Peer to Peer Insurance Market Adoption on the Rise as Superior Transparency Regarding Premiums & Claims Receives Praise – Press Release

Peer to Peer Insurance Market, Spurred by Need to Eliminate Insurance Fraud, Expected to Post Strong Growth & Expansion Till 2022

According to the market research report “Peer to Peer Insurance Market: By model (Broker, Carrier and Stealth) and Geography – Forecast (2017 – 2022)”, published by IndustryARC, estimates that North America will be a key adopter of this practice during the forecast period.

Over the last few years, the Peer to Peer Insurance Market has been accused of being just a modern take on the ancient principle of sharing risk. The insurance industry has been known to be dull and ripe for disruption for a long time. The proliferation of technology has finally brought about the disruption in the form of peer insurance. Some of the best insurance companies, with a rich history, are now competing directly with P2P insurance companies and startups. The age of insurtech has begun. Currently, Lemonade is the only one to have an operating license in USA, but followers of peer to peer life insurance are beginning to pop-up all over the world. Thus, the Peer to Peer Insurance Market is excellently positioned to register strong growth during the forecast period.

Scope & Regional Forecast of the Peer to Peer Insurance Market

P2P insurance startups initially invited a lot of scepticism, but this has changed and several startups are expected to grab a significant market share from traditional insurers. Peer insurance has a lot going for it, including superior risk spread and management, dramatic reduction in insurance fraud, and raising the affordability levels of insurance. The Peer to Peer Insurance Market is largely restricted personal and small commercial offerings for now. But as the P2P principle grabs the limelight and the imagination of the wider industry, its offerings are also expected to expand and diversify into property, casualty as well as employment liability.

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The main attraction of the P2P insurance is the fact that policyholders get to enjoy a bigger piece of premiums pie, while the wealth managers looking to boost the profits of traditional insurance behemoths get a much smaller portion than they usually do. Another boost for the Peer to Peer Insurance Market comes in the form of the rapid adoption pace of Blockchain, which is an extremely powerful technology known for its high security and strong connecting capabilities. Different variations of this model are already being pursued by companies like Germany’s Friendsurance, where friends group together to insure each other’s liabilities. 

Segmentations & Key Players Involved in the Peer to Peer Insurance Market

The Peer to Peer Insurance Market can be broken down into various segmentations on the basis of –

  • Model: Broker, Carrier and Stealth.

  • Geography: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World.

Some of the key players involved in the Peer to Peer Insurance Market are as follows:

  • Lemonade

  • Riovic

  • Teambrella

  • Axieme

  • BitPark

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* The overall market has been consolidated from the perspective of different geographic locations and key economies for this market.

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* The study includes the demand of this particular market on a global and regional scale for a five year period of 2017 – 2022, to assess how the market will develop.

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Girls hack their way to Blockchain success

Melbourne Girls Grammar is committed to investigating opportunities around emerging and disruptive technologies including Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Blockchain technologies. When the opportunity arose to compete in the Smart Cities Blockchain Hackathon, students from Year 10 and VCE Algorithmics fearlessly leapt at the challenge, with the support of our Director of STEM, Ivan Carlisle.

Hosted by the Blockchain Association of Australia, the Smart Cities Blockchain Hackathon asks participants to “use the power of today’s emerging technologies to solve the problems of tomorrow”. The event invited bright minds to come together over the course of three days, to develop innovative solutions which introduce smart technologies to solve real world problems effecting our cities. Our ethical women of action formed two teams and competed amongst a field of predominantly professional participants, to develop decentralised applications with the objective of solving community problems.

The Melbourne Girls Grammar 2018 School Captain Millie Perkins was invited to be a member of a highly esteemed judging panel, including Chami Akmeemana – Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Australia, and Dr. Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer for the City of Palo Alto. In preparation for the Smart Cities Hackathon our students worked with the Blockchain Learning Group, who provide “blockchain education for developers by developers”. They also connected with the local blockchain developer ecosystem, and with an independent developer named Tom Nash. 

