in insurance that have the ability to partner with the folks who provide the balance sheet, who can rethink the user experience for the next generation.
Carta: What role will AI and IoT play in the future of insurtech?
Mark: There’s a lot of intelligence emerging that is focused on reducing risk and analyzing fraud patterns. In addition, we are utilizing chatbot technology to deliver a seamless and intelligent claims process.
With the Internet of Things, we’ll eventually be able to segment markets a lot better, based on the lifestyle of the individual. By collecting live data in your home and vehicle, we’ll be able to better assess real usage and risks and offer more personalized insurance as a result. For example, a device can detect your actual home occupancy levels rather that what is actually disclosed. The IoT could potentially uncover opportunities to serve the customer more effectively and price risk more accurately.
Join Mark Dowds and other fintech leaders in Toronto at Mobey Day 2017, on August 30–31. Register online.