The definition of insurtech

Canadians should feel excited about living in a place central to the new era of digital insurance services. Here’s a straightforward definition of insurtech, as well as a little extra insight into what all the h

The elusive definition of insurtech

Insurtech can be referred to as a sibling of Fintech. Fintech is responsible for online banking apps, automated investment services, and of course cryptocurrencies which has been a trending hot topic.

It’s all about leveraging the technology that allows companies to provide products and services to customers that are highly personalized, and it’s all delivered in an efficient and effective way.

Insurtech encompasses a similar technological approach to Fintech. Our President & CEO, Steve Livingstone’s vision was to finally provide an insurance offering to customers that aligned with the advancements made in the other sectors. For instance, the emergence of Wealth Simple in the financial sector is an example of how technology has been leveraged to create unique customer experiences when it comes to investing.

A short but exciting history

Insurtech is still very young in North America, and it was only recently that insurtech was talked about as it’s own category, not a sub-category of fintech. Before 2011, there was very little investment in insurtech, and in the beginning investment was focused entirely on the health insurance industry.

The Waterloo region, where aha insurance is based, has played a significant role in the definition of insurtech in Canada. The launch of aha insurance in 2017 was a trail-blazing moment for insurtech in Ontario because we became the first brokerage in Canada to offer a complete e-commerce solution for home and auto insurance.

But some people wonder why it took so long for insurance to offer the same high-tech services that their banks have offered for years.

The definition of insurtech includes getting a quote on your mobile phone, like the woman in this image.

What took so long?

Insurance is a heavily regulated industry that has benefited from an environment of stable companies with long histories in their communities. Conducting business according to regulations and maintaining stability has always made it difficult for insurance companies to change and adopt new technologies quickly.

A report on digital insurance produced by McKinsey & Company stated:

“Importantly, the characteristics that have differentiated high-performing insurance carriers in the past – underwriting discipline, claims execution, investment management savvy – will continue to be fundamental to success…However, carriers that can combine these strengths while also leveraging the full power of digital tools and approaches will be in a position to lead the industry.”

It’s exactly this understanding that led Steve and Tanya to build the dynamic team they did focusing on a culture that always puts the customer first. This era is not about the technology first, as was the case when we think back to the dot-com era.

Insurtech is extremely customer-centric providing meaningful solutions that not only address a customer’s current needs, but anticipates what’s next in the future.

While the adoption of new digital technologies by the insurance industry was characteristically slow, recent investment in insurtech has grown at an exponential rate. The sudden turnaround is largely to do with customer expectations. Customers have seen what new technologies can do for other services, including their banking, and they have come to expect the same empowerment and transparency from their insurer.

A new era in insurance

Customer demands have shifted the view of insurtech as being disruptive. At aha insurance, we see it as simply doing what feels right by providing customers what they have come to expect and quite frankly deserve. We’ve build our system to enable customers to purchase a home or auto insurance policy after receiving a verified quote – and the entire process can take under 6 minutes from start to end.

There’s much more to come in this space. As we mentioned, insurtech is continually evolving, which is great for customers. Earlier this year Aviva Canada partnered with a tech-scale-up organization called OneEleven to fund a growth program that will help five companies advance insurtech in the insurance industry. The definition of insurtech is expanding pretty rapidly to touch new kinds of companies and technology.

With an elegant, simple, and fully digital platform, aha insurance gives Ontarians the ability to get a quote, make a purchase and manage their policies completely online and on any device. We’re proud to have a substantial role in insurtech’s history in Canada, and we’re excited to keep our customers connected with the future of digital insurance services.

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