During the Hackathon one of the Melbourne Girls Grammar teams created a peer-to-peer insurance Decentralised Application (DAPP) called ‘Peak Medical Insurance’. It was a very topical choice given the frustration the community have with the rising costs of private health insurance. As they argued in their pitch, “smart cities consist of smart people prepared for any contingency, and to ensure our public health systems do not come under too much pressure there is a need for new models of private health cover”. Their innovative DAPP uses a series of Smart Contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain to facilitate trust and functionality for peers to pay premiums into a common fund that can only be accessed by valid claims assessed according to protocols and innovative community resourcing. Their DAPP disrupts the need for insurance companies and provides a full solution at the peer-to-peer level.

The second Melbourne Girls Grammar team created a publicly verifiable trusted voting DAPP called ‘MySay’. In their presentation, the girls contended that “by leveraging the functionality of Smart Contracts from the Ethereum Blockchain the MySay DAPP has the potential to cheaply and transparently facilitate voting at the local council level, thus shifting our representative democratic model to be a more participatory one.”  Overall the intended impact of this DAPP is to improve both public interest and youth engagement in our governing institutions, as well as build trust in the voting system.

Our ‘MySay’ team came in third place overall, receiving $2000 in prize money. We congratulate all teams that participated and we are truly proud of the achievements of all our students and the initiative that they are taking in embracing emerging technologies for the benefit of everyone.

Our girls also had the opportunity to network with professionals in the field at the Hackathon event, as well as explore career pathways with the diverse array of sponsors and partners. These included the Block Chain Learning Group, ANZ Bank, Sphere Identity, City of Kingston, Microsoft, RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, and the University of Melbourne, and speakers including Andrew Koay of OCBC Bank Singapore, and interested parties such as Hon Luke Donnellan the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety and Minister for Ports, and, the diverse array of hackathon participants. The feedback, encouragement and genuine engagement these professionals had with our students opened the minds of our girls to a world of new possibilities.

We are extremely proud of our girls for their fantastic efforts in a field that is predominately male. It is exciting for Melbourne Girls Grammar to be involved in fostering innovative technologies that can impact the community in such a positive way. This event has sparked the girls’ imaginations and they cannot wait for the next challenge that comes their way.

Sharing economy challenges insurers | IOL Personal Finance

The sharing economy poses big challenges for insurers: not only do they have to invent new products to service it, they also have to compete with start-ups offering sharing-economy alternatives to traditional insurance models.

This was the theme of a recent presentation by Daniel Breier and Kelcey Smith, respectively director and associate at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, titled “How the sharing economy is changing insurance: two waves of disruption”.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the sharing economy as “an economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the internet”. Breier and Smith add it is “the utilisation of unused or under-used capacity, with technology as a backbone, often managed by a digital host or platform that brings the parties together without owning the product being shared”.

The first wave of the sharing economy has been the emergence of platforms offering shared products and services to which insurers will have to adapt. This wave has already affected our lives quite dramatically, with the likes of Airbnb in the accommodation and Uber in the transportation spheres. A wide range of services is now available online, from hiring a poodle for temporary animal companionship, to providing temporary funding by way of a peer-to-peer loan.

Breier and Smith say the sharing economy has given rise to regulatory headaches and complex legal problems. They say many commentators are of the view that the biggest obstacle to the smooth functioning of the sharing economy is, in fact, insurance.

Commercial providers of products and services have a well-established set of risk-protection measures at their disposal, within a legislative framework, to protect themselves and their customers. But the picture changes completely when private individuals provide a product or service, and they may find out the hard way that their insurance policies do not cover their commercial activities.

Take liability in the case of someone who suffers injury or financial loss. What protection is there, for example, for a property owner who lets out a flat through Airbnb and whose guest has a party, causing extensive damage to the flat? Or for an Uber driver who has an accident and faces an injury claim from a passenger?

Standard personal lines policies, Breier and Smith say, are not designed for “occasional sharing” practices that involve financial gain. For example, a vehicle is not covered under a regular car policy if it is used to carry passengers who pay a fare. A commercial policy would be an expensive option for the car owner, who may drive the car for his personal use 95% of the time.

The challenge for insurers, Breier and Smith say, is to bridge the gap between personal and commercial insurance, through adapting their products or developing new ones. A large American insurer has introduced an add-on option to its traditional household contents policy that covers certain commercial activities for a low additional premium.

