The Zebra Lands $40 Million Series B to Expand Insurance Search Engine

“From day one we set out to make insurance ‘black and white,’ and our team is making a huge impact in driving this industry forward,” The Zebra Founder and Chairman Adam Lyons said. “There is no shortage of interest in the insurance space right now, and we felt Accel was the right partner and aligned with our vision of creating something big. When we met Keith, we knew instantly that we found the talent to help take this company to new heights.”

Accel Leads The Zebra’s Series B
The Zebra’s Series B round marks one of Accel’s first investments in insurance in the U.S., as well as its largest investment in tech hub Austin, Texas to date. Accel Partners has backed massive consumer brands including Facebook, Dropbox, Spotify, Venmo, and KAYAK.

“There’s an opportunity in insurance to build the go-to digital brand for comparison shopping, just as we’ve lived through from the beginning with what KAYAK did for travel,” said John Locke, a Partner with Accel. “The Zebra team has the product-first DNA and momentum to pull this off, and we’re thrilled to partner with Keith Melnick – who we worked with on KAYAK for over a decade – and the whole The Zebra team to help make this vision a reality.”

The Leading Auto Insurance Comparison Marketplace
The Zebra’s Series B brings its funding total to $61.5 million. The company has continued to grow revenue more than 80 percent year over year and has established itself as a leader in the growing insurtech space.

The Zebra is the most visited car insurance comparison site in the U.S., providing millions of insurance quotes every month. It searches more than 200 auto insurance companies in seconds to give consumers the choice and simplicity they need to find the right coverage at the right price. The Zebra has partnered with 80 percent of the top 25 auto insurance companies and offers vast educational resources, allowing consumers to search, understand, and purchase coverage to meet their unique needs.

Where Will $40 Million Take The Zebra Next?
The Zebra will move quickly, expanding product functionality, adding new lines of insurance, growing both staff and partnerships to expand its reach, and making substantial investments in brand-building and other marketing efforts to establish The Zebra as a household name.

As a truly independent insurance marketplace, The Zebra will continue to offer more educational tools consumers need to understand and find the insurance coverage they need in today’s unpredictable environment.

“Insurtech is exploding, bringing concepts like peer-to-peer insurance and pay-per-mile models in front of consumers,” The Zebra Co-founder and COO Joshua Dziabiak said. “Our role is to serve as the online marketplace where these innovations are made available to consumers. The vision is for consumers to be able to learn about, search and compare their options, and then purchase and manage their insurance coverage – all in one place.”

Founding KAYAK Executive Keith Melnick Joins The Zebra as CEO
Keith Melnick brings more than 20 years of experience to help fuel The Zebra’s growth. He most recently served as President of KAYAK, and was on the team that launched the company in 2004. He previously worked as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, concentrating on travel, e-commerce, and financial services, and he helped create Orbitz, Inc.

“The insurance industry is where the travel industry was 10 years ago. While the industries vary in players, complexity, and structure, it’s clear to me that the time is ripe to create a similar sort of easy-to-use, yet powerful, consumer experience for both those shopping for and those providing insurance,” The Zebra CEO Keith Melnick said. “It sounds simple, but it definitely is not, and it can revolutionize the industry. The Zebra gets that, I get that, and we share a vision and a plan to get it done.”

The Zebra’s investors also include Silverton Partners, Floodgate, Ballast Point Ventures, Mark Cuban, Daher Capital, and Birchmere Labs.

Additional Resources:

About The Zebra
The Zebra is the nation’s leading auto insurance marketplace. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the company has sought to bring transparency and simplicity to insurance shopping since 2012 — it’s “insurance in black and white.”

With The Zebra’s dynamic, real-time comparison engine, drivers can identify insurance companies with the coverage, service level, and pricing to suit their unique needs. The Zebra compares over 200 car insurance companies and provides agent support and educational resources to ensure drivers are equipped to make the most informed decisions about their car insurance.

 

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-zebra-lands-40-million-series-b-to-expand-insurance-search-engine-300521581.html

SOURCE The Zebra

Related Links

http://www.thezebra.com

Aigang – Blockchain Protocol Opens Platform Allowing to Claim Profits from Insurance Investments

Bitcoinist.net · September 15, 2017 · 10:15 pm

Digital insurance protocol, Aigang announces the launch of insurance investment platform demo that for the first time ever allows investing your crypto assets into insurance and generating profit from them.

