PYMNTS.com, a respected media platform for and about the payments industry and a premier source of what's next in commerce, recently spent some time with our Co-Managing Director, Steve Hauck. They discussed the drivers of the insurtech movement, specifically self-service in the small business insurance sector.
Read the PYMNTS.com article.
The piece explores the benefits of enabling small businesses to purchase and manage policies online, as well as the answer to a critical question: how much and how fast will the small business market adopt the self-serve model?
A key point Steve makes is that conventional wisdom in our tech-centric business culture—as defined by where the venture capital is going—holds that small businesses no longer need or want to buy commercial insurance through an agent, preferring instead to buy directly from the provider. Recent direct-model success in personal insurance lines, either by incumbents like Geico, Progressive and Allstate, or upstarts including Lemonade, Hippo and Root has been a catalyst to find the next new frontier. Small commercial is seen as that next logical territory.
But as he further points out, the data suggest otherwise—only 2 percent of the small commercial market buys directly without an agent. Conventional wisdom, it seems, isn't aligned with the industry's ground-truth.
Steve suggests that direct-model adoption will certainly grow, but not nearly to a tipping point where the majority of small commercial insurance buyers won’t want to talk to an agent before they buy. The agent will continue to play a critical role in navigating our hyper-complex industry for customers who need assurance about price and coverage.
So what do small business insurance customers want? Based on our experience and growth:
- They want to leverage the operating systems they already use (general ledger, payroll, benefits, POS, etc.) to manage their insurance. Leveraging data that is reusable across operating platforms decreases the need to have disparate, linear workflows with providers that help them operate their businesses. Simply put, they want more from fewer systems.
- From within this operating system, they want self-service capabilities through the browser for any and all interactions, including easy access to a sales or service representative when they need one.
- One bill—a digital, streamlined and consolidated billing process across multiple insurance products.
Flexibility in how they pay for insurance in order to protect cash flow. For example, we offer Pay As You Go for premium collection via an integration with their established payroll provider and process. This is a huge benefit as it avoids paying a large, upfront amount for the coming year’s coverage.