American International Group Inc., Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd. and affiliates of Two Sigma Investments plan to launch Attune, a technology-enabled platform to serve the $80 billion U.S. small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) commercial insurance market.
The launch is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, according to Hamilton Chairman and CEO Brian Duperreault, who spoke with Carrier Management about the enterprise.
The agreement to proceed with the site follows a memorandum of understanding the three companies signed in April to form this partnership. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
It “takes time to make sure everybody knows what they’re going to do, what they’ll bring, what the purpose of this project is, really, and [we have] gotten down to the detail and the structure of it,” Duperreault said. “We’re ready to go.”
The parties say the ultimate goal of Attune is to streamline risk submission and the insurance underwriting process for small businesses.
Attune will use data science and advanced technology to meet the risk needs of small businesses. Partnering with retail and wholesale insurance brokers, agents and other intermediaries, it will provide small business owners with a broad, flexible range of products.
Attune will combine Hamilton’s small business underwriting with AIG’s scale, data and distribution network. Technology and data science capabilities for Attune will be developed and managed by Two Sigma.
“Attune has the potential to transform underwriting in the SME market, and what we learn in building Attune’s technology platform can be applied to any size risk,” said Duperreault, who will serve as chairman of the board of Attune. “We’re on the cusp of true innovative change in our industry.”
Peter Hancock, AIG President and CEO, said the venture represents an “important way forward for the insurance industry as it adapts to the disruptive forces of data analytics and the powerful technology supporting it.”
Hancock said Attune will play a critical role in determining how AIG works with brokers and agents in the SME segment.
Agents and brokers will have roles to play with the platform because they are already involved with most of this business and because SME customers want an intermediary, Duperreault told Carrier Management.
Attune, which is currently building its infrastructure and personnel, has already tested a mobile app with a businessowners product in 25 retail agencies and seven states. Developed by Hamilton and Two Sigma, it is currently branded MyHamilton Express but will be rebranded under the Attune name once the broader rollout takes place during the 2016 fourth quarter, with a continued expanded rollout in 2017.
Going forward, MyHamilton Express will be the mobile technology platform for all new products offered by Attune, Hamilton said.
This businessowners policy app and others to follow will be available to brokers and agents through the use of mobile technology, but will not be made available for direct-to-consumer use.
Duperreault envisions agents using the app, walking into customers’ offices, entering only a limited amount information, including the company name and address, and in minutes getting getting back a bindable quote.
“You’ve eliminated all the question and answer process that has been a hallmark of how this business is done historically,” Duperreault said. “It completely frees up the intermediary.”
A Novarica report last November suggested the U.S. small commercial insurance market would likely embrace direct online sales within the next five years, though it is slow to do so right now.
A report from McKinsey & Co. said the competition in this market will intensify as more small business customers exhibit their openness to buying via direct and digital channels and as more large insurance carriers enter the field.
Last December, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. launched a unit to sell insurance directly to businesses over the Internet. The plan was for Berkshire Hathaway Direct Insurance Co. to initially focus on workers’ compensation and business owners’ package policies.