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Global funding for insurance technology is booming. Following a record-breaking $7.4 billion raised in the first half of 2021, insurtechs pulled in another $3.1 billion in the third quarter, according to Willis Towers Watson. That’s a 23% increase over the same period last year and the second largest funding total of any quarter on record.
Here in Canada, insurtech investment has helped sustain everything from underwriting platforms for property intelligence to suites of artificial intelligence tools for automating business processes. To settle on the 5-Star Insurance Technology Providers for 2021, IBC surveyed brokers and insurtechs to find out which companies are truly transforming the industry.
Meeting market needs
APRIL Canada’s APRIL ON platform, which launched in 2020, offers a prime example of how new solutions can merge digital capabilities and human expertise. APRIL ON empowers brokers to receive quotes in three minutes across several lines of business, including personal marine, residential, personal auto, contractors, COC, student housing, E&O and cyber. Unlike other tools, APRIL ON can generate premium estimates after approximately five questions and has the ability to automatically decline a risk, saving valuable time for brokers.
“At APRIL, we put broker understanding at the heart of everything we do, and it has been central to the APRIL ON project,” says Daphné de Vitton, CEO of APRIL Canada. “Consumer research, observing the way brokers work and co-creative initiatives helped APRIL ON address broker pain points, especially the need for fast turnaround in a hard market context. This research phase helped our in-house digital team develop a relevant tool.
“With now almost 40 products online, 3,500 broker accounts and generating over $2 million in premium so far this year, the portal built its success on intuitive use and fast response time. We continuously improve APRIL ON by releasing new versions every two weeks.”
Fellow 5-Star Insurance Technology Provider Insurego is also on a mission to help brokers save time with its Kamillio platform, which consolidates a dozen inefficient business management systems (BMS) into a single streamlined solution.
“The Kamillio platform streamlines the quote and buy process, as well as automating the renewals and remarketing of existing policyholders,” says Insurego founder and CEO Morgan Girouard. “Our platform automates time-consuming administrative task while consolidating multiple systems to a single platform to deliver a more streamlined experience to clients and brokers.”
Mark Morissette, co-founder and CEO of Foxquilt, says his company’s February 2021 launch of the Foxden underwriting platform originated from a gap in insurance provisions for small businesses. Foxquilt sought to provide these businesses with choice and convenience through modular, customizable and cost-effective insurance policies.
“Instead of one-size-fits-all packages, we help simplify the lives of small business owners and give back control in their hands,” Morissette says. “We use a combination of data analytics and artificial intelligence to recommend the best insurance coverage and price to meet the individual needs of small business customers. Foxquilt is the first in Canada to provide small business insurance entirely online; users can quote, purchase and receive their policy through Foxquilt’s online platform. Not only can customers purchase their business insurance all online, in minutes, our modular platform recommends users only the coverages they need, making sure they’re fully protected without overpaying.”
From theory to practice
It’s easy for new tech innovations to sound good on paper, of course – but actually living up to the hype is another matter. All of this year’s 5-Star Insurance Technology Providers have delivered on their promises with impressive track records for their technology.
More than 3,500 brokers throughout Canada have joined the APRIL ON platform since its launch 18 months ago, and more than 40% of APRIL Canada’s gross written premium is now handled online. Since June 2020, APRIL ON has quoted more than 70% of business in less than two hours and 90% in less than one business day – meeting brokers’ expectations for a fast turnaround time. The company has also improved service levels drastically over the past few months and added 18 points to its Net Promoter Score.
“Internally, APRIL ON has transformed our organization,” de Vitton says. “Saving on manual tasks gives our underwriters more time to speak with brokers and be more flexible in finding insurance solutions. We have seen our service level improve drastically, as well as broker satisfaction. With APRIL ON, we combine the best of people and technology. With new features being released, we see the platform as a new way to develop both hard and soft skills internally, as well as improving processes efficiency in a fast-changing industry and in a context of accelerated digital development.
“We monitor many indicators thanks to our data team, enabling us to adjust to market needs. We can also feed our insurer markets with live insights. Our team is even more tight-knit, working towards a common goal of modernizing our ways of working and keeping broker service at the top of our agenda.”
The testimonials from brokers have been rolling in, too. “APRIL has been without a doubt the best MGA to work with in my experience,” one broker says. “Not only are they providing innovative quoting services through their APRIL ON site, but they are very easy to work with and quick to respond. For example, their launch of APRIL ON went extremely smoothly from a broker perspective. The website is extremely straightforward and saves a ton of time filling out questionnaires and waiting for underwriting responses.”
At Insurego, Girouard says Kamillio has helped boost online traffic to 17 times its previous amount and has also helped reduce the time to bind a policy by 80%.
Morissette, meanwhile, touts Foxden’s ability to save small business owners up to 35% on their premiums – and valuable time. “On average, it takes users one minute to receive a quote and five minutes to receive a policy on our platform – a major improvement to the days, even weeks, it may take to do the same through a broker,” he says.
Where to next?
Building on the success of their existing platforms, APRIL Canada, Insurego and Foxquilt are all planning enhancements and additions over the next few years. “Our ambition is to make APRIL ON a 360 platform – a hub of services for brokers in terms of underwriting, self-care and added-value services for their business development,” de Vitton says. Girouard says Insurego plans to update Kamillio by “continuing to release new features which replace even more stand-alone integration for our customers.” And on Foxden, Morissette says, “we’re constantly adding in new professions and coverages, as well as expanding geographically to continue supporting small business owners throughout North America.”
- Alert Labs
- APRIL Canada
‘Market-leading’ is a phrase many technology companies like to use when describing their software. Now 10 companies can claim that title on the back of hard market research from the people who matter most: insurance brokers.
Technology providers were asked to nominate their solution, explaining why it stands out against its competitors and what makes it the best in the market. IBC then reached out to brokers, asking them to rate their overall satisfaction with the insurance technology providers they dealt with. The top-scoring technology and software providers were named 5-Star Award winners.