[Note: This is a press release.]


September 13, 2017, Singapore – The leading blockchain protocol for digital insurance, Aigang has launched its insurance investment platform demo. The new investment platform invites people to contribute their testnet ETH to see the platform from investor’s point of view. Currently, the platform allows participants to claim daily profits based on the invested amount (ROI).

Aigang insurance platform

The insurance investment platform is currently available as a demo on the testnet as the company prepares for an alpha release. With the overall development of the blockchain insurance ecosystem going according to an earlier laid out plan in the official whitepaper, the investment platform will be capable of performing a suite of functions to ensure profitability of all the participants.

Investors interested in adding Aigang insurance investment platform into their (crypto)portfolio can choose the product pool of their choice. These insurance product pools are accompanied by information about the assessed risk, predicted profit, etc., to encourage informed decision making among the investors while ensuring transparency in the whole process. Once convinced about the choice, they can proceed with the purchase of insurance tokens representing the respective investment pools.

The investment platform provides users with an investor dashboard, representing the user profile which includes information about their contributions, projected profits, risk, and the status of each pool. Meanwhile, those purchasing the tokens will be able to hold for the right to share profits or trade them in secondary markets. Some of other platform functions include collection and real-time monitoring of insurance premiums, processing claims, and payouts.

The Singapore based Aigang has already started disrupting the insurance market by introducing digital insurance blockchain protocol. The P2P investment platform is the protocol’s core as it enables full peer-to-peer insurance vision. It will also cover many complex insurance parts and help automate the whole process.

The functional Demo version of Aigang’s latest achievement is available at – https://investment.aigang.network

About Aigang Network

The Aigang Network’s blockchain protocol offers next-generation digital insurance for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices using Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and smart contracts. The company is making a huge headway into the InsurTech segment, preparing itself for the new wave of technology changes bound to happen in the near future.

Learn more about Aigang at — https://goo.gl/QjivwW
Aigang Latest Version of Whitepaper — http://bit.ly/AigangWhitepaper
Join the Aigang Slack here — http://bit.ly/AigangSlack
Aigang on Telegram —http://bit.ly/AigangTelegram
Get Aigang Latest Updates — https://goo.gl/6RSPBJ

Media Contact

Contact Name: Augustas Staras

Contact Designation: Co-Founder, Business Developer

Contact Email: [email protected]

Location: Singapore

Aigang is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.


Images courtesy of Aigang

aiganginsurancePress Release


Aigang Blockchain Protocol to Claim Profits from Insurance Investments

September 13, 2017, Singapore – The leading blockchain protocol for digital insurance, Aigang has launched its insurance investment platform demo. The new investment platform invites people to contribute their testnet ETH to see the platform from investor’s point of view. Currently, the platform allows claiming daily profits based on the invested amount (ROI).

The insurance investment platform is currently available as a demo on the testnet as the company prepares for an alpha release. With the overall development of the blockchain insurance ecosystem going according to an earlier laid out plan in the official whitepaper, the investment platform will be capable of performing a suite of functions to ensure profitability of all the participants.

Investors interested in adding Aigang insurance investment platform into their (crypto)portfolio can choose the product pool of their choice. These insurance product pools are accompanied by information about the assessed risk, predicted profit, etc., to encourage informed decision making among the investors while ensuring transparency in the whole process. Once convinced about the choice, they can proceed with the purchase of insurance tokens representing the respective investment pools.

The Aigang investment platform provides users with an investor dashboard, representing the user profile which includes information about their contributions, projected profits, risk, and the status of each pool. Meanwhile, those purchasing the tokens will be able to hold for the right to share profits or trade them in secondary markets. Some of other platform functions include collection and real-time monitoring of insurance premiums, processing claims, and payouts.

The Singapore based Aigang has already started disrupting the insurance market by introducing digital insurance blockchain protocol. The P2P investment platform is the protocol’s core as it enables full peer-to-peer insurance vision. It will also cover many complex insurance parts and help automate the whole process.

