Open Insurance is an Australian MGA offering embedded car, home and travel insurance products - they do this under their own brand Huddle and also they white-label for larger brands. InsTech’s Tara Allsopp spoke to co-founder Jason Wilby to discuss how embedded insurance can re-engage insurance customers and Open Insurance’s expansion into Europe
Tara: Can you introduce Open Insurance to those who are not familiar with the company?
Jason: Open Insurance was founded in 2016 and is a Sydney-based digital MGA. The company’s mission is “to provide the fastest insurance at the best price for the world, tackling customer experience and price whilst aiming to have a positive impact for people and the planet”. Huddle is Open Insurance’s direct to consumer brand operating across motor and home insurance. Huddle products are usually embedded across telecommunication partners, price comparison websites and online lenders. Open Insurance also offers the same products as white-labelled for insurance companies such as Medibank in Australia. We have just opened for business in New Zealand and the UK.
Tara: Jason, you have a background in consulting, how did you find yourself in insurance?
Jason: Working in management consulting and financial services exposed me to the way insurance is delivered to customers. At the most fundamental level, the insurance business model is a social good, allowing individuals to pool money and help each other out in the future. However, there appears to be a disconnect between how consumers perceive insurance products and the products’ actual purpose. The motivation for founding Open Insurance was to help consumers reconnect with this purpose of communal security.
Tara: So how is Open Insurance trying to solve this problem?
Jason: We focus out innovation on enhancing the customer experience and improving price, quite often doing both things at the same time. One way we are doing that is by automating simple claims using data more effectively, to give customers instant online claims decisions. Claims managers can therefore focus on more complex cases. When claims management is low touch Open Insurance can reduce the incurred cost which is passed onto policyholders. The embedded insurance model also enables us to make the products more accessible while at the same time reducing the traditional costs of sale too.
Tara: What products do Open Insurance currently offer?
Jason: Open Insurance offers car, home and travel insurance in Australia and New Zealand. The best-selling product in Australia is pay-as-you-drive car insurance which is a usage-based product. We also have smart home insurance products that reward customer using monitoring devices that detect fire, water damage and theft. Customers who take up this offer can reduce their premiums over time. As travel has restarted, Open Insurance is also reintroducing its travel insurance products to cover single and annual trips.
Tara: I see Open Insurance is a certified B-Corp; can you explain what this means and the motivation for becoming one?
Jason: Many companies set out to have a positive impact, but it can be hard to measure and manage this intent. B-Corp certified companies have made a legal commitment to transparently measure and demonstrate their social and environmental performance. B Labs provide the tools and independent assessment to help organisations like Open Insurance to ensure our business’ goals are more sustainable.
Tara: Why has Open Insurance decided to go down the embedded route?
Jason: Open Insurance has been embedding its products with our digital partners since 2016. By selling embedded products we have access to customer data from digital partners which enables Open Insurance to provide not just a better price but to configure products to customers’ needs too delivering fast, personalised products and experiences.
Tara: What kind of digital partners embed your products and how does Open Insurance decide who to work with?
Jason: Open Insurance is focused on partnering with companies that are confident in their brands and have strong digital capabilities. Any partner of ours must also be committed to providing value to the end customer, one of Open Insurance’s key principles.
Open Insurance’s biggest partner today is Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company. We also work with other telecommunication companies such as Vocus in New Zealand. Open Insurance is also partnering with health insurers in Australia, such as Medibank.
Tara: What new countries is Open Insurance expanding into?
Jason: We have recently set up in New Zealand and are now starting to expand into the UK. Both founders are originally from the UK. Building a base in the UK allows Open Insurance to expand into Europe and beyond. Open Insurance will go live in the UK in 2022 with white-label partners. We are also expecting to go live with Huddle by the end of 2022.
Tara: Why did Open Insurance decide to join InsTech?
Jason: Open Insurance is keen to partner with other insurtechs that can accelerate the company’s mission to solve the disconnect between consumers and insurance products. Specifically, Open Insurance is looking to work with other fintechs and insurtechs particularly those working with proprietary and third-party datasets. Open Insurance is also on the lookout for different distribution channel partners.