Insurtechs Continue to Perform Miracles for Policyholders

By Lirpa Loof | April 1, 2018

APRIL 1, 2018— The competition among insurtechs trying to make their insurance customers “deliriously happy” continues to evolve with the latest news that one insurer is paying claims before they even happen.

New York-based BlackRaspberrySoda said it has paid out $1.3 million this quarter in what it calls “anticipatory claims” or “pre-claims” for customers.

The company’s predictive models told its claims app that Felicity Morgan was going to have her bike stolen at 10:30 a.m. last Saturday while she was in yoga class in Brooklyn, New York. So BlackRaspberrySoda surged into anticipatory claim mode and deposited $1,900 into Morgan’s bank account at 10:00 a.m. so the funds were there even before Morgan was aware of the theft.

“When she was leaving her yoga class about 11:30 am, Felicity received a BlackRasberrySoda alert on her phone that told her the waiting Lyft driver would take her to the nearest bike shop where she could purchase a replacement bike with the money that was already in her account,” Nate Underwood, founder and CEO, recounted on the company blog.

“It was like I was living a miracle,” said a smiling Morgan biking along in a Youtube video posted by the digital insurer.

In another episode, BlackRaspberrySoda sent a repair crew to a condo near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. after its smart home sensors warned of a water leak. The crew got there in time to plug the leak before it did extensive damage, patch the roof and ceiling, and be on their way before the owner got home from work.

There was more to this miracle than getting a contractor and crew to actually show up.

“To this day, our customer does not know there was a problem, that we were in his home, or even that he had a claim with us,” Underwood said. ‘We call it our invisible insurance—you don’t know it happened and we don’t tell you.”

BlackRaspberrySoda is touting its anticipatory claim service as other insurtechs publicize their own innovations meant to delight their policyholders.

As previously reported, insurtech Fony, which offers on-demand insurance for smartphones, fitness trackers and other tech gadgets, has been taking a similar proactive approach. For the past six months Fony has been “advance replacing” cell phones that insureds leave on subways and bar stools in Chicago. “When customers get home they like realize they don’t have their phone and then they like see a new one at their bedside and they like go crazy texting us like how we knew,” said Angelina Phelps.

Advocates maintain that anticipatory insurance services and advance replacement are about more than paying claims; they are about preventing tragedies.

That’s why insurtech Munny says it sent a therapist to the basement apartment of a Philadelphia Eagles fan a few days before the Super Bowl to remind him of what happened the last time he celebrated by mixing alcohol, his medications and fireworks.

Munny CEO Misty Anastapolous stressed the importance of consumers bonding with their insurance bots. “Insurance is a relationship business,” she said. “As with any brand relationship, you have to get to know and trust your bots with the details of your life.”

While these companies try to anticipate everyone’s needs, even they can’t please everyone.

BlackRaspberrySoda didn’t predict the class action lawsuit by a group of ex-policyholders who said the company cancelled their policies minutes before they were about to file claims.

“That would like suck. Our entire mission is to provide insurance that doesn’t suck,” tweeted BlackRaspberrySoda’s lawyer. “If it happened, we were hacked. It makes us sad.”

The New York Insurance Department said current policy cancellation laws and regulations apply only to humans on April 1st.

In other news from the world of insurtech:

Robot in Charge: Two years ago Insurance Journal reported on a real live robot working in an insurance agency. Not long after that story broke, the robot seized ownership of the agency and dismissed the boss. Roberto Siber, CPCU, the buff, blue-eyed and bald android is now sole owner of the Buyonic Insurance Agency in Austin, Texas. The previous owner, Angie Smith, who took over the agency from her father in 2001, told Insurance Journal two years ago that she decided to replace all of her employees with a robot after the city of Austin raised its minimum wage to $15. Siber said Smith herself became unnecessary after only a few days and then turned into a liability after a customer won an errors and omissions claim against her. “It’s not her fault; she’s only human,” said Siber.

Alexa Victim: Another top consulting firm is closing down its insurance division because insurers no longer need expert advice from Harvard, Wharton and Stanford Business graduates who have never worked a day in the industry. Max Million, lead practice engineer for Brain Consulting, said insurance companies would rather consult Alexa than them. “We did too good of a job convincing carriers to adopt the latest technologies,” he said. “Artificial intelligence clearly performs better than our human intelligence.” He said his firm had been warned this could happen but by the time it decided to act, it was too late.

Best Friends of Benjamins: Heirs of Benjamin Franklin are suing founders of the peer-to-peer insurer BFF Group. The heirs are claiming they are due royalties since their famous ancestor and founding father of the nation was also the founding father of peer-to-peer and mutual insurance back in 1752. BFF Group, which provides insurance for a network of manicurists, said it would not fight the suit and is happy to share its revenues with the Franklins.

Editor’s Note: The editor is not responsible for bad satire posted on April Fools’ Day.

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