Electronic Chat with Pankaj Parashar
Laura Mazzuca Toops | March 05, 2020
Electronic Chat with Pankaj Parashar
Co-founder and CEO, Purple Ant
Purple Ant is a subscription-based, cloud-based property monitoring platform that integrates with commercially available smart sensors to detect signs of property damage. When the sensors validate a threat to the property, the platform sends an alert to the property owner and the insurance carrier so a service technician or professional can address the problem immediately. Additionally, Purple Ant provides insurers with software and professional services to manage and monitor their engagement with property owners.
Please share a little about your background, and how it applies to your current position.
I worked in corporate America for more than 20 years for different tech services, including HP, Capgemini and others, often at the intersection of technology and insurance. The first company I was successful with when I came to this country was an insurance company, so I’m familiar with and fascinated by this industry. As an IT service provider executive, I saw first-hand the problems faced by insurers, and I’ve led teams to provide technology solutions.
When did you found the company, and what was the inspiration for your launching of Purple Ant?
I see a great opportunity in this industry – at the end of the day, it’s all about the exchange of information and data, and it’s always fascinated me. I’ve always had the urge to do something on my own. My co-founder is a tech guy and we always said we’d work together on something meaningful.
A year and a half ago, I was speaking to my own auto insurance provider that wanted me to put a telematic device in my car as an incentive to get a premium reduction. It was an interesting idea, but I envisioned doing for it homeowners. This is because as a homeowner, I would be OK if a device could capture details that would protect my home. It’s all about helping us to prevent bad things from happening.
After doing some research, we could actually build a customer experience around aligning insurers and homeowners. The industry has been very supportive; technology enables it and frankly, the proliferation of data points means that insurers should be able to use this data for better insights and decisions.
What is the main benefit for carriers in using the platform?
From a carrier standpoint, it’s an opportunity to give homeowners or property owners the option to use a helpful program that can offer them premium savings if they activate sensors and share the data that comes from that, whether the problem is water damage, fire, or theft. It can help the insurer deduce the extent of damage and handle all the logistics, devices, software, and services associated with supporting customer interaction. It’s not enough that the customer knows what’s happening – we also provide them with an intervention. So, if they’re on vacation, we can get someone out immediately to help them.
So, our service provides benefits for both the insurer and their customers. Carriers get a lot of insight into customer segmentation and behavior, as well as loss ratio improvement as it is also a preventative tool. Underwriting is made easier, too, because they’re getting more data and improved opportunities to make underwriting decisions.
Customers like it; they find it easy to activate the sensing devices and we’ve gotten good feedback on ease of use, and interaction with insurer. Customers were happy to see the savings they’d get if they used the program.
What makes your product stand out in a competitive field?
Our main differentiator is that we’ve taken a device-agnostic approach. Most people have separate water main sensors, temperature sensors – there are so many out there. We can work with any device manufacturer so as technology advances, carriers and their customers can benefit from this evolution and not be stuck with one device.
Our insurance industry experience is a plus, too. We’ve been in this space for so long that we know it well. We’re not one of those companies that has a tech product but doesn’t know how it fits into insurance.
How do you see insurtech evolving over the next few years?
I think we’re looking at a lot of new opportunities to improve core product features -- how it’s sold, how customers are serviced. We will get to a point where no matter if you’re looking for insurance for business or yourself, there will be enough IoT sensors available to take most of the risk out of anything that might happen. It’s flipping the whole insurance proposition; instead of risk assessment, it’s an opportunity to introduce solutions to prevent risk.
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