Dragging insurance out of the stone age: Insly
Fintech’s speed of growth hasn’t just surprised the technology sector but the global market too. It wasn’t that long ago when tapping cards to pay for coffee was an idea in a sci-fi writer’s mind. Today, in London at least, contactless payments are ubiquitous. It’s this breakneck speed which makes the insurance sector so curious - when everything else in fintech is in warp speed - why is insurance stuck in the stone age?
“Insurance brokers and agents use pen and paper because they don’t have anything else - there’s no cost efficient solution available”
says Risto Rossar, CEO of Insly. It’s an insurance-software startup from Estonia that’s spun off from IIZI Group - one of the fastest growing insurance intermediaries in the Baltic region.
‘The industry needs to change - otherwise, in principle, they will die - insurance companies aren’t very innovative but at least they have the money and with it they can invest'
It’s no secret that the insurance business has struggled to keep up with the pace. Cost, inertia and a complex market are all to blame. There isn’t a dominant software provider, in the way SAP and Oracle control the biggest slices of the ERP pie and the market is made up of millions of small agents and brokers. They lack the cash, the knowledge and the willingness to adopt a new system and more often than not they’ve worked the same way for a number of years - making a big transition to a new system an unappetising prospect.
A complete insurance management system can be prohibitively expensive (the few that exist can demand a six-figure sum). And while an excel spreadsheet might sufficiently do the job - it inherently lacks features specific to insurance.
What Insly does isn’t a revolution in insurance software - it manages the brokering process: policies, sales, customer billing, reporting and CRM. It does it for a low fixed monthly cost - and delivers itself through Google Cloud.
What is revolutionary is that nobody’s done this before. Insly is sold at a price point which makes it attractive to small brokers (according to Insly’s maths, charging €39/month to every potential customer makes this a €2.4 billion industry) - and delivers access through the cloud - negating the need for upgrading hardware or new systems.
Running on top of Google Cloud also gives it the horsepower to scale up as the business grows.
Now, of all times, felt like the appropriate time to talk about security concerns of the cloud.
’95% of the world’s agent and brokers are small companies - for them - it’s more than enough security - it’s much, much better than what they have currently. In principle this is the best they can have.’
“I’m a big believer that regulators are killing the industry for agents and brokers”
These are strong words and Risto speaks without hesitation. Having been the CEO of IIZI Group for almost 15 years he is familiar with the ongoing battle between regulators and businesses.
‘The regulator is trying to protect the client - but they’re overloading the small companies - making them comply with a lot of regulation - taking up a lot of their time,’ he adds.
Insly won’t change the way regulators work - regulators work for the benefit of the consumer not the business. But Insly helps brokers with the paperwork they need to produce by automating those processes.
“My personality is about starting something new and changing the world”
Risto is acutely aware of the need for constant change and adaptation to succeed. When IIZI reached its potential in Estonia and Latvia - Risto decided to spin off the engine of his company and form Insly - rather than try to grow IIZI in a saturated market.
Now Insly is being used by 60 brokers in 6 different countries. They’ve even been deployed by AON, the insurance powerhouse, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Their biggest client is churning out 100,000 policies a month with Insly software.
Things are looking bright, Insly could just drag insurance out of the stone age.