But insurers also face, in a second wave of disruption, peer-to-peer insurance models offered by start-ups. In other words, they face the threat of shared economy enveloping the insurance industry itself. Peer-to-peer models range from an unregulated stokvel-type arrangement where risk is shared among peers to a behaviour-modification model in which risk is transferred to an institution, Breier and Smith say (see “peer-to-peer insurance platforms”, below).

Not everything will go smoothly for the disrupters, they say. Uber, for instance, faces tighter regulation in South Africa as taxi drivers’ livelihoods are threatened, and in London its licence application was rejected, because it was alleged that Uber did not provide sufficient safety and security for passengers.

PEER-TO-PEER INSURANCE MODELS

There has been some difficulty in applying a peer-to-peer model to insurance, Daniel Breier and Kelcey Smith say, because insurance is largely about covering infrequent but large, unexpected losses, which require a large institutional balance sheet. But various models have sprung up, with differing levels of institutional involvement. Three examples are:

• Teambrella, a Russian website, offers a simple stokvel-type, unregulated risk-sharing arrangement. Participants of a group donate to a Bitcoin wallet, and claims can be paid only with the consent of the group. Each group on the app has its own rules regarding the payment of claims.

• Friendsurance, a hybrid model that originated in Berlin, requires individuals within a group to pay a regular premium. The premium is split: a portion goes to buy traditional insurance and a portion goes into a savings, or Cashback, pool. Small claims are paid from the Cashback pool, whereas larger ones are covered by the traditional insurer. Anything left in the Cashback pool at the end of the year goes back to the group members.

• Lemonade, based in New York, is built more on the traditional model and attempts to modify the behaviour of its users in order to lower claim payouts. People signing up pay 20% of their premium to Lemonade, 40% to a reinsurance company and 40% into a give-back pool. Instead of policyholders receiving surplus cash from the give-back pool, the money goes to a nominated charity or cause. The theory, backed by behavioural economist Dan Ariely, is that, because a charity is benefiting, there is no incentive for a user to cheat the system.

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Financial services for black African women

Although South Africa’s Constitution gets high marks when it comes to demanding gender equality and women’s rights, the daily lived reality of most women in this country is far removed from these ideals. 

With black African women representing more than half of the emerging mass market, the financial services industry may well have underestimated their economic importance for SA’s future. 

The harsh reality is that the current First World model of financial planning does little to address the type of financial needs that is particular to this part of the population. 

This is desperately needed if we are going to ensure that there is some level of social and financial mobility and stability.

Consider the challenges they face. This group bears the brunt of rising “single parenting” – irrespective of marital status (even when married, they are likely to live apart from their partner, exacerbated by the migrant labour system). 

This is the locus for long-term care-giving of extended families (colloquially known as “black tax”) and looking after old parents who often move in as old-age homes are yet to gain cultural acceptance (the “sandwich generation”). 

These women may not meet the means test for child support grants and their finances are often stretched to cover childcare costs and to be able to work, especially in urban areas. 

Yet, self is often considered last by this group, with their insurance/investing needs narrowly constrained to stokvels and burial societies. This can and should be scaled up.

Clearly the one-size-fits-all approach of a First World financial planning model will not work for these women – nor will it grow the industry as a whole. 

Such models, which assume nuclear family structures and life cycle of events, fall far short in terms of providing flexibility to suit an “on-again/off-again” work trajectory.
 
Similarly, they often fail to address what is valued most by this population. 

There is little merit in simply criticising “black tax”, overindebtedness, or the excessive purchase of funeral policies, when the industry does little to understand the role these constructs play in an economy where the majority of the population have been unable to accumulate assets for multiple generations.
 
Likewise, a singular focus on long-term savings for retirement does little if it’s not paired with short-term flexible solutions that allow families to address financial emergencies or work interruptions. 

But the industry also falls short in terms of recognising what astute savers these women can actually be. 

What they may lack in terms of financial know-how, these women often make up for with a commitment to providing for a prosperous future for their children as evidenced by anecdotes of domestic workers or street vendors whose children are the first in their families to graduate from tertiary institutions. 

We need more solutions to help them achieve those goals. 

What could a better solution potentially look like?

