21 September 2017Insurance

Consumers could learn to love insurers, insurtech Urban Jungle boss claims

The ongoing friction between customers and their insurers has led to a “huge degradation of trust”.

But customers could learn to love dealing with their insurance providers, claims Jimmy Williams, co-founder at insurtech start-up Urban Jungle, who says that is exactly what his company is aiming for.

Williams is one of more than 20 start-up founders discussing how insurers can engage with consumers at the annual Intelligent InsurTECH conference on October 3 in London. Click  here to find out more.

“I started out as a disgruntled customer. It seems like whenever I interact with an insurance provider, I come off worse from the exchange,” said Williams.

The co-founder said he’s always been lumped into a big group called “young people” by insurers, rather than the company treating him as an individual.

“We started Urban Jungle to build the kind of insurance provider that we would want to use, where everything could be done super easily from your smartphone, and you are treated like an individual every step of the way.”

And Williams believes that it’s hard to engage with an industry where you’re being lumped into a big risk group, especially for young people who, other than where it is compulsory, are opting out of insurance en masse.

“Young people have quite different value systems than their parents,” he added. “They don’t trust big brands just because they are big brands, the brands they love are ones which consistently operate in a transparent and responsible way, and communicate with them fairly, in a way which is consistent with those values.”

That’s not all—“ancient” technology is holding the industry back, and Williams can’t imagine dual pricing strategies or referral fees “being so rife in a properly functioning market”.

Urban Jungle is focused on providing home insurance for young professional renters. The start-up deploys technology in a number of ways in order to deliver personalisation to the customer.

“Overall, we are guided by our customers. We’re not just building what we think they need, but what they tell us they need. There aren’t many insurance providers out there doing that,” he said.

Urban Jungle helps consumers in three ways: by making it easier and clearer to buy policies, by providing policy terms specialised to the group of people, rather than the mass market, and prices which are usually cheaper, and always fairer.

The home insurance market hasn’t changed as much as it should have over the past ten years, explained Williams.

He added that the big insurers have spent the last decade trying to deliver scale benefits to their shareholders.

The co-founder said: “Home insurance has also been the poor cousin of motor. At least in motor, several telematics focused brokers have risen up and disrupted the market a bit.”

In the home insurance market, the providers are the same, the products are very similar, and it’s been much slower to move to price comparison than other segments.

“The other thing that has happened, is that the gap between gross written premium (which has been growing slowly) and gross claims (which has been declining) has increased quite a lot, so the customer certainly isn’t getting a better deal!”

Urban Jungle is one of more than 20 insurtech startups attending Intelligent Insurer’s Intelligent InsurTECH conference on October 3 in London. Click  here to find out more.

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20 September 2017   The vast majority of insurers want to stay as far away as possible from their customers – but if they are to be successful in the digital age, this must change.