Technology has been crucial during the UK’s lockdown - this has accelerated platform on-boarding and searches for Insurercore, the insurance market’s risk appetite directory, which acts like a ’dating agency’. Its managing director Peter Clarke tells Insurance Times why the Covid-19 pandemic is technology’s ’moment to shine’ and discusses the firm’s plans for the future
Lockdown has been technology’s “moment to shine”, with Insurercore’s platform seeing an uptick in activity and witnessing one of its best weeks for platform searches in August.
This is according to Peter Clarke, managing director and founder of Insurercore, a digtal risk appetite directory founded in 2015. After being in Lloyd’s Lab for nine months, the business had only just moved into new offices for three months when the UK lockdown, implemented to mitigate Covid-19, hit.
However, this is when Insurercore’s platform activity rose most dramatically. For example, trending search term ’professional indemnity insurance’ received 11,084 search interactions.
The company has also welcomed a plethora of new candidates on to its platform, with Protect Underwriting being the most recent.
Having been described previously as a dating agency connecting brokers, insurers, MGAs and insurtechs, Clarke agrees that while the platform is certainly a “matchmaker”, it is also like social media site LinkedIn but bespoke for the commercial insurance market.
“It’s about connecting and matchmaking of course, but also sharing content, making sure people have got the most up-to-date material in the organisation, communicating this effectively and efficiently to the rest of the market so that they can react accordingly,” he added.
Insurercore’s purpose initially was to help the commercial insurance market communicate around risk appetite in the digital age.
However, with its newfound leverage - accelerated by the UK’s lockdown - and having conquered the UK market, the insurtech aims to expand internationally to the US as well as to emerging markets, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
It has ambitions to expand the platform, focus on making the user flow as easy as possible and work with placing platforms.
Overall, it has ambitions to become a digital marketplace and hopes to make as many partnerships as it can.
Moment to shine
Clarke told Insurance Times: “In terms of searches, we have been hitting about 100 per week [on average] and fluctuating between 90 and 120. For us, it is all about the engagement. The most searched terms are ‘construction’ and ‘Biba Scheme’ – but there is a bit of a [bias] as that’s where we started.”
He pointed out that the main search that he has seen during the pandemic is for professional indemnity insurance, but he has also seen an uptick in fleet insurance searches, with liability insurance searches being popular too.
“We try to cover all bases,” Clarke said, noting that cannabis insurance has also seen a rise. “It’s one of those emerging risks; its more popular than I would have assumed. People are more and more interested to find out what other people are doing in the market around it – that’s really what we hope to provide.”
With Protect Underwriting being the insurtech’s most recent addition, Insurercore has on-boarded more than 40 firms onto its platform to showcase their services and products since the beginning of lockdown; these are mainly wholesale brokers and MGAs.
Regarding new retail brokers looking to investigate capacity, it has seen more than 150 searches.
Other firms to join Insurercore’s platform over the past few months include Slater and Gordon, Broker Direct, Acord, Insurance Compliance Services, BDElite, Gresham Underwriting, AXA, Proficient, Focus Insurance, Aventus Platform, Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA), MGAM, Qlaims, Direct Commercial Limited, Haul-in-one.com, TriStar Special Risks, Ensurance and Air Underwriting.
“It’s been some incredible growth, considering the same period last year,” Clarke said.
Data is key
When asked about its partnership with the MGAA in July, Clarke continued: “We have been speaking to the MGAA for a while now and [regarding] our partnership with Biba, its given us a huge database of brokers that are now actively coming onto the platform to look.”
He said that for MGAs the platform could offer the risk and capacity they need, so it makes sense for the MGAA to give its members the opportunity to feature their products on the platform for brokers.
“Off the back of this is the data that we can provide back to the MGA. If you are an MGA and you [are] looking to launch a new product, we can tell you what brokers have searched for in the past month. So, you start to get some details around what’s going on in the market, that can help you think how to launch it, but also drive new products as well. This is something that we can share with the market so people can react to it a bit quicker,” he said.
Naming some of the more peculiar searches that he has seen on the platform Clarke listed religious insurance, joinery insurance, research and development insurance and performance bonds insurance.
“Connectivity”, Clarke said, was the premise of how Insurercore supports the insurance industry.
“The whole concept of Insurercore is to help brokers and underwriters to better communicate around risks and risk appetite. We are not a placing platform, but what we do is put the right people in contact as quickly and as efficiently as possible. It’s my belief that if you [connect] people, the business will get done,” he said.
To help brokers, Clarke said Insurercore is ”more dynamic” and helps them to stay up-to-date on capacity changes, whether underwriters have moved things around, or are going into other lines of business.
Meanwhile for insurtechs, Insurercore helps pinpoint who they are trying to appeal to and supports them in getting their messages across clearly to their target market in order to foster engagement.