The key is having a financial plan that better addresses appropriate core (have-to-have) insurance/investing needs and ancillary (nice-to-have) ones: in other words, bucket expected future liabilities and set up insurance and investments over a lifetime given the limited wealth in SA. 

At the core would be basic medical aid for all required dependents. This would cover hospital plans, but allow for more comprehensive options as circumstances change. 

Next, funeral expenses should be covered through family burial societies (pooled savings for funerals), which foster social cohesion and may be augmented by other funeral plans, underwritten as part of life cover where possible. 

And finally, there should also be an effective savings vehicle. Stokvels currently fill this space admirably. 

In spite of being classified as “informal” savings, stokvel savings have legitimacy in that they are cost-effective, trusted, and foster an effective model of appropriate fiscal responsibility through peer pressure.
 
While stokvels are not without risks, perhaps it’s time that the South African financial services industry recognise that the stokvel model fills a critical gap from a servicing perspective. 

With “disruption” the prevailing buzzword, perhaps it’s time we consider innovative ways of offering value-added services such as financial education, regular investment updates or developing peer-to-peer (P2P) insurance through the stokvel model. 

P2P insurance, also known as “friendsurance”, is simply the age-old mutual society, but is seen globally as a disrupter of traditional insurance. 

Similarly, for burial societies, the insurance sector can operate alongside these groups as a reinsurer to smooth out the volatile claims experience. 

This represents a win-win for all players and creates a bridge between the “formal” and “informal” financial systems. 

The next level in financial planning should be life cover for the woman herself as a means of passing on wealth to the next generation. 

This should be kept separate from the group life cover given the fluid employment situation of black African women. 

Any reasonable amount should help the next generation to “class-creep” and hopefully escape the poverty quagmire of their parents. 

Pressuring women into taking up more insurance (unless there is car and home ownership) should be avoided. This additional cover can be expensive, require advice and can be difficult to access at claim stage leading to a trust deficit with the industry.
 
Beyond this, our model could address investments for asset creation with any commensurate protection of these assets. 

Here the objective would be to consider a goals-based framework that could be appropriately adjusted for the time-frame required to fund family members’ educational requirements, the deposit for a car or home, or additional funding to meet long-term healthcare needs.
 
It’s time we move to financial planning models that address South African problems. A pragmatic approach that moves humanity forward in this southernmost tip of Africa would probably find universal appeal and be implemented.

Otherwise the financial services industry short-changes both itself and its clients.

Ndivhuho Makhuvha is a financial risk manager at Hollard Insurance.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of Collective Insight, which appears in the 19 October edition of finweek. Buy and download the magazine here.

Singapore insurers must innovate

Without innovation, insurance companies risk losing their relevance in the disrupted industry.

By Joelyn Chan

For decades, insurance giants like Great Eastern, AIA and Prudential were Singaporeans’ favourites. Buying insurance policies from an insurance agent recommended by family and friends seemed to be an unstoppable convention. However, in recent years, the industry’s profitability and attractiveness have been going downhill.

Singapore’s general insurance industry has been troubled with a slower growth rate in 2016. Total gross premiums fell below the 1.1% increase in 2015 and increased marginally by 0.6% to S$3.7 billion (US$2.74 billion) in 2016. Underwriting profit fell 16.8% year on year. The foreseeable future is bleak, and the local insurance companies need to reevaluate their game plan. It is unwise to justify their declining performances with an economy’s maturity or sluggish growth.

Source: MAS

The regulators, such as Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA), adopt a reactive stance. The regulators’ apparent lack of proactive and forward-thinking mindset leaves consumers with little expectations for change or progress. A shock migration of 300 Great Eastern (GE) agents to the newly established AIA Financial Advisers triggered LIA’s most recent policy review. With close to 10% of GE agents switching company, their policyholders are very likely to be affected.

Sources: MAS, Straits Times, LIA

Composition of policies by different distribution channels will change

Tied representatives signed 53% of the new insurance policies in 2017, followed by bank and financial representatives, and lastly direct sales products. This proportion will change, as we see new Insurtech players taking a share of the pie and offer competitive insurance products. They also pressure the incumbents to improve and speed up their adoption of digitalisation. If the existing players merely redefine the protection gap and launch plans to enhance customer-centrism, they are set to lose their market dominance in Singapore.