The functional Demo version of Aigang’s latest achievement is available at – https://investment.aigang.network

About Aigang Network 
The Aigang Network’s blockchain protocol offers next-generation digital insurance for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices using Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and smart contracts. The company is making a huge headway into the InsurTech segment, preparing itself for the new wave of technology changes bound to happen in the near future.

Learn more about Aigang at — https://goo.gl/QjivwW
Aigang Latest Version of Whitepaper — http://bit.ly/AigangWhitepaper
Join the Aigang Slack here — http://bit.ly/AigangSlack
Aigang on Telegram —http://bit.ly/AigangTelegram
Get Aigang Latest Updates — https://goo.gl/6RSPBJ

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent the views of NewsBTC or any of its team members.  NewsBTC is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in Sponsored Stories/Press Releases such as this one.

SA trio builds world’s first fully functioning decentralised insurer

A trio of twenty-something South Africans are said to have built the world’s first fully functioning decentralised insurer, Pineapple Insurance.

The fully functioning decentralised model means that policyholders will get similar benefits and coverage as those offered by traditional insurers but the middleman or insurance company is removed from the equation.

Pineapple – which will launch short-term offerings in beta next month and to the market in the October – is based on the concept of peer-to-peer insurance. It will provide consumers with a platform to interact with each other and form pools of funds, from which claims will be paid out. Policies will be underwritten by specialist insurer Compass and Pineapple will earn a fixed fee, payable as a percentage of premiums, for its services.

Marnus van Heerden, a co-founder of Pineapple, said it will be regulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB) as it intentionally built a product that would fit in with the domestic regulatory framework.

He said Pineapple’s fees would compare favourably with the FSB disclosed industry fee structure as it removes the middleman and has successfully automated around 80% of its claims administration structure. The remaining 20% is to be administrated by Brolink, which provides claims administration solutions to a number of large insurers. Citing FSB data, Pineapple said that insurance companies only provide around R36 in value for every R100 paid in premiums, with shareholder profits, inefficient legacy systems and fraud detracting from consumer value.

“An incorrect structure and lack of transparency is destroying the traditional insurance business model. And there’s also a moral issue because people find it acceptable to defraud insurance companies. We want to change the way insurance is done,” he said.

He and fellow co-founders Matthew Elan Smith and Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube say Pineapple will the revoutionalise the industry by removing what they term a conflict of interest in insurance. “Currently, every claim an insurer denies adds to their bottom line. This is an inherent conflict of interest whereby the provider of the service is actually incentivised to not follow through on their promise. Pineapple completely removes this conflict by returning all unused premium back to the hands of the consumer,” the trio said in a statement.

Pineapple also aims to provide transparency by showing policyholders how their premiums are used. It also wants to reintroduce affinity into insurance by allowing consumers to connect with trusted acquaintances in a bid to stop policyholders from paying for “fraudsters and bad risks risks” currently ruining the traditional insurance value chain.  

The trio came together last year, having participated in a Hannover Re competition aimed at unlocking consumer-focused ideas to disrupt the insurance market. The trio presented the Pineapple concept to Hannover Re executives in Germany late last year and have recently secured R5.2 million in seed funding from Hannover Re Africa’s investment arm Lireas Holdings. As part of the deal, Lireas will take a minority stake in the business and has committed to help rollout Pineapple. Prior to this, the trio self-funded Pineapple and were assisted with office space and stipends from Hannover Re.    

Van Heerden said Pineapple derives its name of the fruit. “Each node is a single berry and they all come together to form a single fruit. [Just as] with Pineapple Insurance, many will come together to protect the few.”

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Time is ripe for startups like Pineapple to disrupt insurance

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Startups are set to disrupt the insurance business model fundamentally, says Stanley Gabriel, head of innovation at Old Mutual Personal Finance.

Gabriel was responding to a question from Ventureburn on big trends he sees in the sector that startups should look out for. His comments follow the announcement last week by Johannesburg based insuretech startup Pineapple of a R5.2-million funding round from Lireas Holdings.

