Robin talks to Digital Insurance Group CEO Ingo Weber about helping insurers to innovate, joining the dots with APIs, and launching new propositions at both scale and speed.
Robin: What is the history of your company? Can you start by giving us some background on Digital Insurance Group?
Ingo: We merged two existing start-ups (Knip and Komparu) in 2017 to launch Digital Insurance Group. Our HQ is in Amsterdam and we have offices in Belgrade and Berlin. Komparu was a big player in comparison software and Knip was the first mobile insurance broker, so there were 10 years of insurtech experience between the two companies. Since then, we got Series A funding from Zurich Insurance and some leading VCs in Europe and the US.
Robin: And remind us what DIG does.
Ingo: DIG provides SaaS to insurers for all their distribution channels including embedded insurance solutions. Its customers are leading global insurers and their distribution partners, including banks, FinTechs, brokers, OEMs, retailers and any DTC brand. It is backed by leading VCs in Europe, US and by Zurich Insurance and operating in Europe (including UK), Latin America and Asia.
Even though we are a tech company, our ultimate mission is people-driven – to make a positive impact to the lives of millions of people by giving them access to the right insurance and peace of mind in a truly digital way.
Robin: What business problem are you solving?
Ingo: A lot of insurers, banks and brokers are faced with a large array of legacy systems, which hinders them from innovating quickly and launching new and innovative insurance solutions at scale.
DIG can enable these players to launch new propositions at speed since they can keep their current legacy systems and/or launch new greenfield approaches with DIG. That allows our clients to attract new clients by launching distribution channels or service-driven propositions, and it makes people loyal by having a better engagement, e.g. through ecosystem partners.
Robin: What products do you offer?
Ingo: We offer a frontend suite that is based on React and React Native, with a Quote & Buy module for both Life and non-Life products. Next to that, we offer customer portals, wallets, insurance ecosystems and agent and broker portals.
We have also built an API-first middleware that can connect to current legacy systems, third-party data sources like payment service providers or identity verification checks, and third-party ecosystem partners.
Our solutions are low-code and no-code which enables our clients to implement quickly. All our solutions can be delivered as stand-alone applications or can be fully embedded in other products and customer journeys.
Robin: How are insurance companies using your products? Where do they fit in?
Ingo: They fit into the digital sales and customer engagement part of an insurance company’s strategy, so really the (new) growth and revenue side. During the pandemic, the need for digital became indisputable and technology provides the opportunity to be in people’s lives more frequently.
Usually, our solutions are used on top of existing legacy systems and provide the ability to quickly launch a new channel or product. Our solutions are used for both Life and non-Life products as well as across distribution channels which include direct, bank, agents, brokers and affinity groups.
Robin: Which customers are you working with?
Ingo: We’re currently working with Zurich, Santander, Aon, Prudential, Deutsche Bank and Allianz.
Robin: How are you helping your customers to innovate?
Ingo: We help them by launching new innovative insurance propositions regardless of product, distribution channel or geography. Our API middleware gives easy access to ecosystem partners which we see as a great source of opportunity for insurers. Given our extensive experience in insurance, we can also advise our customers on what works and what doesn’t work in the modern marketplace.
Robin: Can you give us some examples of partners that DIG works with?
Ingo: We work with partners on the commercial and acceleration front to open up new markets and get introductions to decision-makers in the industry.
We are also working with consultancies and system integrators on joint offerings where they would work on the larger IT roadmap strategy with the customer, and DIG is used as an agile extension to achieve quick wins on the digital sales and customer engagement front.
We’re working with partners like Vitality and dacadoo on wellbeing propositions. With the latter we have used their Health Risk engine to build a lifestyle-based sales funnel and insurance product that include a few wellness related questions for personalised underwriting.
Robin: When are you coming to the UK?
Ingo: We did our first project for Zurich in the UK two years ago, so in that sense, we are there. However, we are currently investigating opportunities to enter the UK market in the second half of 2021.
Robin: Where are the biggest areas of opportunity for you?
Ingo: We want to build long-term collaboration agreements with larger UK-based insurers that have a broad product offering, multiple distribution channels and a regional or global scope.
We’re also looking to set up new relationships with ecosystem partners that have services that our clients can benefit from. With our API layer, we can easily be an orchestrator for different ecosystem partners.
Robin: What new areas are you expanding into?
We see that with the type of solutions we offer, insurers can get access to a new array of channels and consumer propositions. Embedded insurance seems to be the big thing at the moment, which in our view is not only a new channel to buy a product but also a chance to add services. We are doing that a lot in the health and life space. For example, we built a new life insurer that offering a simple life product but, in the customer experience has different service add-ons like a doctor online, telemedicine, health courses, specific treatments.
We combine a Vitality offering (or anything similar) with life insurance or health insurance, which of course is not new in the UK market. In essence this goes one step further and makes the insurer ‘integrate’ into the daily life of a consumer. Literally by rewarding him for activities done or trying to get him to do new activities.
Yet we see and hear that a lot of insurers are struggling to implement this in such a way that it adds to the brand experience of the insurance brand. In our solutions we bring those together in one customer portal or one app so that the insurer benefits directly. Even reinsurers like SCOR are exploring this route in their acquisition of tracking devices.
Our embedded insurance solutions also enable insurers to offer a differentiated pricing and more personalised services. We collaborated with dacadoo and their Health Risk engine which allowed us to build a sales funnel and include a few wellness related questions to personalise the underwriting. Which leads to lifestyle-based insurance. And you can even go one step further and make clear to clients what they could or should do to get a better quote. In reality this can be done either by getting the underwriters on board or use this as a sales& marketing team in your customer acquisition.
Robin: What emerging technology do you find most interesting?
Ingo: AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain and IoT are all buzzwords of the past years and we feel we have not even started to realise the potential of these yet. Most of the insurers we work for have tons of data but find it hard to access it due to their legacy systems. There is much to be done to help insurers with how to use AI and Machine Learning to better access and use this at scale and at speed.
At the same time new data sources emerge every day and IoT is becoming more and more relevant both for commercial and consumer uses. The pandemic has changed behavior too: cars were used less generating interest in usage based insurance and people are open to sharing data too, as they can see how it can help them.
Robin: Why did your company join InsTech London?
Ingo: We want to express our commitment to the UK market by joining one of the leading insurance ecosystems. We want to learn from other experts and insurtechs, build our brand in the UK market and get in touch with relevant decision-makers in the industry. InsTech London can make that happen.
Robin: What kind of companies/propositions would you like to connect with?
Ingo: We believe our products can help large insurers and banks like Aviva, AIG, Prudential, Direct Line, Legal & General, Standard Chartered, Barclays and Chubb, as well as their distribution partners like banks and retails. We’re also looking to connect with tier 2 insurers that are looking to grow through digital products and services.
We would love to do a PoC on the lifestyle based insurance solution we built with dacadoo. So, if you are a life and health insurer and open to this personalised way of underwriting and customizing sales to clients, or just want to learn more about what DIG can offer, please get in touch with us – [email protected].