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.
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- Legacy Systems Are Dead. Really? Don't Count On It.
- Now Accepting Nominations for the 2019 ITA Bridge Awards
- It's time to register for ITA LIVE!
- Registration is Now Open for ITA LIVE 2019!
- What to Expect from a Digital Experience Platform Implementation
- ITA Pro Magazine September Edition is Now Available
- It's National IT Professionals Day
- Save the Date for ITA-LIVE 2019
- OneShield Software and UrbanStat Work Together to Improve Real-Time Analytics and Risk Decision-Making
- ITA LIVE 2019 - SAVE THE DATE!
- Insurance Technology Association Announces New Editor-in-Chief
- August 2018 Edition ITA Pro Magazine is Now Available
- Enterprise Architecture in an Agile World
- Top 10 Tips for Securing Your Mobile Devices and Sensitive Client Data
- Industry Insight: 4 Global Insurance Trends in Digital, Data, Content Services and Security
- Diving Deeper into Prioritizing Your Strategic Digital investments
- Why Content Rules
- How Mass Personalization Will Open the Small Business Benefits Market
- At Year End 2017, Will Your Organization Be Protected from Cyber Risks?
- Do Insurance Bots Dream of Mitigating Risk?
- Conditioned to Respond
- Managing & Mobilizing Insurance Data in a Connected World
- 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
- Crawford Technologies Announces Release of ePresentment Gateway for Box
- New Study of More than 100 Insurers Finds Success Among Early Adopters of Emerging Tech, Says Novarica
- Anshuman Purohit Assumes Senior Technology Leadership Role at CastleBay Companies
- AVYST Welcomes Kitty Ambers as Chief Growth Officer
- Agero Strengthens Executive Team with Bill Gerraughty as Chief Financial Officer
- Electronic Chat with Jeroen Morrenhof
- 2019 Global Insurance Accelerator Cohort Reflects Evolution of InsurTech
- Nearly 50% of US Insurers Are Enhancing Security Capabilities Across the Board, Says Novarica
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 LIVE 2019
The tide is up! It's time to register for ITA LIVE 2019, our annual educational and networking conference! Our theme is "The InsurTech Revolution: Cutting Through the Hype." and we'll be bringing in a torrent of industry thought leaders, amazing insight and wonderful perspectives on the world of insurtech and its impact on the insurance landscape.
ITA LIVE 2019 will present real-life examples of true startup technologies that are helping insurers gain real advantage -- and a competitive edge -- in the marketplace. We’ll highlight the more successful InsurTech partnerships, while offering case studies that demonstrate exciting innovation and cutting-edge techniques impacting all aspects of the insurance ecosystem.
Ride the wave to LIVE 2019. Sign up today! We look forward to seeing you in May, 2019!
BLOGS AND COLUMNS
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