“Overseas, Lemonade has disrupted the market, paying a claim in seconds, and locally Pineapple raised R5.2-million with their peer-to-peer insurance offering,” Gabriel told Ventureburn.

Read more: SA startup Pineapple secures R5.2m to take on short-term insurance market

“I am excited about these developments and believe that the future lies in open innovation. We will see a rise in partnerships, not just in insurtech or fintech, but potentially with other financial institutions and retailers. The insurance industry is going to feel the biggest impact in the coming years,” he said.

Time is ripe for startups like Pineapple to disrupt insurance says Old Mutual manager

Gabriel said with customer needs changing and becoming more sophisticated, a key trend in insurance is likely to be a big focus on customer engagement and experience. Big data and behavioural economics are key to enabling and powering this change, he said.

Another key trend that represents huge opportunity, he said, is providing mechanisms to digitise processes that are currently manual, expensive and time consuming. “We also expect to see more insurers using robo-processing and introducing forms of robo-advisers,” he added.

“The exciting part will be how traditional distribution channels introduce technology to deliver advice to their customers and remain relevant, especially with the Retail Distribution Review fast approaching,” he said. The review aims to improve disclosure to clients and mitigate certain conflicts of interest.

Gabriel pointed to the 2015 World Economic Forum (WEF) report (opens as PDF) on the future of financial services. “The most imminent effects of disruption will be felt in the banking sector; however, the greatest impact of disruption is likely to be felt in the insurance sector,” he cautioned.

Read more: 8 corporate managers that SA tech startups should meet [Digital All Stars]

Old Mutual Emerging Markets has partnered with Startupbootcamp Insurtech London and Startupbootcamp Cape Town (which kicks off today), which have accelerator programmes that connect startups, corporates and investors.

Ellerston Capital-backed Friendsurance launches insurance for bicycle riders

Fuelled by a $5.5 million investment from James Packer-backed Ellerston Capital, the local arm of German peer-to-peer insurer Friendsurance wants to change the way Australians get insurance. It starts with protecting the humble bicycle.

Friendsurance, headquartered in Berlin and founded in 2010, has gained attention for being the world’s first P2P insurer. The model organises individuals into groups of 10, that cross insure each other – if there are no claims, up to 40 per cent of the premium is refunded.

Ellerston, which is 25 per cent-owned by Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings, made the investment via its Ellerston Ventures venture capital fund last year.

The P2P insurance company has launched its first Australian insurance product, dubbed cash-back bike insurance. It covers not only the bike, but also things such as the rider’s loss of income and dental work in the event of an accident, as well as third parties.

People aged between 10 and 17, a demographic not typically covered by insurers, can also get cover. Ellerston Ventures investment director Anthony Klok said the first product is a “massive achievement for a start-up” in a complex, regulated industry.

“Ellerston Ventures invests in companies that use the internet and technology as the core of their business. The insurance sector is a highly regulated and profitable industry that is ready for innovation for the benefit of consumers,” he said.

“Friendsurance was a natural choice, as it is a mature player in the insurance technology space. It is one of the global pioneers of P2P. We were impressed that customers in Germany receive, on average, a 33 per cent premium cash-back.”

Filling a gap

As scandals continue to be uncovered at some of our biggest financial institutions, P2P insurers may fill a gap where there is mistrust with the big banks and insurers, said PwC’s Australian insurance leader Scott Fergusson.

“In an environment where insurance risks and customer attitudes are changing, and where there is falling trust in financial services providers, including insurers, technology entrepreneurs are exploring how to offer alternative insurance solutions to engage customers,” he said.

“If anything, P2P innovations, like the other initiatives to drive greater consumer engagement in insurance through technology, are likely to contribute to elevating social awareness and activity in insurance to the benefit of the market overall.”

In Germany, Friendsurance has about 150,000 customers who have about two policies each. It insures a diverse array of risks including cars, home and electronics and has relationship’s with 80 insurance companies.

Perry Abbott, Friendsurance Australia chief executive, said the company’s model focused on changing customer behaviour.

“If you adopt better risk behaviours, you’re going to get a benefit and the insurer’s going to lower claims in the process,” he said.

Mr Abbott said Friendsurance was in talks with other large domestic insurance companies about new products and will shortly begin a second funding round.

