Are You Addicted to Copy-and-Paste?
Bob Frady | December 16, 2020
Eye of the Storm: Natural disasters, the insurtech market, and other musings from Bob Frady, CEO of HazardHub
When we first started our business, one of the most common questions we got from prospects was, “Who else uses you?”
We wondered: Does this indicate a lack of willingness to innovate?
In thinking more about this question – which we ponder often – we now have a slightly different opinion about what it indicates. It’s not a lack of innovation, per se. It’s actually indicative of another issue:
Addiction to copy/paste.
Whenever you’re marketing a product that can have a direct impact on underwriting and pricing – and you want to enter the admitted market - you run smack dab into the fact that too many people are absolutely terrified of state regulators. This is where the copy/paste addiction comes in handy.
Rather than do the work necessary to prepare a filing that may introduce new concepts, many companies will simply copy and paste the filings of other admitted market carriers, then change a few words to make it look original. That way, they can point to the fact that the state has accepted the same logic in another carrier’s filing. Bing bing, zoom zoom, done.
Alternatively, when a new carrier/MGA enters the market, they’ll copy the paper of the carrier that is supplying capacity for them in the market. The innovation of the new company runs into the fact that they have to copy an existing filing. At best, the new company tries some AI on top of old, outmoded thoughts. At best, it’s an incremental advancement.
When we ask prospective customers why they do that, they either say (1) “it’s easier” or (2) “filing is hard work.”
What’s confusing to us is that most of the regulators we’ve spoken to are truly curious about new technology and new approaches to solving insurance issues. Of course, they want things to be fair and are cautious of “black box” methods, as they have to balance the rapid advancement in technology and risk assessment with maintaining a robust insurance market in their state.
Here’s an example of our recent experience:
This fall we’ve been working with actuarial consultants KibaTech (www.kibatech.com) to file HazardHub’s Property Fire Score (PFS) – a cost-effective, predictive alternative to public protection class - in every state on behalf of our mutual client, Coterie. We’re happy to say that we’re already approved in 42 states and working on the last few; we expect to be fully admitted in every state by January. While some states asked a lot of questions, we were able to work with KibaTech to give the regulators exactly what they needed.
Unlike most other hazard data providers, we don’t hide behind “AI” or “proprietary algorithms.” We’ll tell regulators exactly what we did, how we did it, and show them the components that go into any of our models. We even provide all state regulators with a free account for our API, so they see for themselves the data we provide on any property in their state.
Was there work involved? Yes. Was it so onerous? Absolutely not. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.
So don’t settle for copy/paste because you’re afraid of regulators. Let us know what we can do to help!
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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.
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