Bryan Davis (pictured) networked among thousands of insurance industry insiders at InsureTech Connect 2022 in Las Vegas. The Hub International executive and his team showed off the broker’s new VIU by HUB digital platform and actively sought new partners at the Sept. 20 – Sept. 22 event. They were promoting something novel.
“Part of this is the embedded digital broker is a new concept, so we have to get out there and explain it a little bit more,” said Davis, Hub’s executive VP, head of personal lines strategy and business development. “The cool thing is once we’ve been able to explain it, it resulted in a lot of sales opportunities for us.”
VIU by HUB debuted in June – a digital platform designed to help handle transactional personal insurance needs such as home and auto. The platform launched in 22 initial markets and just added 14 more states. Plans call for reaching all 50 states by year-end as well as the launch of additional products for the platform such as renters and small commercial.
Hub works with more than 150 carriers as a broker. VIU by HUB initially presents six to 10 national carriers to users, but customers can ask to access the others through a digital call center.
Davis said the platform is unique because it is a broker propelled by insurtech. Embedding is also a big part of the distribution strategy, because VIU by HUB can be embedded into partners’ and customers’ systems. Their customers, in turn, tap into the broker and the many choices it provides. That’s a unique difference from other embedded insurance options, he added, because partners in that situation typically offer a single embedded insurer rather than a broker that can provide multiple options.
“Our value proposition that we present to customers is the things that come from being a broker, which is choice, neutrality, and we maintain that position with the customer,” Davis said.
The goal is to embed VIU by HUB into partner/customer platforms that tap their customers’ purchasing journeys.
“Think large home shopping platforms or large loan origination platforms, auto dealerships, auto lenders – they can take our platform into their platform to bring choice … for customers,” Davis said. “Customers can also aggregate all of their VIU by HUB policies with our platform.”
VIU by HUB has had some early partnership successes. Recently Hub linked up with Ethos, for example, a technology company that sells life insurance online, to provide customers additional digital personal insurance options via VIU by HUB. The company also embedded its technology with Wayne Reaves Software, an automotive dealer management system provider, to bring auto insurance coverage options to car buyers at point-of-purchase.
Tech and (easy) integration
The platform is cloud-native, backed by Microsoft and other core technology that enables quoting and a customer journey through the insurance selection process. Targeted questions are an important part of the mix.
“We learn who the customer is and we say ‘hey, here’s the standard policy but based on your lifestyle you might want telematics’” or another more specialized insurance product, Davis said. “That’s the personalization. It’s more of the application of those concepts to our value proposition [toward] using data.”
Customers searching for products have a variety of options, Davis said, and they can buy coverage or simply seek “neutral advice and counsel.”
CRM and data analytics are core components, and AI is also something used strategically.
“AI is something that we leverage as part of those core technologies, the core CRM,” Davis said.
VIU by HUB’s integration with partners takes place in multiple ways.
“We’re the middleman between the consumer or strategic partners, or the consumer and carriers,” Davis said. “Those are integration points.”
Integrations can involve a partner such as a loan originator giving VIU by HUB an API link so its customers can access insurance options. VIU by HUB can also embed into a partner’s platform and co-brand. A third way allows VIU by HUB to operate completely behind the scenes, so it can embed its technology into a partner’s platform and the partner sells the insurance options with its own brand.
All are quick integration options, Davis explained.
“We built this to basically get up and running, embedding our technology into [partners’] within three hours,” he said.
APIs help make the system work quickly – something Hub International perfected as it upped its digital game during COVID-19. The cloud is also key.
“When you’re in the cloud,” Davis said, “it’s easier to integrate with other partners.”
In terms of partners, Davis said getting the word out about VIU by HUB at ITC was worthwhile.
“We had some strong prospects in our meetings,” Davis said.