Insurtech, is it a threat or an opportunity? Industry sentiment is increasingly shifting toward the latter but many insurers and brokers remain fearful of its impact on the traditional insurance distribution model.
Ted Devine, CEO of Insureon, an online small business insurance agency, sees it differently. He’s not a fan of being called a “disruptor,” because he doesn’t believe companies like his should be feared.
“I’m not trying to disrupt, I’m trying to enable. I’m trying to make the customer buying experience better for the carriers that I partner with,” said Devine.
Insureon’s ability to do this, however, took some convincing. According to Devine, when the company first started six years ago, carriers were skeptical that online delivery of small business insurance could be done effectively without commoditizing the space.
“There was skepticism. They [carriers] had seen what happened in the UK and in personal lines and said (a) we don’t want to become commoditized, and (b) our product is more sophisticated than a personal auto product,” he said.
Devine explained the first couple years was about convincing carriers that electronic delivery, or internet based delivery, of insurance was something small business owners would embrace.
“The early issue was getting the carriers to believe this was a channel that was super viable,” said Devine. ”Now, I think it’s completely different, everybody believes it is viable. Now it’s, ‘What do we do? Do we go direct ourselves? Do we partner with somebody link Insureon? What parts of the business system do we focus our digitization effort on?’”