Instanda’s Tim Hardcastle tells Insurance Times why the pandemic has been a catalyst for insurers to work with external partners
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for insurers to work with eternal partners such as insurtechs.
This is according to technology platform Instanda’s chief executive Tim Hardcastle. He told Insurance Times that this is due to two reasons – firstly the need to adapt to regulation as well as be able to update policies and claims quickly. And secondly the threat from challengers.
He said: “What Covid-19 has done is forced a new mindset.
”Most insurance companies were aware of and moving towards digitalisation.
”But it’s been a really traumatic guillotine that came down that said, ‘you have got to switch from the old way of working to this new way’.
”It forced them to work digitally. That as a stimulus has really forced people to change their behaviour and thinking about what is possible and how you can operate.
“And it’s certainly made them realise that customer expectations are very different now than they were. The insurance industry is amazingly well placed to respond to that but there is still a bit of a lag effect.”
Hardcastle previously worked at Hiscox. He set up Instanda after seeing the technology that was available to the insurance industry and wanting to improve it.
Hardcastle says that insurance companies need the right technological solutions during this difficult time sees Covid as an opportunity.
It follows Instanda, the customer and policy management platform partnering with technology consultancy Capco in September, tapping an insurance marketplace in Africa in October.
Working with brokers
November saw Instanda’s launch its virtual integration marketplace which allows insurers access to multiple platforms in one place.
This means clients will be able to integrate with other digital platforms, it aims to solve the problem of insurers lacking the ability to be able to use multiple technologies due to existing legacy systems and so they bypass expensive integration of systems.
Insurers will also be able to integrate their products with voice bots to handle renewal and payments, for example.
He continued: “Brokers are interesting as a number of them are moving down the value chain and creating their own MGAs, so they want to take on some of the underwriting responsibilities.
“We are working with a number of brokers that have MGAs inside their organisation and they want to take control over the product pricing, covers.”
But he said Instanda is “not a pure play broker platform”.
In the UK for example brokers might look to Open GI, SSP, Applied Systems or Acturis for their solution to their systems.
Capco has a reputation of bringing broking value to its client base, it is one of many partnerships that Instanda has made including Softelligence, Exponential and Deloitte.
Speaking about the Capco partnership, he said: “It is reflective of the way we see our ability to meet the demand in the insurance industry.
”We are a small company of 300 employees, but our partner network is well connected. The partners for us are tremendously important.”
Hardcastle said: “Covid-19 has been hugely disruptive but amazingly powerful because it meant that every chief executive of every insurance company suddenly had to run his or her operations from their home office.
He added that the Covid-19 transition can be broken down into three stages for most businesses:
- The switch to remote working and business continuity
- The resizing of business, take some pay cuts and make sure the business is aligned
- How to be more responsive to demand in new areas ie: future claims
“I think insurers are realising that they have to be better at execution, they have to be faster, more responsive and they don’t all have the internal capabilities to do that quickly,” he said.
This is why Hardcastle believes that its important for insurers to work with partners to accelerate their own paths and be more agile or cost effective.
Instanda recently recruited a new partnership director who was previously at AXA XL, which is looking to expand its partner network.
It has at least ten partners that it is currently working with, and Hardcastle expects this to quadruple over the next 10-24 months. Instanda also hopes to extend its relationship with Deloitte.
“How will we avoid becoming a dinosaur in the future? By using the cloud and having a constant update to our platform.”