“We would like to have support from our existing investors and bring in a strategic investors as well. There is a lot of interest as it’s a very established model. It was there before insurtech, when people were only talking about fintech,” he said.

Friendsurance is one of four companies Ellerston Ventures has put money into after amassing a $23 million capital war chest. The other companies are Genero, a cloud-based video software platform, an online literacy education resource and Better Caring, a P2P marketplace for elderly and disability care services.

SA startup Pineapple secures R5.2m to take on short-term insurance market – Ventureburn

pineapple-team


SA insurtech startup Pineapple has secured R5.2-million in seed funding from Lireas Holdings, the strategic investment arm of Hannover-Re Group Africa, in return for a 25% stake in the business.

The startup, which is based in Johannesburg, made the announcement yesterday to Ventureburn. The funding will help the company to bring their innovative insurance offering to market by funding marketing, development and staff costs.

Pineapple co-founder and former actuarial science graduate Matthew Elan Smith, 24 (pictured above right, with co-founders developer Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube, 26 and accountant Marnus van Heerden, 26) said he and his fellow co-founders are in the process of signing term-sheets.

Johannesburg’s Pineapple claims to have scored a world’s first in achieving a flexible, scalable and decentralised peer-to-peer insurer

The funding came about after the three were last year selected to take part in a global challenge hosted by insurance company Hanover-Re in Johannesburg, Boston, Berlin and Dublin. The three being selected to present and refine their idea in Berlin in July and December last year.

Read more: Journey Re Reinsurance Competition is looking for disruptive entrepreneurs

The three claim to have scored a world’s first in achieving a flexible, scalable and decentralised peer-to-peer insurer that provides fully fledged insurance coverage to its members. The company expects to launch the new platform and app — which is aimed at the short-term insurance market — in the last quarter of this year.

Smith said while there are a number of peer-to-peer insurance providers in the market currently, Pineapple —  which is underwritten by Johannesburg based underwriters Compass Insurance — offers a more effective model for users.

The platform will compete with existing short-term insurance offered by the likes of local insurance companies such as MyWay, Outsurance and Santam.

While Smith did not want to reveal too much on how the model works he was able to confirm that the platform allows users to pay and track their premiums online, while incentivising users to choose who in their network they want to pool their premiums with.

“We allow users to see exactly what’s going on with their premium and how much is left over,” added Smith.

He said once any payments to settle claims in their network are factored in and Pineapple fees are taken into account, members can also get paid out on whatever amount from their premium that remains unused and would ordinarily have been accrued to the insurance provider as profit.

As users will be incentivised to reduce unnecessary claims (to increase the amount they get in reimbursements), encouraging users to choose who they want to include in their network also acts as a way to cut down on fraud — which he estimated accounted for over a third of short-term insurance claims are fraudulent.

Smith said the Pineapple team currently consists just of the three founders, but that the three expect to make new hires soon.

Featured image: Pineapple co-founders (from left to right) Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube, Marnus van Heerden and Matthew Elan Smith (Supplied)

Aigang, the Blockchain Insurance Protocol, Opens Investment Platform Demo enabling P2P Insurance Marketplace

Aigang, the Blockchain Insurance Protocol, Opens Investment Platform Demo enabling P2P Insurance Marketplace

Friday, August 25, 2017 10:48 AM UTC

The leading blockchain protocol for digital insurance, Aigang Network has launched its insurance investment platform demo. The new investment platform invites people to contribute their testnet ETH to test the functionality from the investor’s point of view.

The insurance investment platform is currently available as a demo on the testnet as the company prepares for an alpha release. With the overall development of the blockchain insurance ecosystem going according to an earlier laid out plan in the official whitepaper, the investment platform will be capable of performing a suite of functions to ensure profitability of all the participants.

Investors interested in adding Aigang insurance platform into their (crypto)portfolio can refer to the platform and choose the product pool of their choice. These insurance product pools are accompanied by information about the assessed risk, predicted profit, etc., to encourage informed decision making among the investors while ensuring transparency in the whole process. Once convinced about the choice, they can proceed with the purchase of insurance tokens representing the respective investment pools.