According to management consulting firm Synpulse, only 4% of Singapore’s all new life insurance business premiums were sold through digital direct channels in 2015.  In the same year, leading local insurer, Aviva had opened a “digital garage” to develop digitally-enabled insurance services, such as artificial intelligence (AI) chat box and pay-as-you-use insurance. The trend is picking up speed, as Singapore’s insurance economy matures. Technological advances also help to transform customers’ purchasing experience.

Mr Patrick Teow, President of LIA Singapore, said, “Life insurers are increasingly leveraging digitalisation to innovate and respond to these fundamental changes.” It is only a matter of time that digital Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) insurance purchases become prevalent in tech-savvy Singapore. Digitalisation will help firms to stay relevant, but the firms must never rest on their laurels. As aptly expressed by Summit Planners, “We must never underestimate the power and growth potential of insurtech firms.”

Summit Planners is an avant-garde organisation with an aim to be the one-stop provider of integrated financial services. On top of their suite of consultancy services, they distribute insurance policies by Sompo and Allied World. Such positioning and overseas presences give more credibility and assurance to its clients, as they are not hard-selling a policy to gain commission.

Evolution of the insurance scene happens in a multidimensional space; the champion will be one that preempts and surpasses their customers’ needs. KPMG predicts cross-industry technologies like AI, health tech, automotive telematics and the use of commercial drones, will be applied to the insurance sector. With the wealth management scene welcoming their first generation of robo-advisers, what less can we expect from the insurance industry?

Singapore is a hotbed for Insurtech investments

In 2016, Insurtech Asia’s entry had jumpstarted the whole Singapore ecosystem. Excluding industry enablers, incubators and accelerators, Singapore’s Insurtech landscape has more than 30 players. Insurtech firms typically choose Singapore as their headquarters, while they explore neighbouring markets. For example, GoBear – an insurance aggregator, has expanded to serve Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The sector’s untapped potential attracts increased funding from overseas investors. Singapore Life is a local Insurtech startup, which raised a blockbuster S$70 million (US$51.9 million) in a series A funding round. With its direct life insurance license granted, the firm offers universal life products, standalone term insurance with associated riders, investment-linked plans and wrappers, as well as endowment assurance. It also partners existing banks like DBS and reinsurers like Munich RE and taps on technological know-how from its investors, Chong Sing Holdings FinTech Group Ltd and IPGL Holdings.

Aside from new funding milestones, there are also novel insurance developments in Singapore. The current diversity suggests that more firms should jump onto the bandwagon as Singapore is nowhere near the saturation point. Peer-to-peer insurance firm Bandboo launched its unemployment insurance and retrenchment benefits in May 2017. Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University has partnered MSIG Insurance and four global industry players to develop an efficient cyber-risk insurance market using cyber loss data and analytics. These advances provide plentiful of choices to meet consumers’ needs better. Partnerships with established re-insurers or insurance firms generate more platforms for innovation, as the incumbents may feel less threatened.

During General Insurance Association (GIA)’s 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee Gala Dinner, Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted the importance of the general insurance industry’s need to adapt and develop insurance solutions to manage new and emerging risks for the economy.

The disruption has begun, and the new Insurtech firms will continue to alter the insurance landscape. Like it or not, the existing players need to play their cards right or risk being made irrelevant.

Gibraltar’s landmark regulation makes it the home of blockchain and DLT legislation backed by Ellul & Co

Ellul & Co Team

The Ellul & Co Team making DLT in Gibraltar Possible

Crypto Advisor Trent Challis, commented: “DLT Regulation will mean individuals and companies have confidence in the fact that if they select a Gibraltar-licensed DLT firm they have regulatory principles attached. It sends the message that Gibraltar understands DLT and removes the grey area from DLT”

Ellul & Co, the leading Gibraltar law firm with a heritage stretching back to 1973, has given its full support to the country’s new regulatory framework for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) business, such as the blockchain which supports many cryptocurrencies.

Gibraltar, the British territory, has made headline news in the cryptocurrency world after becoming the first to create a comprehensive regulation for DLT or blockchain businesses that is set to be developed further on the landmark regulation already created aiming within the next year to provide a gateway for Ethereum Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) which are banned in locations such as China and South Korea, and offering them a trustworthy destination.

