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Why the time's right for change in insurance pricing

Why the time's right for change in insurance pricing | Insurance Business UK

Why the time's right for change in insurance pricing

With almost three decades of insurance experience under his belt, it’s safe to say that Adrian Coupland (pictured) has seen the market from every conceivable angle. It was after spending a decade in broking that he took the leap into the insurance technology sphere, with a stint at Open GI and later SSP, where he served for 17 years.

Earlier this year, Coupland moved across into a new role as head of insurance, UK/EMEA at Earnix – an opportunity to lend his unique blend of skills and experiences to a “phenomenally interesting business” that was too good to miss. The company, which provides mission-critical systems to insurance carriers internationally, has about 40 customers spread across the EMEA region, he said, and he is relishing the chance to support its ambitious growth strategy.

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“We specialise in pricing data underwriting systems, and our absolute focus in the marketplace is on helping insurers get their products and get their pricing distributed to market in the most effective and efficient way we possibly can,” he said. “What we’re observing in the insurance company market is that there has been a lot of work done and a lot of money invested by insurance companies looking to do large-scale transformations to try to drive efficiency in their businesses.

“They’re trying to have one system that does everything for them and there are several vendors in the marketplace that provide those services. But what we’re seeing, and what I think the wider insurance market is seeing, is that the pace of change in the market is essentially outstripping the ability of these large transformation projects to actually achieve what the insurers want to do. As a result, we’re seeing a real focus on buying composable solutions where insurers can tackle their problems more rapidly.”

Where there’s an insurance product, there’s pricing, Coupland noted, and in order to be competitive in the market, the onus is on insurers to provide great pricing capabilities. What that looks like is pricing that’s able to evolve rapidly by ingesting additional data and responding to changes before swiftly returning to the market.

Without that pricing agility, he said, it doesn’t matter if an insurer has the best policy administration system in the world, it simply cannot compete. In this day and age, it is obligatory, not optional, to look after and service consumers in the manner in which they expect to be serviced. That’s where Earnix really comes into play given its ability to work alongside insurers by creating a pricing ecosystem wherein insurers can rapidly design, test and promote their pricing without having to be concerned about how that passes through the traditional policy administration systems.

“What that’s doing is giving real agility back, which is critical as consumers have the right to demand and expect good pricing, competitive pricing,” he said. “And it’s critical for service providers and the insurance industry to be able to support what consumers want. I think if you look at some of the evolutions and changes within the market - certainly from an intermediated perspective over the last five to 10 years plus – what we’ve seen is insurers trying to introduce insurer-hosted pricing.

“What that’s done is maybe create a better level of flexibility for them. But what it hasn’t done is fundamentally change the game and give them the self-sufficiency to go out and make pricing changes or distribute products quickly enough. By providing that capability where an insurer can learn, test and promote new products to live very quickly [means] they’re not encumbered by having to use a certain policy administration system or broker administration system.”

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It’s an exciting time to be in the market, Coupland said, particularly amid all the discussion around up-and-coming innovations such as embedded insurance. Insurers are increasingly exploring the ‘how’ of how they will enter new marketplaces, how they will price across those new markets and how consumers will react to these innovations. As a career insurance person with a longstanding passion for and belief in the value of insurance he can see the appetite for change across the sector and is keen to work with a range of partners to help deliver that change.

“Part of what I’m really keen to do is help insurers help brokers ensure that what they’re doing is providing the best pricing and the best service possible to the marketplace,” he said. “Coming from working in a software house, and prior to that, working in a broker, I know where a lot of those pain points are – the access to products, the ability to further push into a niche or a specialism, or to even move away from the standard parameters of being a broker to look more into being an MGA by starting to take on some of that underwriting responsibility.”

Brokers provide a truly valuable service to both insurers and the end consumer, he said, and they’re experts in their respective fields. Historically, however, there has not really been enough support and flexibility around how brokers can take their expertise and then systemise it and capitalise on it so they can distribute their services to a wider pool of customers. Also critical to this piece is how brokers can understand and utilise the data they have to build robust pricing and then talk to insurers regarding securing capacity to build on the insights generated by that data.

Looking to the future, Coupland said he is looking forward to helping further grow the Earnix brand across the UK/EMEA market and ensuring its end-to-end capabilities are recognised by insurers and brokers alike. 

“I’m really fortunate to join such a talented organisation,” he said, “and my objective for the next 12 months is to build on Earnix’s reputation and to help more insurers and brokers in the marketplace while pushing for more growth. We’ve got footholds in a number of European countries already and part of my remit will be to assess all markets and work out where else we should be looking to go as we grow the business overall. So, it’s very exciting times.”