One of the new categories in the Insurance Choice Awards this year is “Innovation of the Year”. Over the last few years the explosion of apps, wearable technologies, VR/AR and much more, has meant that the insurance industry has moved faster than ever. This new category reflects these changes, and before we announce finalists on 11th September, we've decided to profile a number of the contenders.
After a slow start, it seems like telematics is no longer confined to young drivers and those with poor driving records. Even the likes of The Co-op Insurance have created apps to monitor driving performance. More data means better risk assessment for the insurer, and if the driving is within the bounds of the insurers terms, better premiums for the customer. Telematics has the power to make insurance a win-win.
While dedicated telematics companies like ingenie, insurethebox and Coverbox continue to grow, the big players of car insurance are racing to offer it as standard as part of their existing policies. This has led to a 40% growth in the number of telematics policies sold in the last year, and we expect that this will continue to grow.
Our favourite telematics innovators:
Insure The Box - drive safe and save, within a user-friendly app
Marmalade - making learning to drive more affordable
Ingenie - a modern way of rewarding good driving
Not yet launched, but one to watch: By Miles - pay for when you drive, not when you don’t!
Insurance On Demand
Let's face it. Buying insurance traditionally hasn't been much fun. But now there’s some companies who are offering what is claimed to be truly customer-centric or personal insurance. Customers can choose what they want to insure - from laptops to sports equipment - all at the touch of a button. Not only that, but customers can select the level of cover required, when it starts and stops with what is sometimes also referred to as pay-as-you-go insurance, and it’s all packaged up in easy to use and beautiful looking apps.
Whether it’s Back Me Up’s “flexible” policy - insure/un-insure things in literally a single tap, or to a lesser extent, Pedalcover’s streamlined personal product, rolling two policies into one with their dedicated home & cycling insurance policy. A single point of contact, and specialists who understand their target community make an appealing proposition for customers passionate about cycling.
Then there’s Zego - on-demand short-term insurance for delivery drivers and workers in the gig economy, and Tapoly who plan to offer specialist insurance for freelancers. Both target very specific sectors, but by dominating their niche, should be able to offer a cheaper and more personal insurance service.
“Personalised” insurance is the future, and these companies are already doing it, while others play catch up.
Our favourite innovators:
Worry & Peace - "but insurance better" - a slick, modern take on an insurance company
Pedalcover - a specialist, combined home & cycle policy and a single point of contact
Back Me Up - flexible monthly insurance that puts the customer in control
Cuvva - pay-as-you-go insurance, done properly
Brolly - an insurance concierge, that takes the hassle out of insurance
Trov - on-demand insurance for whatever the customer needs to insure
Hardware & Wearables
It makes sense that if we’re wearing connected devices all day long like the Apple Watch or FitBits, the data they collect could be used to help us out when we need to make an insurance claim. Big data is here to stay, and it’s increasingly in our homes...as well as following us around all day and night.
Health insurer, Vitality are offering customers who complete FitBit’s daily walking challenges discounts on insurance and partner benefits for healthy behaviour. In the home, Zurich have partnered with the Cocoon Smart home security system - offering discounts to customers who install the CCTV-like system. Car insurance provider Sure Thing! offer all customers a Dash Cam, to help both customer peace of mind, and to record any incidents which may end up being the subject of a claim. Both parties win.
Thought wearables were just for you? Think again, as MORE THAN even offer a discount for dogs who have GPS chips in their collars to help find them quicker should they go missing. One can imagine where the likes of drones and Google Glass like devices will take us next!
Our favourite innovators
Making insurance more fun is no easy feat, but adding game-like features which reward customers with lower premiums could be part of changing the consumer perception of insurers, and helping insurers gain more data about their customers.
Take the Aviva Drive Challenge, turning typically data-heavy and sometimes difficult to understand telematics insurance into a ”game”. Gamification helps encourage drivers to beat their scores - resulting in a lower premium for them, and fewer costly claims for Aviva.
Similarly, “Better Driver” by Carrot is a case of carrot vs. stick taken to the next level, with the car insurance company offering treats in the form of shopping vouchers to reward good driving behaviour. Again, it’s a twist on telematics that puts the customer first. Then there’s Coach by CIGNA, which can actually improve a customer’s quality of life. It’s a personal trainer within an app which can help the customer get fitter and more active, and the insurer can better understand how fit and healthy their customer really is.
There’s a fine line between gamification and trying too hard to make insurance fun, but we’re keen to see how far gamification will go as the competition between insurers continues to heat-up.
Our favourite innovators:
Group Buying, Cashback & Peer-to-Peer Insurance
One to watch is So-Sure. Their social insurance policy pays cashback when a claim isn’t made - which only seems fair. To a lesser extent, Brolly “your personal insurance concierge” aims to save the customer money via AI, by automatically finding an insurance policy to match their specific needs.
And while it’s not exactly cashback, there's even a raft of insurers “giving back”. See Evergreen Insurance, who promise to donate up to 25% of their commission back. If buying insurance can make the customer feel as if they’re doing some good, then why not?
Our favourite innovators:
Bought by Many - club together with similar people and get a cheaper, more personalised policy
Insure a Thing (not yet launched) - no claims this month in your community of cyclists? You pay £0
So-Sure - cashback on policies
With insurance moving at such a fast pace, we’re finding new companies daily who offer something fresh and exciting to the market. If you love something which your insurance provider is doing - be it a slick way of renewing a policy, a truly personal customer service experience, or a new insurance product, let us know and they could be named “Innovation of the Year”!