Irish insurtech Blink partners up with Terrawind Global
The partnership will enable Blink to branch into the Latin American marketplace and deliver tailor-made travel solutions to customers embarking on leisure and business travel.
Blink provides data-driven travel disruption solutions, and uses tools to track flights in real-time when customers book their travel. If a cancellation or delay occurs, the customer is notified of the change, which enables them to search for a real-time resolution to the problem.
Meanwhile, Terrawind Global Protection’s clients are provided with options that make travelling less stressful - including airport lounge access if a flight is delayed by more than three hours. Clients are also financially compensated for delays and stress through immediate deposits into their PayPal accounts.
Blink travel solutions
Blink will be providing flight disruption services that further support the policies already offered by Terrawind Global Protection cover for the company’s worldwide network of customers.
Carlos Fernandes, CEO of Terrawi nd Global Protection, said the move was valuable, not only from a cover point of view, but from the angle that 2021 will see the travel industry enjoy a revival following the pandemic. He explained, “This is another key element in our ongoing strategy to continually add value to our client services.By adding Blink’s flight disruption solution to our product offering, we’re affirming our confidence in the return of global travel and investing in world-class innovation to enhance the travel assistance experience for our clients.”
Paul Prendergast, CEO and co-fou nder of Blink, said, “We were tasked by Terrawind to deliver a seamless, superior customer service experience for their clients and the result is a real-time service that provides options and alleviates stress when customers need it most.”
“At a critical time when the travel industry begins to recover and we see the increasing movement of people worldwide, Terrawind’s assistance services will play an important role in restoring confidence to the travelling public and we are proud to play our part in that effort,” he added.
Insurtechs are winning the race with legacy system companies
Nestled in its own place within the world of financial services, insurance is arguably more unpopular than retail banking.
That’s hardly surprising given that, from a customer service perspective, insurance is something of an off-kilter transaction. You pay a sizable premium in exchange for a service you hope you will never have to use. This image problem is exacerbated by ubiquitous tales of insurers not paying out when it is time to make a claim.
The insurance sector has long been due to an overhaul, and this is where the disruptive force of insurtech comes in - one of fintech’s most upwardly mobile subcategories. Accordingly, last year, insurtech in the UK alone attracted £262m in investment, a growth of 60% on 2019, according to Tech Nation. Insurtech’s momentous growth has been captured in a new report by The AI Journal exploring this burgeoning sector.
What exactly is insurtech?
Put simply, insurtech refers to technological innovations that seek to make insurance cheaper to buy and more efficient to use. In a similar vein to fintech, the large, established institutions have been dipping their toes into insurtech, but it’s the disruptors who are genuinely looking to shake up the status quo, diving into and exploiting those areas that traditionalists have little imperative to explore.
Examples are price comparison sites (one of the earliest forms of insurtech that was eventually snapped up by the insurers it initially sought to disrupt), claims software, customisable policies, or even smart-tech-enabled dynamic policies whose premiums can fluctuate depending on changing circumstances.
The latter, for instance, could use someone’s fitness tracker or smartwatch to monitor fitness levels, thus reducing the premium of a life insurance policy; or track a GPS system that records the location of a car and assesses risk levels accordingly.
Most consumers tend to shop around for their insurance needs and perhaps end up buying their contents insurance with one provider, their car insurance with someone else, and their pet insurance with yet another underwriter. Managing all these different policies, with their varying renewal dates and payment terms can be complex. This has led to the increase in apps that pull everything together.
More prosaically, insurtechs are developing AI that uses machine learning to act as an insurance broker, eliminating the need for a human intermediary and therefore offering more cost-effective and impartial advice.
Insurtechs and risk
But there are some obstacles in the way of insurtech’s continued evolution.
Insurance companies are averse to risk. Understandably so, as at the crux of the industry is the role of the actuary, whose job it is to analyse and measure the probability and risk of future events. So it’s little wonder that there’s a reluctance among the traditional players to welcome the disruption that insurtech brings.
Insurance is heavily regulated, a minefield of legality and labyrinthine jurisdiction, which means the idea of shaking it up can be anathema. And why would they, when their old-school business models are working perfectly fine?
There’s an understandable nervousness and unwillingness to work with startups, who themselves need to work with the bigger firms in order to underwrite risk.
While it seems like a catch-22 situation, there is growing, if cautious, interest from insurance companies, who can see the benefits of insurance with a friendlier face, innovative solutions, and a competitive edge through differentiation. As that tentativeness dissipates, the growth of insurtech will gather even more momentum.
Tom Allen's analysis is based on the findings of a new report on the fintech and insurtech industries produced by The AI Journal.