Electronic Chat – Shashaanka Ashili
Robert Regis Hyle | January 23, 2017
Shashaanka Ashili is a bio-optical systems engineer, a multidisciplinary engineer with extensive background in microsensors, optics, electronics and fluidics. Until 2013, he was a research scientist at Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and was one of the lead investigators on a $36 M, 10-year project through NIH, focused on understanding cancer at single live cell level. Ashili will be one of the speakers at ITA LIVE 2017, which will be held at the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa from March 12-14. He agreed to answer some questions on his company, Smart Drivinc, and the world of insurtech.
In late 2014, Ashili's wife was involved in a non-fatal accident due to a distracted driver. Ashili realized the depth of smartphone distraction (26 percent of all accidents in 2013) and also the lack of affordable solutions.
Being a hardware engineer with an entrepreneurial fellowship in the surgical device space, he decided to invent a solution to reduce the incidence of smartphone distraction while driving. He started Smart Drivinc in early 2015 and soon realized that the number of accidents due to smartphone distraction were way more than estimated and impact the loss ratios of insurance carriers.
ITA: Explain how your product, SXI (pronounced SSYI), works and how you plan to get it in the cars of all drivers?
Ashili: SXI is a two component solution. A hardware barely bigger than a quarter sits on the driver side of the windshield and an app is installed on the phone. The goal is to reduce the smartphone distraction without powering off the phone. We balance this equation by providing drivers’ access to basic things such as calling few numbers and important apps such as Maps. We find this balance reduces the driver’s distraction by more than 70 percent.
Traveler’s risk index shows that technology distraction is one of the top 10 concerns for Americans. In addition, the past two years (2015 and 2016) have seen a tremendous increase in traffic fatalities. Since World War II, we haven’t seen such a dramatic raise in fatalities in two consecutive years. This is impacting the bottom line tremendously for insurance carriers in the form of increased loss ratios. We are partnering with carriers to reach their policyholders, which is a win-win combination.
ITA: How long a process has this been for you and what were some of the bumps along the way that you were able to overcome?
ASHILI: We started the venture in 2015 and initially focused on product development. One of our biggest drawbacks was my background with non-insurance world. We were selected to Global Insurance Accelerator’s (GIA) 2016 cohort. Their focus on insurance and our focus on saving lives was a perfect combination. The mentor pool at GIA was tremendously helpful for us by sharing their in-depth knowledge in the insurance domain and business in general. We are fortunate to have the support of GIA and the mentors as we continue to make progress.
ITA: Explain your company’s motto: Reimagining loyalty in P&C world?
ASHILI: Our ultimate goal is to develop solutions that are tailored to impress different demographics. It is a fact that the P&C industry has poor customer loyalty (for example: only three carriers have a Net Promoter Score more than 50 percent) when compared to other sectors. Industry experts agree that this can be changed by providing solutions that are tailored to provide value to specific demographics. For the most part, the touch points between the policyholder and the carrier are simply quote, renewal, and claims. Increasing the number of touch points by providing solutions that are guaranteed to impress the customers is one way to unlock this challenge.
With smartphone adoption crossing 80 percent in U.S., more than 90 percent of consumers are worried about smartphone distraction while driving. By addressing their concerns (and providing peace of mind), Smart Drivinc is poised to change the dynamics between carriers and policyholders. For a carrier, this is an opportunity to control loss ratios and foster new relationship with the policyholders beyond traditional touch points.
ITA: How receptive has the insurance industry been toward your product? What about automobile manufacturers?
ASHILI: Carriers are receptive to our approach of changing the dynamics between themselves and the policyholders. They understand the problem of smartphone distraction while driving and its effects on loss ratios. We have partnered with numerous carriers and are in discussions with other major carriers.
There are other players involved (directly or indirectly) within the distracted driving puzzle—auto manufacturers and cell phone carriers. They are more focused on connecting the driver and car to the external world by bringing solutions under the umbrella of connected cars. Ironically, we are focused on disconnecting the driver from the external world to make sure the driver is focused on driving.
