Kevin Pledge, Founder & CEOMany customers are now searching online for life insurance solutions, and are ready to buy provided the right quote and price are offered to them. Experts agree that this segment of the insurance market will continue to grow in the future. However, many insurance companies fall into a trap while moving online by relying on simplified products and overcharging customers to mitigate risks, creating a lose-lose situation. How can they successfully tap into this under-served market and offer a real solution without adding to the risks and the costs?
Acceptiv has the answer. Founded in 2014, Acceptiv enables insurers to sell life insurance and critical illness products online or through omni-channel distribution. They provide the strategy, software, and ongoing services to design and offer policies that most customers can buy online, with the possibility to integrate them into a more traditional portfolio with manual underwriting. Acceptiv taps into this under-served market of customers that look for solutions online. Their software solution, built on a leading European software platform and tailored to the needs of the North American market, offers an end-to-end customer journey that takes less than 12 minutes, with no need for an agent to visit or fluid samples to be provided in most cases.
Moving to an online solution requires a very different approach to product design and distribution. “Many insurers are concerned about cannibalizing their existing distribution but we have not seen this to be an issue,” reassures Kevin Pledge, CEO and Founder, Acceptiv. “We are not working with a fixed market size, currently 50 percent of households have insufficient life insurance—offering convenient and effective products should address this gap.” Acceptiv works with their clients to ensure companies remain competitive and do not cheapen their products. While selling online provides more opportunities to reduce premiums, price point is not the only area they should focus on. “Good branding and an efficient application are critical,” says Pledge.
Many insurers are concerned about cannibalizing their existing distribution but we have not seen this to be an issue
Acceptiv builds on the company’s experience and underwriting rules. These are implemented through reflexive questioning in the system, relying on a database of 16,000 questions. Prospective customers respond to initial questions, and additional questions are only asked when needed which enables the application process to remain quick and efficient. External databases can be pulled out to supplement the information and finalize the decision. This digital capture of information provides the opportunity to use predictive analytics to grow the business.
The CEO tells us a bit more about the coming year and the trends he thinks will impact the insurance business: “We have four Canadian companies launching in the first quarter of 2017, including Invisor—they are the first Robo-Adviser we are aware of selling insurance. We also expect a major bank to launch with us in March. It makes a lot of sense for banks as the evidence from the UK is online market share is growing rapidly and much of this is at the expense of bank insurers.”
Developing deeper integration with predictive analytics to support product, pricing, customer journey, and underwriting is highest priority on their development roadmap. “Most of the CIOs we meet with currently are focused on growth,” explains Pledge. “There may be concerns around integration and security, but these are not the challenges.” Many CIOs now see opportunities for introducing new technologies to better meet the needs of this growing market.