Ellul & Co has laid out in detail how it expects the new regulations, which were unveiled on (Thursday) 12th October, will benefit Gibraltar as it becomes the first jurisdiction to introduce laws to regulate all types of DLT business.

The laws will come into effect in January 2018, and the reputed legal experts – who specialise in corporate and commercial projects, admiralty and shipping, company management and yacht/ship registration – have highlighted the significance of Gibraltar introducing the comprehensive regulatory framework. While limited regulation of certain DLT use cases has been applied in a small number of locations, no set of laws such as those which will be implemented in Gibraltar have been seen up until now.

Gibraltar – both its government and financial regulator, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) – has recognised that DLT is already providing innovative and transformational changes in the business world. DLT and the blockchain it enables are the backbone of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which are currently making big waves in investment circles. Gibraltar and Ellul & Co are embracing DLT and believe that the framework can only be beneficial as the country seeks to create an environment which is both safe and well regulated for DLT-based businesses.

Ellul & Co and the government of Gibraltar has specified that the new law provides for the regulation of any person or company “carrying on by way of business, in or from Gibraltar, the use of distributed ledger technology for storing or transmitting value belonging to others”.

If businesses conduct their operations from Gibraltar, they will be subject to regulation, and these types of companies can include: Centralised virtual currency (VC) scheme administrators, custodian VC wallet providers, non-custodian VC wallet service providers, clearing and settlement systems, trading platforms, VC exchanges, peer-to-peer VC exchange platform operators, holdings, remittance service providers, B2B payment network operators, payment service providers, escrow service providers, issuers of asset-backed tokens, issuers of income distribution tokens, custodian VC wallet providers, issuers of devices containing pre-loaded VC, issuers of VC vouchers and pre-loaded paper wallets, issuers of unregulated securities, peer-to-peer gaming platform operators and peer-to-peer insurance platforms.

With one eye on the future, Ellul & Co has confirmed that the Gibraltar government and GFSC are in agreement that the framework should be flexible enough to adapt to new use cases of DLT, and able to respond to the change that will inevitably lie ahead. Ellul & Co believes that this is a key consideration when planning to accommodate the evolutionary nature of the DLT sector.

The Gibraltar government has announced nine regulatory principles which, under the new framework, DLT firms in Gibraltar must now adhere to. They are as follows:

1.    Conduct their business with honesty and integrity.

2.    Pay due regard to the interests and needs of each and all its customers and communicate with them in a way that is fair, clear and not misleading.

3.    Maintain adequate financial and non-financial resources.

4.    Manage and control their business effectively, and conduct its business with due skill, care and diligence; including having proper regard to risks to its business and customers.

5.    Have effective arrangements in place for the protection of customer assets and money when they are responsible for them.

6.    Have effective corporate governance arrangements.

7.    Ensure that all of their systems and security access protocols are maintained to appropriate high standards.

8.    Have systems in place to prevent, detect and disclose financial crime risks such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

9.    Be resilient and have contingency arrangements for the orderly and solvent wind down of its business.

Recognising that the framework should be relative to the size of businesses, as well as their profile and model, the GFSC has stated that it will reserve the right to apply conditions proportionately. The GFSC made the stipulation on conditions such as “those relating to use case, business model, market, geographical exposure, product, service, size of firm, scale of operation, management experience and track record, and financial and technical risk. Such conditions and restrictions may be applied to all DLT firms, to a single firm or to groups of firms, or by category of firm, use case, business model or risk profile, or by type of product and service provided.”

Ellul & Co is adamant that the case for regulation is compelling, especially in light of possible scenarios such as the money laundering which was reported to have been carried out by Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, highlighting the risks involved with DLT businesses.

It is expected that the new set of regulations will be a clear demonstration of Gibraltar’s understanding of DLT business, and an important signal that the country is taking an innovative approach which could see it develop into a fully regulated, global cryptocurrency hub. Other jurisdictions are working towards similar aims but the Gibraltar government and Ellul & Co are proud to have got there first.

Cryptocurrency Advisor Trent Challis, commented: “DLT Investors can now have confidence in the fact that if they select a Gibraltar-licensed DLT firm and are actively supervised and have regulatory principles attached. It sends the message that Gibraltar understands DLT business, embraces innovation and is willing and able to license good quality firms.”