The Aigang investment platform provides users with an investor dashboard, representing the user profile which includes information about their contributions, projected profits, risk, and the status of each pool. Meanwhile, those purchasing the tokens will be able to trade them in secondary markets and make profits out of it. Some of its other functions include collection and monitoring of premiums, processing claims, and payouts.

The Singapore based Aigang Network has already started disrupting the insurance market by introducing digital insurance blockchain protocol. The P2P investment platform is the protocol’s core as it enables full peer-to-peer insurance vision. It will also cover many complex insurance parts and help automate the whole process.

The functional Demo version of Aigang’s latest achievement is available at – https://investment.aigang.network

About Aigang Network

The Aigang Network’s blockchain protocol offers next-generation digital insurance for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices using Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and smart contracts. The company is making a huge headway into the InsurTech segment, preparing itself for the new wave of technology changes bound to happen in the near future.

Learn more about Aigang at — https://goo.gl/JtCSHJ
Aigang Latest Version of Whitepaper — http://bit.ly/AigangWhitepaper
Join the Aigang Slack here — http://bit.ly/AigangSlack
Aigang on Telegram —http://bit.ly/AigangTelegram
Get Aigang Latest Updates — https://goo.gl/q8Q8uF

Media Contact

Contact Name: Augustas Staras
Contact Designation: Co-Founder, Business Developer
Contact Email: Augustas@Aigang.Network
Location: Singapore

Aigang is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

UmbrellaCoin ICO Live; Raises $436k in Four Days

On a scale from unknown to known, the UmbrellaCoin ICO appears to be very known.

The new insurance startup, which launched the crowdsale of its UMC tokens on August 20, 2017, has already raised close to $436,000 worth of ETH. UmbrellaCoin intends to raise a total of 100,000 ETH (~$30 million) by the end of September 20, 2017. It would be too soon to comment whether they can achieve their goal. But the way this startup has kick-started its ICO campaign is promising, to say the least.

Ethereum-based Token for Insurance Benefits

UmbrellaCoin is building a token on the top of Ethereum blockchain to offset traditional costs associated with claims for traditional insurance companies. The startup also proposes to remove the centralized auditing process with a much efficient decentralized protocol.

“Our first and the foremost aim is to counterbalance high customer costs for uncovered care costs imposed by insurance companies,” stated Terry Tata, the President and the CEO of UmbrellaCoin. “These care costs include copays and deductibles, where it be in the automobile, healthcare, life, or property insurance.”

Tata believes their project has the means to complement traditional insurance models, mostly because it allows the customers to take benefits from hidden finances. So, in an ideal scenario, if a user does not claim, or his initially invested UMC is not used by the end of the period, he can receive the 100% refund.

However, in case the claim was made, then the user will be entitled to receive 5x the UMC spent within the policy period. Users can also choose to suspend their policy anytime before the date of maturity, but they would have to pay 40% of the invested UMC as the penalty.

In addition to this, there are also other measures proposed to guard the pool against fund depletion. They include a cap on individual investment, starter fees, cooling period, fraud claims, and minimum policies.

It is evident that UmbrellaCoin has intentions to deliver on its roadmap to build a decentralized, peer-to-peer insurance platform. A successful ICO will ensure that they have sufficient capital available to meet their roadmap goals.

Peer to peer insurance: act now or face the threat

Peer to peer insurance: act now or face the threatThe following is an opinion article written by Veselina Milanova and Peter Maas, Institute of Insurance at St.Gallen University.

All for one and one for all is the mechanics behind peer-to-peer insurances. Will they disrupt a centuries old industry?

Sharing everyday objects such as drills and cars, lending money to other people, offering small services like cooking dinner for strangers or teaching others some skills – the list of what people can do within the sharing economy is growing daily. A study of the European Commission records the accelerated growth of the sharing economy and quantifies its transactions in 2015 at 28 billion euros across Europe, up from 10 billion euros in 2013. The rise in both usage and transaction volume clearly shows that the sharing economy is here to stay.

Peer-to-peer insurance – old story told a new way?

