The Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is disrupting our business and personal lives in ways we’ve never before experienced—and the situation is evolving rapidly. As I write this, the number of confirmed cases in the US is in the tens of thousands, and more than 13,000 lives have been lost around the world according to MarketWatch. A growing number of states, including DataCubes’ home state of Illinois, have issued lockdown orders for all but essential workers, and experts say a nationwide lockdown may soon be necessary as reported by Foreign Policy.
Determining a business’s risk profile is the heart of commercial P&C underwriting, but the research that goes into it is often tedious, time-consuming and error-prone. Underwriters may conduct dozens of web searches and direct numerous follow-up questions to the submitting agent as they work to build a comprehensive picture of the applicant company, its risks and its potential profitability as an insurance customer.
In insurtech as in other fields, implementations are often complex. It’s not unusual for problems to arise before a new solution is fully deployed, integrated with external technologies, and delivering robust business value.
DataCubes is in the midst of rapid growth, not only in the number of employees and customers but also in the maturity of our organization. One sign of the increasing maturity is the value placed in the creation of an established People Development function. I joined DataCubes two months ago as our first-ever Director of HR, with a mission to help manage and optimize our ongoing growth.
Last week’s blog took a look back at DataCubes’ 2019 highlights. In this blog, I’d like to focus on where the industry stands today and what’s ahead for insurtech and AI in 2020.
2019 was a pivotal year at DataCubes—one that saw our partners make great progress in transforming their underwriting businesses. The year also saw DataCubes continue our exponential growth while taking important steps to create further success in 2020.
DataCubes’ rapid growth shows there’s a real hunger for insurtech solutions that use sophisticated analytics to streamline and automate commercial underwriting. But breakthroughs in this field don’t come only from innovative startups like DataCubes. Academic institutions play an important role in the insurtech ecosystem. They introduce the next generation of insurance and insurtech leaders to recent machine learning methods and technologies, and expose them to current industry issues. They research and report on novel approaches to solving complex industry problems. They foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
Being a 10-year veteran of the insurance and financial services industries, I have seen hundreds of companies execute successful digital transformation initiatives, and others fail. After careful observation, I have discovered what characterizes a winner. Here are some of the best practices on how any carrier can help build insurtech success.
It’s not just insurance industry leaders who have taken notice of DataCubes’ role in modernizing commercial insurance. Computing industry giant Intel® –the company whose processors are “inside” most of the world’s computers and run a majority of real-world artificial intelligence – has also taken note. Allyson Klein, a marketing director at Intel, recently interviewed me for her Chip Chat podcast to learn how DataCubes uses AI techniques such as computer vision and machine learning, along with our unique data lake, to remove friction in the underwriting process.
Allyson was especially interested in hearing how DataCubes is helping underwriters win business by providing faster quotes based on a more complete and accurate assessment of the customer’s risk profile. I explained how DataCubes’ d3 Underwriting™ platform is able to streamline data gathering and add insurance-specific intelligence, providing our customers with an enriched view of the customer, scored to match the carrier’s risk profile.
We talked about how, in the words of one of our customers, we create super underwriters who can get through more quotes in a given time period and focus their efforts where they can be most effective. This in turn opens up a new world for carriers to drive profitable growth, introducing new products and services that are consistent with their brand and their growth strategy.
We also discussed how AI and Intel processors enable an emerging startup like DataCubes to innovate on a large scale and compete with some of the largest companies out there. ”It’s exciting to see the innovation you’re driving to such a large and important industry that’s been around for hundreds of years,” Allyson said.
Listen to the podcast here, or search for Intel Chip Chat Episode 670 on your favorite podcast app.
When you talk about insurtech innovation, many think of Silicon Valley as its natural geographic center. After all, Silicon Valley has been home to many great technology innovations dating back to World War II. To this day, it still gets a disproportionate share of VC funding and startup headlines. However, despite all the glory in Silicon Valley, the truth is the Midwest holds key advantages for an insurtech startup that many startups have yet to realize.