There’s no doubt that technology has the power to help the insurance industry. This week, we’re left wondering if a new development may hinder some insurers and boost the profiles of others. Traditionally insurers have been rated on their financial performance and perhaps their stockholders. These measurements are great if you want to invest in insurance; but not so great if you want to take out a policy. The question is; what should insurers be rated on from a consumer perspective?

Injured Money

There’s a chap called Dan Karr, in the United States, who found himself seriously injured when a car ploughed into his bicycle on his way to work. He then tried to claim on his insurance policy for the damage. He ended up facing $100,000 in medical bills as his insurer tried every trick in the book to try and evade paying out on his policy. Dan’s a powerful Silicon Valley executive; he had the resources to fight his insurer and he sued them and won. He even wrote a book about the issue.

It appears that Dan’s experiences had a major influence on his life because he is now forming a company called Injured Money. Injured Money proposes to be the first insurance ratings agency that looks at the consumer perspective.

What Should Insurers Be Rated on From a Consumer Perspective?

There’s probably only one thing an insured party wants from his/her insurer. That’s the ability to get paid when they need to make a claim. They aren’t interested in the weasel words of the small print of their policy (and if we’re honest – it’s unlikely that many people actually read that small print in the first place) they want to know that they’re going to get paid out.

They want that process to be as painless as possible too. They don’t want to have to sue their insurer or complain to a Financial Ombudsman they’re dealing with trauma and they don’t want insurers adding to that.

That’s where Injured Money intends to make life easier for the consumer. They’re going to rate insurers on their claims payment ratios. A potential customer for motor insurance will be able to see that company A may be cheaper but they are also 3 times less likely to pay in the event of a claim than company B.

Early Days but Be Prepared

At the moment, Injured Money is in its infancy. It’s also only going to be happening in the United States (so European insurers can breathe easy) but given that it’s raised 75% of its Kickstarter funding requirements in just under 10 days (with 20 more to go) – it seems that Injured Money will be a reality. If it is a success; it’s likely that a similar service (or perhaps the same service) will make an appearance in Europe very soon.

If that data was then combined with insurance aggregator data; there’s potential for an enormous level of disruption in the insurance market. However, it’s clear that customers may well give this idea a thumbs up.

Insurance Thumbs Up

 

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Google’s rise to the pole position of search engines was nothing short of meteoric. Many have tried to dominate this space on the internet and many have failed. Google won’t acknowledge that the word “Google” has become a verb because it would damage their trademark but the name has become truly synonymous with searching for information nonetheless. And who could fail to like a company whose slogan and mission is; “Don’t be evil.”? Except, of course, that “don’t be evil” was dropped in 2009 perhaps, when Google began to realize that it was going to be evil.

Edward Snowden and What Google Really Does With All of Our Data

You would have to have been living under a rock these past few years not to have heard of Edward Snowden. His exposure of the US government’s National Security Agency’s online snooping program (PRISM) is somewhat legendary now. One of the ugly truths that emerged from this was that Google was handing over our data to the NSA without so much as a whimper. They claimed this was because they were legally prevented from telling us. We think that they were morally obliged to tell us any way.

You see, we entered a contract with Google. We gave them our data and they were supposed to machine sift it and try and direct some advertising our way based on that data. That seemed a fair trade off for unlimited e-mail boxes and tailored search results. We didn’t agree that they could then hand over that data without our consent and for no specific reason to the American government.

Insurers have More to Fear from Google

Not only is Google now in the insurance aggregation business, it’s also rumored to be entering the insurance business full stop. When your brokerage or insurance business uses Google; it’s creating data for Google to plan its next insurance market strategy. You’re assisting Google to become better informed than you are about the competition and possible product lines. It’s got to be a fair conclusion that Google will take your data and use it to strengthen their position in insurance.

So What’s the Alternative?

Back in 1999, Google was the alternative search engine. It’s competitors like Alta-Vista are long gone, others like Yahoo! have been sidelined. Today, we need a Google alternative and there’s a new kid on the block that just might do the trick.

DuckDuckGo is a new search engine. They don’t log their users search data. They don’t personalize search results. They don’t harvest your data to exploit it commercially.

Thankfully, it also has a pretty clean interface and some decent features too. You can use it as your default search engine in any browser, it’s supported on the iPhone (no big surprises given Apple and Google’s competitive rivalry) and you can even use it in Google’s Chrome browser (though you might want to get rid of Chrome and hunt round for an alternative there too – it’s another chance for Google to harvest your data).

There are plenty of alternatives to Google Docs (such as OpenOffice) and Gmail (such as an independently or privately held e-mail server) but DuckDuckGo is one of the first real alternatives for search. Insurers and brokers can now ditch Google and perhaps it’s time that they did.

DuckDuckGo

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Selfies to Settle Car Insurance Claims?

by nickkJune 23, 2014

Last year, the word “Selfie” entered the English language officially when the Oxford English Dictionary finally included it in the dictionary. They also made it their word of the year for 2013. For the uninitiated the “selfie” is simply a photo you take of yourself. Once you’ve taken the shot; it’s normally uploaded to a […]

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Why Aggregators are Beating the Insurers and Winning Customer’s Hearts and Minds

by nickkJune 19, 2014

Last week on our sister site; we looked at the reasons that User Experience (or UX) is important to insurers looking to improve their online offerings or to move into the mobile application space. This week we’d like to review some of the findings from a recent report from Instinct Studios and show how a […]

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Bitcoin and Insurance – Cover Your Virtual Wallet

by nickkJune 9, 2014

Bitcoin is the world’s most famous virtual currency. It is an unregulated means of conducting transactions on and offline. Whilst much of the press attention regarding Bitcoin has been focused on the ability to conduct criminal dealings in a hard-to-trace manner; there has been a growing interest in the currency from more legitimate users too. […]

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5 Reasons that Cyber-Risk Insurance is Going to Be A Growth Market for the Next Decade

by nickkMay 26, 2014

In a global business environment the number one asset for an enterprise is its data. It’s data that enables the fine-tuning of products and research into new product development. It’s data that enables constant customer contact, client billing and delivery to clients. Yet, cyber-risk insurance that protects that data and the misuse of that data […]

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5 Key Factors that Sort Digital Performers from The Rest in Insurance

by nickkMay 12, 2014

As you know, here at Riskheads, we’re big fans of technology being used to improve insurance offerings. We’re firm advocates of using technology to lower costs and improve customer service. One thing we’ve realized is that while we’ve often signposted technological benefits – we’ve never taken the time to examine what makes for a “digital […]

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Is it Time for Insurers to Transition from Customer Relationship Management to Customer Experience Management?

by nickkApril 28, 2014

A commonly acknowledged concern for insurers is customer relations. It comes up in all the major analysts’ reports year-after-year. Most insurers have been investing in customer relationship management (CRM) programs over the last decade. Today, we’d like to ask if that’s enough and whether it’s time for insurers to consider transitioning to customer experience management […]

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Amazon and Google to Shake up the Insurance Market?

by nickkApril 14, 2014

There are rumblings on the horizon (well over the Atlantic) that the two biggest names in technology are about to sink their claws into the insurance market in the United States. Amazon is strongly considering entering the life insurance market and Google is about to jump into car insurance according to the news. Google and […]

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Can The Insurance Industry Learn Something From the Gaming Industry

by nickkMarch 31, 2014

In a lot of ways the insurance industry has struggled with technology. Industry adoption of new technologies runs far behind other financial services sectors. Consumers have latched on to price comparison websites to drive down margins for brokers and insurers alike. Customers expect service across a whole range of contact points that didn’t so much […]

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