One of the niches of the sharing economy directly touches the insurance industry. Sharing an insurance policy with other peers still seems awkward at first glance. However, it feels natural when given a second thought. The origin of insurance dates back to the ancient world. At that time groups of traders collected premiums to cover risks related to the shipping of their goods. This form of mutual aid has been formalized in insurance policies as known today. On the one hand stock listed insurance companies offer insurance protection, on the other hand mutual insurance companies are the legal form of such a consumer cooperative.

Mutual insurance companies strive to enable their customers to look after their own needs and interests by making them also owners of the mutual. Recent technological developments make it possible to go a step further towards a mutual, peer-to-peer insurance model. Emerging sharing economy startups revert to the basics of the original insurance idea: a consumer can group with several other consumers, part of their premiums will go into a common group pool and returned to each of them if they all stay claims-free. The common pool covers small damages, an insurance company takes care of bigger ones. In such a way start-ups like Friendsurance in Germany or insPeer in France tie the refund that each group member can receive back to the overall group performance.

A more recent development in peer-to-peer insurance moves even further towards pure mutual insurance models and aims at acting as a complete substitute for an insurance company. For example, as a truly peer-to-peer solution, Teambrella promises direct coverage from teammates by forming self-governing consumer communities. Each community determines its own rules and is self-responsible for approving or denying claims. In contrast to mutual insurance companies such as Mobiliar in Switzerland, peer-to-peer insurance startups offer more transparency and control over both premiums and claims.

What’s really in for peer-to-peer insurance consumers?

One of the main questions for both academics and practitioners is what motivates consumers to participate in the sharing economy in general. For example, peer-to-peer insurance platforms promise transparency and fairness in handling claims – aspects to which traditional insurers have not yet paid much attention, at least not in their marketing campaigns. But how important are transparency and fairness for participants in such insurance sharing models? A study of the Institute of Insurance Economics of the University of St. Gallen shows that the driving force behind participation in peer-to-peer insurance is based on the following three components:

· Opportunities for monetary rewards and gains make people engage in sharing their insurance policies. The less familiar consumers are with a service offering, the more attractive the chance for monetary benefits. The integration of cost saving opportunities or direct financial rewards is a necessary initial hook for introducing peer-to-peer insurance.

· Social and symbolic motives are still weak, but have the potential to promote a sustainable growth for peer-to-peer insurance in the future. Personal bonds to others, a sense of community, the feeling of being treated fairly all create engagement and foster positive experiences for consumers that traditional insurers are not yet able to relate to.

· And yet vital for the success of peer-to-peer insurance is building up a network of strangers, not family and friends. Most consumers dislike the idea of having a common insurance pool together with people they know well. The danger of having to discuss money with close friends and family is just too high.

Not back to the roots but back to the customer

Traditional insurers need to engage more actively in shaping the way peer-to-peer insurance models develop. Otherwise they will face the threat of a growing number of new entrants that may be faster in securing market shares. Whether peer-to-peer insurance will revolutionise the centuries old insurance business is still unclear. New entrants have to cope with a number of hurdles on their way to a big market share. Insurance is a complex, highly regulated business. However, this is no excuse for traditional insurers to further ignore the opportunities that open up for them to reach their customers. Providing a compelling user experience and bringing back the customer trust in a trust-based business are the main challenges traditional insurers need to face as quickly as possible.

Insurers clearly have the expertise in dealing with risk management. Adopting technologies such as blockchain can help them make processes faster and transparent to customers. Getting the technical infrastructure right is expensive and time-consuming, but promises to reduce costs and deliver customer value in the long run.
Transparency can also mean speaking the same language as customers do. To rebuild trust in insurance, companies need to listen more carefully to what customers really want to know about their policies and give them the information right away, crisp and easy to understand. Peer-to-peer insurance models may not be the solution to all challenges of the insurance industry but they create the dynamic for a much needed change.

Veselina Milanova is a Ph.D. candidate and project manager at I.VW-HSG. Her research interests focus on the sharing economy, consumer decision making, and new business models in financial services.

Prof. Dr. Peter Maas is management professor at the University of St.Gallen and a member of the executive board of I.VW-HSG. His research encompasses customer value management, digital transformation, and trends in financial services.

The views expressed within the article do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Business.

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