Insly's Risto Rossar on the outlook for low-code software
As insurers attempt to migrate away from burdensome legacy systems and create more seamless digital experiences for their customers, low-code and no-code solutions have become incredibly popular as a means of building new products or workflows before pushing them to development quickly.
We caught up with Risto Rossar, Founder and CEO of no-code software platform Insly, to discuss the impact low-code solutions were having; the specific requirements new clients present; and the way the current economy is impacting on insurtechs.
Can you tell us about the companies that use Insly?
Insly is primarily used by MGAs and insurers to digitise all or part of the insurance value chain, including insurance product launches, distribution, underwriting, premium accounts, reporting and claims. We help companies to evolve their systems and move towards fully automated workflows, so that they can adapt to rapidly changing customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.
Our platform supports customers to sell their products via brokers and agencies, as well as D2C and through embedded distribution via our APIs. Insly is product agnostic, so it can be used to handle any insurance product, with the exception of life insurance.
What challenges do insurers face, and why do they need a purpose-built low-code solution?
While general low-code products might be sufficient to automate one specific step in the insurance cycle – for example to generate a quote, calculate a price, or process FNOL – these products would struggle to automate the whole value chain effectively and in a joined-up way that is easy to manage. Insurance involves numerous complex and specific processes – such as risk analysis, underwriting, mid-term adjustments and taxation – which are difficult, if not impossible, to automate using general no-code products. Hence why specialist providers like Insly are now coming to the fore. As we come from an insurance background, we understand the needs of MGAs and insurers and have built a product suite entirely tailored to how they work.
What are the most common requirements that insurers come to you with?
As Insly is product agnostic, our clients come to us with a whole range of challenges. We see a lot of MGAs and insurers who are keen to get products to market as quickly as possible, so that is something that we help with a lot. Also, full cycle policy management, including distribution, policy changes, renewals, and cancellations.
We are also seeing increasing demand for our premium accounting module, to keep track of invoices and payments, alongside detailed data and reporting. This gives companies comprehensive oversight of risk and performance, and means they have lots of useful data to share with their capacity providers regarding the value they bring to the table.
Finally, we have recently launched a claims management module and it has already received a lot of interest, with companies looking to improve cost and time efficiency as well as customer service throughout the claims process.
Insurance is the business of risk. Can you tell us how Insly helps reduce risk?
Digitising and automating workflows can help to reduce risk in several ways. Firstly, it gives MGAs and insurers access to a wealth of structured data and analysis tools that they can use to assess their loss ratio, with a view to decreasing this going forward. Secondly, it means that underwriters reduce the amount of time required for repetitive admin tasks, so that they can focus more energy on evaluating risks and designing policies.
It also provides insurance companies with a full audit trail, reducing the risk of audit and accounting errors. And finally, having an integrated sales, policy admin and claims system decreases the risk of potentially costly mistakes by ensuring that data is automatically checked and aligned. It takes away a lot of the headaches that come from old-fashioned manual processes and disparate IT systems.
What effect is the current financial unrest having on insurance firms, particularly in terms of software development and digital transformation?
We believe that the current climate will act as a driver for insurance companies to find ways to cut costs and optimise their processes through technology. While there may be an initial outlay for technology, companies that come to us know that they will soon see a return on that investment through streamlining customer onboarding, reducing time-consuming administration, and improving the customer experience. As the market becomes more competitive, insurers need to differentiate themselves, and providing more innovative products and service is the best way to do that.
Do you expect there to be much consolidation between low-code providers in future?
Consolidation is one way that the sector could develop but it isn’t inevitable. Consolidation is usually driven by heavy regulation or economies of scale, but neither of these apply to the no-code/low-code insurance market.
The more that low-code/no-code technology develops, the easier it is for smaller companies to build state-of-the-art products. You don’t need to have hundreds of employees to build a really good no-code product for the insurance industry. As the insurance industry itself consists of many small players, perhaps they can be better serviced by a range of SME IT companies, which have built products for their needs, and provide a more personal service than a huge development company.
How can low-code platforms utilise the blockchain in future?
As insurance is very much a centralised industry, I do not see a major use case for blockchain in the current insurance business model. If blockchain is used to decentralise the industry then that is a different story, but in that new world, the financial system would be based around bitcoin, banks would no longer exist, and insurance companies as they exist today would also become obsolete. But this is already a philosophical discussion about the future of finance and doesn’t have any practical value for insurers or MGAs today. My practical suggestion is that blockchain is not for the insurance industry, so don’t spend your valuable R&D time on it. You can build everything much faster and more easily on a traditional database and if you genuinely believe in decentralised future then invest a small percentage of your reserves into the only decentralised asset in the world – bitcoin.