This article was produced in partnership with Asteya.
Bethan Moorcraft, of Insurance Business, sat down with Hadi Radwan, co-founder of Asteya, to discuss the benefits of income insurance.
Disability insurance – or ‘income insurance’ as insurtech company Asteya calls it – is an underserved part of the US insurance marketplace, but it plays a critical role in protecting people’s income if they’re no longer able to work due to illness or injury.
Nine out of 10 individuals underestimate their chances of becoming disabled, but the reality is that one in four of today’s working adults will become disabled before they retire, according to TMA Insurance Trust and the Social Security Administration. Whether it’s a life-altering diagnosis or accident, or a seemingly minor injury that makes a big difference in someone’s day-to-day working life, income insurance gives policyholders peace of mind when they need it most.
However, income insurance is notoriously difficult to obtain. Most options on the market are complicated, expensive, and hard to access, which has led many people to forego this option (if they knew about income insurance in the first place) and rely upon other types of coverage like life insurance, employee benefits, and workers’ compensation.
There are three main pain points surrounding income insurance, according to Hadi Radwan (pictured), co-founder of Asteya. The first is that many people don’t even know what income insurance (or disability insurance) is because the product is too complex for brokers and agents to explain and sell.
“The second pain point is if you decide to buy disability coverage, you typically have to wait somewhere between 30-90 days to get that policy because of the lengthy process of going back and forth with the broker and the insurance company, getting medical exams, and completing cumbersome paperwork,” said Radwan.
“And the third pain point, which is very significant, is that the people distributing this product are not excited or motivated to do so – and there are two reasons for that. One, is that it takes a long time to get a policy, and brokers are typically renumerated on how many policies they sell, so they want to make their sales cycle short. Two, is that brokers and agents need to be specialized in order to understand the complex nuances of the coverage terms and conditions.”
Now, Asteya is on a mission to make income insurance accessible to anyone. The insurtech’s goal is to support people’s financial, physical, and mental health so they can focus on living.
The Asteya team, which has around 30-years of income insurance underwriting experience with some of the nation’s leading insurers, has developed an instant issue disability solution where brokers and agents can make it easier for middle-market consumers to obtain coverage in a matter of minutes by clicking a link and answering a few questions. Importantly, the company has removed the need for financial underwriting, exams, medical records, and cumbersome paperwork.
“We took a traditional disability insurance underwriting playbook and we implemented it into our system and then figured out how to increase automation and efficiency,” Radwan explained. “If you go to a traditional carrier, there’s an application process which is filled out manually, and then the underwriter would assess the application and perhaps ask for more information, such as medical records or blood tests. There’s a lot of back and forth until the underwriter decides subjectively, based on their experience, whether to approve coverage.
“What we’ve done is we’ve bridged that gap, we’ve made the application fully digital, and we’ve provided all of the potential questions that an underwriter might ask up front. As the policyholder answers those questions on the application, our engine comes out with a coverage decision which mimics what a human would do. At present, the process is fully digital, but the underwriting, in many instances, can be referred to an underwriter. Our aim is to collect more data and refine our engine so automated underwriting increases up to 80-90%.”
Using automation, Asteya has managed to shrink the amount of time it takes to get a disability or income insurance policy from 30-90 days to 10-15 minutes – not including complex cases that require more human intervention. Radwan believes this is an attractive proposition for agents and brokers because the sales cycle is reduced to just minutes.
“We’ve eliminated the case management, so agents and brokers don’t have to worry about billing, administration, and so on,” said the insurtech leader. “All they have to do is convince their customers that they need income insurance and send them a link to the Asteya application, which their customers can then fill in and get a policy via their computer or mobile device. Once that’s done, we handle everything else, and the agents and brokers are paid quickly. It’s a very simple and interesting value proposition for them.”
The Asteya income insurance solution is not just about financial risk transfer. At its core is a focus on overall wellbeing, which the company believes is key in avoiding potential gaps in working ability. Asteya policyholders can access a wide range of educational content via the Asteya Wellness Explorer app, including guides on financial wellness, stress management, sleep, and a healthy diet. This also gives agents and brokers the ability to provide a more intuitive, relatable, and valuable product for customers.
“Our mission is to promote wellness, so we give our customers the tools and education they need to prevent diseases and problems that may impact their daily lives,” Radwan told Insurance Business. “We can’t do this on our own, but with the help of our broker partners, we believe we can be a catalyst in the industry to teach people how to live healthy lives and make them aware that income insurance is easy to buy, accessible, affordable, and it protects people from any unforeseen things that life might throw at them.”
Hadi Radwan is a serial entrepreneur, venture builder, and insurtech expert. He is the co-founder of Asteya, an insurance company that aims to make income insurance accessible to everyone regardless of gender, income, or age. Hadi has over 15 years of experience in managing, creating, and developing growth strategies for start-ups and large organizations. As a venture builder, Hadi specializes in new market entry, multiple discipline leadership roles, growth hacking, and capital raising.