He concluded: “Our DLT firms will have credibility and the confidence of their customers; central features of any successful business. Such firms will find a comfortable home in Gibraltar.”

Pineapple Peer to Peer Insurance Interview


We interview Pineapple, a peer-to-peer decentralised Insurance Platform that is set on disrupting the risk industry. Please turn on the captions/subtitles as the audio quality is poor.

Here is a link to their Website:

Mobile innovations bring change to insurance agency employees

The insurance industry is notorious for its slow processing times, tedious paperwork and endless frustrations as customers wait to speak to representatives and adjusters about their claims. However, mobile innovations have been quietly remaking this industry for years, bringing fundamental changes to how employees set about their daily tasks.

Today’s insurance agents possess plenty of tools that help streamline their work, speed up processing and provide more efficient service. This also helps organizations save money while improving the overall customer experience.

Ultimately, the hope is that embracing technology makes insurance a simpler, more customer-friendly product that offers greater customization and affordability. Here are some of the significant changes mobile innovation has brought to transform insurance companies into digital workplaces:

Mobile tools to process insurance claims

Insurance claims can be famously slow, arduous and frustrating, especially when consumers are waiting for employees to approve the costs of repairs and medical procedures. In the past, it was routine for customers to spend days waiting for adjusters to make onsite visits to the locations of car crashes, gather information and complete their reports.

However, mobile technology has expedited this process. Consumers can use their smartphones and mobile insurance apps to share information with claims adjusters faster, and these adjusters can combine this information with their own mobile tools to process claims faster and resolve open cases.

As regulatory standards catch up with mobile technology, claims adjusters also have access to additional data sources to build comprehensive pictures of events and provide faster, more efficient services. The end result is more efficient, productive workers and better customer experiences driven by technology.

CRM solutions to grow clientele

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a cornerstone of any insurance business, since managing relationships is key to any company’s success. According to Farm Bureau Financial Services, a CRM platform that organizes clients and consolidates information helps agents complete this work with greater efficacy and efficiency.

With a mobile CRM solution in place, insurance employees can quickly view customer profiles, policy information, past interactions, claims and other pertinent information. Through the use of a CRM, agents can work faster and provide greater personalization for each customer while also facilitating better communication.

The rise of peer-to-peer insurance

Mobile innovations are disrupting the traditional broker-based approach to insurance. Peer-to-peer insurance is a form of insurance that uses crowdsourcing and social networking to help customers organize themselves into risk pools.

Instead of relying on big data to optimize premiums and assess risk for a large body of policyholders, P2P models give customers greater control over the costs of their insurance and their inherent risks while improving the transparency and efficiency of each policy, according to Insurance Business Magazine.

P2P insurance offers an element of self-service built on mobile technology, but insurance companies can get their hands into the pot by offering these products to a low-cost, mostly self-sufficient pool of customers.

Mobile analytics to drive improved customer service

Customer service has always been a struggle for insurance companies. The process often moves too slowly for customers recovering from accidents or waiting for prescriptions to be covered. In addition, these customers often don’t contact insurance companies unless they need to file a claim or are struggling to get compensation, which means most of the communication between insurers and customers begins from a place of frustration, confusion or stress.

Digital technologies are helping insurance companies improve customer service and the overall customer experience. Advanced analytics can leverage a wide range of mobile technologies to gather more data and expedite the customer service process. Auto insurance companies use data collection in vehicles to monitor consumer driving habits, allowing them to make smarter recommendations for products based on the customer’s needs. It’s also possible for health wearables such as Fitbits to monitor basic health vitals to assess risk and even prompt consumers to make preventative trips to a doctor.

Ultimately, this use of analytics and data could help customers reduce the risk of accidents and even lower premiums, while insurance companies can save on claims and expedite the claims review process.

For agents, adjusters and other insurance industry workers, mobile technology is bringing fundamental changes to day-to-day operations. Fortunately, what’s good for these workers is also good for consumers, as the insurance industry keeps finding new ways to build a more efficient, cost-effective and customer-friendly business strategy, all thanks to innovative mobile technology.

