The Future of Insurance is “Open”

Those of us at the forefront of insurance technology use and adoption have been saying for years that the entire industry needs to step up or get left behind.  

We’ve been warning of a digital transformation, and it’s been happening – even if more slowly than some of us would have liked.  

What none of us could have predicted was that a global pandemic would be the catalyst for change – forcing insurance companies and agents to adopt technology more quickly in one year than they had in the previous ten.  

A recent survey conducted by KPMG shows that 85% of insurance CEOs said that the pandemic has accelerated their digitization initiatives with 78% saying that the pandemic has intensified their focus on creating a more seamless digital customer experience. Spending the better part of 2020 using digital technologies in all areas of life has set consumers’ baseline for a quality digital experience at an all-time high, leaving insurers looking for a way to keep up. 

That’s where the idea of open API technology and platforms comes in. It allows insurers to share and access data and services with third parties. Through open APIs, insurers can share data with insurtechs, financial institutions, and other organizations that possess data useful in helping insurers more accurately gauge risk and supply personalized coverage. For long standing insurers facing increased competition from newer more digitalized insurtechs, the open insurance model provides a beacon of hope 

What will open APIs look like in the insurance industry? Here are a few examples:  

  1. – They will allow insurers to tap into a wider variety of data in order to obtain a more detailed view of risk resulting in more accurate, personalized pricing for each policyholder.  
  2. – Equipped with data-driven customer insights, insurers will be able to identify and pursue new revenue opportunities and product offerings more quickly than ever before.  
  3. – By taking individual software components and incorporating them into their current offerings, insurers will be able to shorten the customer journey, improve customer experience, and adjust to target new customers. 

Embracing the open insurance model will require insurers to shed their long-standing  

hesitations toward data sharing and begin operating with a partnership mindset. Gone are the 

days of noncooperation, replaced now by the values of combined offerings and diverse 

partnerships. In the end, not only will the insurance companies benefit by staying alive – and relevant – in a more “open” world, but so will the insured people and businesses who rely on the coverage provided by these insurance companies.  

2020 proved that disruption is not always predictable. In a world that seems to be moving faster every day, you never know when the next seismic shift may occur. The one thing we know for sure is that the future of insurance will depend on insurers ability to deploy innovative models of open collaboration. As insurers continue advancing their digital strategy, they cannot afford to ignore the promise of open insurance.  

At UWIB, we’re always watching the insurance and technology landscape to stay ahead of the curve and provide our clients with the best and most informed perspectives.  

Interested in working with us? We offer a no-cost and no-obligation insurance review to see if your current policies are working for you.  

When you can’t prevent employee theft and fraud, your insurance should be there to support you

As a business owner or member of leadership, the last thing you want to consider is that your employees could be committing theft or fraud against your company.

While rare, it does happen. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent employee crime from happening in the first place. And, if it does occur, having the right insurance policy in place can be a lifesaver. Take this story of corporate fraud, for example:

Two employees at the Center for Toxicology and Environment Health in Arkansas were tasked with purchasing cellphones for employees and subcontractors. Over the course of years, these employees store over half a million dollars worth of tech products, sold them on the internet, and pocketed the money. Both recently pled guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and were sentenced to federal prison time and repayment of the stolen funds.

Sure these employees were “bad apples” – no doubt! But, company oversight was obviously lacking as well. Here are some tips to help prevent situations that lend themselves to fraud:

  1. Always review payments and purchases to vendors to make sure that services were actually performed and items were actually received

2. Monitor your bank and credit accounts and hire an auditor to conduct an investigation if anything does not appear correct

3. Work with an independent, third party auditor to routinely examine receipts and financial records for signs of fraud

4. Don’t rely on a single manager to oversee all financial matters: distribute responsibility across the organization for checks and balances

In addition, here are some signs that you can look for in employees that might indicate they are conducting, or planning to conduct, theft or fraud:

  • – Never taking a day off
  • – Being overly protective of their workspace and trying to prevent managers or others from accessing it
  • – Frequently requesting to work from home, or to work hours that the office is empty
  • – Seeking to work without supervision.
  • – Financial records disappearing or seeming to have been modified
  • – Sudden unexplained changes in behavior
  • – Coming in early or staying late to avoid contact with other employees or managers
  • – Owing expensive possessions beyond his or her income level
  • – Inquiring about information that is not necessary to perform his or her job
  • – Certain customers or clients only working with that staff member and refusing to work with anyone else

The truth is that oversight is the best way to prevent employee crime from happening to begin with. But, not all crime is preventable. So, what else can you do to protect yourself? Your business liability insurance may or may not include coverage for employee crimes. Make sure it does – and provides adequate levels of protection based on your business. Click here to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation insurance review and consultation!

Amazon Sells Everything – Even Insurance!

But, their mass-production business model won’t be right for everyone 

This month, e-commerce giant broke the news that it will be joining the insurance industry. The venture comes in the form of a partnership with digital insurtech company, Next Insurance. Through the partnership, members of Amazon Business Prime will be able to obtain a small business insurance quote from Next Insurance. Members will also have the chance to purchase general liability, professional liability, workers’ compensation, commercial auto, and tools & equipment insurance from Next Insurance.  

All of this can be done, Amazon promises, without speaking to an agent (or any other human for that matter).  

It’s not surprising that Amazon has figured out a way to get into the insurance industry. InsurTech – the intersection of Insurance and Technology – is growing at breakneck speed, backed by billions of investment dollars. The real question is, however, does the insurance world truly want to become more like Amazon?  

For some businesses, Amazon’s insurance model will do just fine. Amazon is banking on the fact that many small business owners are looking for quick, easy, and (let’s just say it) cheap ways to get their insurance! Amazon’s existing infrastructure allows them to provide a distribution channel to rapidly get a lot of insurance policies in the hands of a lot of businesses.  

It might sound appealing to get quick quotes and bind coverage without needing anyone’s help. However, many business owners can attest, having no one involved can be much less of a benefit when claims happen and you’re trying to navigate the confusing and overwhelming world of business insurance alone. 

This is why I am confident that the true role of the independent insurance agent isn’t going anywhere. At United Western Insurance Brokers, we love technology. We use dozens of different tools to make our employees’ and our clients’ lives easier through connection and automation. However, we also know that no technology can replace the decades of expertise we have accumulated through our work in the industry. No technology can truly listen to our clients’ fears and concerns and guide them through the most important decisions they will face in their businesses and lives.  

So, while the online retail giant may get a lot of things right (who doesn’t love 2-day, 1-day, or same-day shipping?), when it comes to business insurance, we think the true “Prime” experience is having access to a team of people who know their stuff and have your back.  

If you agree, we’d love to talk!