Ashili will be one of the speakers at ITA LIVE 2017, which will be held at the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa from March 12-14.
- Race to the Finish Line
- New Tools, New Opportunities in Claims
- ITA LIVE: Reaching Insurance Industry Crossroads
- Advice to Insurance IT Leaders: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- New Date, Venue for ITA LIVE 2017
- Guidewire Makes Major Push to Small and Midtier Market by Acquiring ISCS
- Insurance Disruption is Happening Right Now
- Insurity Adds Strategic Investment Partner, General Atlantic
- Beyond Transformation: The Convergence of Finance, Risk, and Actuarial Functions
- The Rapid Evolution of Consumer Protection Regulation
- Talent Hunt: Finding, Attracting, Retaining Top People
- Insurers Flexing Their Distribution Models
- Technology Driving Disruption in Insurance
- Fear of ‘Next Bubble’ Challenges Life, Annuity Carriers
- Technology Allows Commercial Lines Insurers to Stand Out
- Single Sign-on Viewed as Biggest Tech Challenge for Agencies
- ISCS Observes 20th Anniversary; Scurto Predicts Major Changes Ahead
- Policyholders and Their First Impressions
- Progressive Making Progress on the UBI Front
- High and Dry: Insurers Search for Disaster Recovery Plans
- Insurers Sign The (Un)Dotted Line
- Reflections of a Retired Insurance CIO
- Mobile Device Management Just One Answer to BYOD Issue
- Lessons from GEICO and Progressive on Winning the Critical Buying Stage
- You Are a Target for a Cyber Attack
- Web-based Systems are the Next Evolution in Claims Technology
- Gaining a “Wow” Experience from Web Users
- Time to Shift from Business/IT Alignment to Business/IT Alliance
- Healthcare Insurers Changing to Consumer Model
- Organization is the Key for Selecting Software Vendors
- Analysts Expound on the Needs of the Mid-tier Insurance Market
- Finding the Cure for Obamacare’s Website
- New Software Solutions Benefit Insurers on the Inside and Outside
- Products, Market Impede Investment in Systems for Life Insurers
- Combatting Cyber Threats: Predict, Prevent, Persist
- The Future of Telematics Heads Beyond Insurance
- The Shame in Cyber Security Lapses
- Building Policy Administration Systems for the Future
- Insurers Look Into The Eyes of Their Policyholders
- It’s a New Dawn for the ITA
INSURANCE IT NEWS
- ACORD Bolsters Executive Leadership with New Board Appointments
- Drover and Munich Re Announce Partnership
- GAINSCO Selects VUE’s Distribution Compensation Platform
- PBL Insurance Selects TechCanary Insurance Platform
- Kemper Life Company in Production with LIDP Administration System
- Digital Age Shift Requires Data Mastery by Insurers: Majesco Report
- RAS Adopts Valen’s Platform to Improve Underwriting and BI
- Roost Announces $10.4 Million Funding Round
The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
ITA is pleased to present the 2014 Webinar Series. We have many topics for you to choose from and attendance is open to all ITA members. The webinar topics are current and exciting — ranging from predictive analytics to telematics and will focus on the direction insurance carriers need to follow for the future. All webinars are presented by insurance IT professionals along with some of the leading analysts and consultants in the field. There is no cost to attend an ITA webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, click the “title” of the webinar below.
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
Robert Regis Hyle
Insurance has gone through several business and technology cycles in the last two decades and with the infusion of not just insurtech tools but with... READ MORE
The whole transportation sector is in for massive transformation. The way people and goods will be moved from point A to point B in the future will be... READ MORE
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits... READ MORE
With stagnant growth and lingering low interest rates, the life insurance industry faces a challenging future... READ MORE
Finding insurance carriers willing to write commercial lines risks has always been a challenge for producers... READ MORE
As Guidewire Software prepares for the start of Connections, its 11th annual user conference that begins on Nov. 2, Brian Desmond, chief marketing... READ MORE
The core systems replacement cycle is speeding up. Twenty years ago, even if you spent your entire career working at the same insurance company, you... READ MORE
- Partner News