Finally! A primer on cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) you will actually get, promise

Scott Stevenson was pretty uneasy the first time be bought Bitcoin.

“I thought I’d be shooting myself in the foot a week later for wasting money on computer cash, internet money,” he said, laughing.

But two years later, he’s a believer. In fact, he’s now an architect in a cryptocurrency system, programming peer-to-peer contracts that are paid with digital cash. So we went to him for a primer on cryptocurrencies — what they are and what someone might want to consider before dipping a toe in.

He’s in for the money, but he also sees cryptocurrencies changing the way we live and the way do business. “It’s about a lot more than just Bitcoin for me,” he said. “I have great faith in the technology, long term.”

What the heck is this stuff?

For those still baffled by what cryptocurrency actually is, you are not alone. Think of it as digital cash – in a sense, Stevenson was right to call it “computer cash” or “internet money.” It’s a peer to peer currency, with no central authorities like banks or governments controlling or regulating it. Its value is determined by how many people are buying it and using it, and how many new coins are in circulation.

Like cheques, it’s clear who the money is going to and who it is from. But unlike cheques, there are no banks or central authorities holding the money.

Instead, there is a huge network of computers running special bitcoin mining software. Those computers know how much bitcoin is floating around, what it’s worth and who owns it. With this information, they maintain public ledgers, which are readable by anyone.

Bitcoin value changes when a new coin is “released” into the network. This happens when one of the computers on the network solves an extremely complex computation — the  puzzle created every time a bitcoin transaction goes down. Once the computer solves that puzzle, a coin is released in the network. That change in supply, combined with the demand, affects the value of the currency – inflation, really – which triggers a change in the ledgers.

Bitcoin was the first system that could make sure a coin given to one person really was different than a coin given to someone else.

People tend to be attracted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency systems like Ethereum because there is no central regulator. The coin value won’t be affected by stock market drops or government meddling, and the public ledgers, they say, make it all transparent.

Keep it cool

However, investing in cryptocurrencies isn’t for the faint of heart. They’re volatile – some days their value can swing wildly, going up by 20 per cent and fall back down within just an afternoon.

On the first day of 2017, one Bitcoin was worth $997.69 USD. On September 22 it’s worth $3,560.

“Battling your emotions and learning to suppress your emotions is maybe the most important and hardest battle of it,” said Stevenson. “The biggest thing I learned is to just have a plan.”

Make a plan

To make that plan, start by asking yourself how much money you’re comfortable losing – Stevenson suggests that’s the amount you ought to invest.

You should also figure out whether you’re in it for the long haul or whether you want to play the game day-by-day. Most people with regular jobs, said Stevenson, aren’t going to have the time (or the nerves) to check in on the coin market multiple times a day. But if you decide to be an active trader, Stevenson says to be careful.

“You are competing against other very smart and dedicated traders,” he said. “Most consumers lose to these active traders, just like the stock market.”

Stevenson recommends setting solid parameters: decide what return you’ll be happy with, what you won’t be happy with and when you’ll sell.

Ready to buy?

When you’re ready to make a purchase, keep an eye on the news.  

“Be weary of the hype,” he said. “I found the best times to buy is when people are not talking about cryptocurrencies. Try not to invest when everyone around you is investing.”

Right now, Bitcoin is in the news because the Chinese government banned all trading of cryptocurrencies. Stevenson advises to let that play out a bit before dropping a coin in your virtual wallet.

Eyes on the prize

As far the hype goes about the Bitcoin boom being a soon-to-burst bubble, Stevenson isn’t too concerned. Sure, he might lose some money, and he certainly enjoys making it.

But in a sense, he sees his investments in cryptocurrencies as investment in their potential and the future they could help create.

“Bitcoin is built on technology that is de-centralizing many legal and financial services,” he said. “It’s enabled a lot of early adopters to get a lot of money that they’re now investing in building new applications like peer-to-peer insurance and peer-to-peer loans.”

Even if Bitcoin completely collapses, Stevenson says there will still be a payoff.

“From that of rubble, the long-term good apps will come out of it,” he said. “The Facebooks and Googles of the world will climb out of it and stand the test of time. Those that do will drastically change how we live our financial and legal lives.”

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.

 

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SOURCE The Zebra

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