- Digital technologies are reshaping as much as disrupting insurance marketplace
- Insurtechs are working with established carriers rather than competing
- Investment in insurtech industry exceeded $5.5 billion in 2019, one-quarter from big carriers
- InsuraGuest currently offers products in two insurance sectors: hospitality and small business
- Plans to leverage digital platform to offer services in other insurance sectors
InsuraGuest Technologies (TSX.V: ISGI) (OTC: IGSTF) is one of a new breed of insurtech companies that are reshaping the insurance landscape. Like they have done in the financial-services sector “fintech,” digital technologies are being employed to improve the way products and services are delivered and much more.
InsuraGuest’s current products include Hospitality Liability coverages for hotels and the vacation rental market that offer protection for many risks not covered under the typical liability policy. The company also provides a Business Owner Policy (“BOP”) to serve the special needs of small business owners. Over time, ISGI also plans to offer the benefits of its insurtech platform to other sectors of the insurance market. The insurance industry is presently undergoing metamorphosis as established carriers incorporate new digital technologies into their existing operating systems. It is a reorganization that InsuraGuest plans to be part and parcel of.
The wave of transformation in the insurance industry is led, in the main part, by specialized tech companies, or insurtechs, such as Gusto, which provides health insurance; Lemonade, a provider of home insurance; and Next, which provides small business policies. Although many of these newcomers are intent on blazing trails of their own, others are working quietly with leading carriers.
Rather than acting as competitors to established insurers, these insurtechs are playing the role of enablers — and they have been welcomed with open arms. In 2019, a record $5.54 billion was invested in insurtech, about one-quarter of which came from big carriers (https://ibn.fm/wo17E). And despite the slowdown in activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, investment in the sector has continued at a healthy level, about $2.2 billion for the first half of 2020, says the Deloitte Center for Financial Services in a recent report.
Leading carriers have learned from the mistakes made by the financial services industry, which was caught flat-footed by the rapid fintech rise. As a result, the development of insurtech, while similar to fintech in some respects, is vastly different in one important way: carriers are partnering and even investing in insurtechs. Rather than displacing existing carriers, insurtech companies are working with established carriers, who are incorporating the new digital technologies “to reshape their entire operating models.” A senior PwC executive has defined the insurtech space as “being much more of a multibillion-dollar R&D facility than it is a competitive threat” (https://ibn.fm/1t6Tw).
The industry stalwarts are embracing the newcomers, realizing that by working with these innovators, they can upgrade at a faster rate than by attempting to develop the technologies in-house. The rewards are the ability to improve market segmentation capabilities and provide those segments with greater accessibility to products and services in addition to speeding up customer response times. The vision in some quarters, says the PwC executive, is for a “plug-and-play type of ecosystem” that allows carriers to be both “big and fast.”
InsuraGuest plans to leverage its digital platform to capitalize on these developments. Its insurtech system can be integrated with some 70 different hotel property management systems, including Oracle Opera, Hilton-ONQ, Springer-Miller Systems, Marriot Fosse, Marriott Full Service, Agilysys and Lightspeed GPS, providing potential access to over 40,000 properties. Its BOP, offered through a new portal — Insure the People — covers more than 130 class codes, including retail, wholesale, mercantile, office and business-service. As the wave of digitization in the insurance industry continues, InsuraGuest will undoubtedly be riding the crest.
For more information about the company, please visit www.InsuraGuest.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to ISGI are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/ISGI
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