Startup: iLife, the digital platform for insurance brokers
A relatively fresh insurtech on the scene, iLife was founded in 2019 by CEO Nelson Lee. Bringing together a team of engineers, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs, Lee wanted to help finance professionals increase revenue, decrease costs, and provide a better customer experience (CX).
iLife hones in on the life insurance market and aims to make buying and selling it as easy as possible. It accomplishes this through a unique digital platform featuring over 60 million collected data points from leading carriers. Product information can then be analysed by iLife and compared to others in the market.
This highly transparent process provides customers with more choice and therefore builds stronger broker-client relationships, the company says.
Automating insurance sales
For brokers, iLife states that its platform eliminates the need for ‘cold calls’ and the frequent rejection that such approaches generally entail. It offers the following benefits:
- Real-time lead referral systems
- Automated digital presentations of key information to clients
- Expedited underwriting
- Up to a 90% reduction of operating expenses
iLife’s platform is available in three distinct packages, each with different features and associated monthly cost:
iLife raises $4mn
The company’s seed funding round closed on 14 June and netted a total of $4mn. Led by prominent investment firm Foundation Capital and also featuring Cherubic Ventures, as well as others, this new capital brings iLife’s total raised to $5mn.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Lee said of the company’s $99.99 Professional package that it was “cheaper than hiring 50 software developers. We don’t want to talk to a bot when we buy a policy. Neither do you want to get stuck with a person coming to your home wearing a suit. Neither is enjoyable.”
“We don’t ever interact with consumers. Our software is sold directly to insurance agencies and brokerages. If the website has a browsing capability, and there is a live chat, that is likely powered by us.”
Lee’s comments reflect both the power of modern automation tech and the shifting consumer preference for fast, digital, and online services. As the development of this form of CX continues, brokers who stick rigidly to traditional methods could find themselves increasingly at a disadvantage.
Image source: iLife
CB Insights: US Insurtechs Are Competing In A Global Market
In the first half of the year, insurtech companies around the world have raised US$7.4bn, nearly doubling their funding in Q2. According to Digital Insurance, insurtechs have raised US$4.8bn in Q2—an 89% increase in funding from Q1. But US firms are no longer the sole beneficiaries.
What Are the Stats?
Out of the 15 Q2 mega-rounds—those that top US$100mn—only eight included American firms. Pretty good, you might say. That’s over half! But US companies only made up 38% of the deals, which marks a 10% drop from Q1 and a 12% drop from 2020. Technically, therefore, US insurtechs are less influential than they’ve been in the past. But who says this is a bad development?
Despite my American citizenship, I’d argue that a more globally diverse insurance market is only for the best. Many of the world’s citizens who could most benefit from improved insurance services live outside of the States—and deserve local, tech-savvy services.
Why Does This Matter?
You’re always going to see the typical insurtech contenders from Western countries. For instance:
- German-based wefox: US$650mn Series C
- UK-based Bought By Many: US$350mn Series D
- US-based Collective Health: US$280mn Series F
But it’s critical that we address risk across the world. American insurtechs might be some of the most technologically skilled firms in the industry, but it’s not their first goal to address floods in Southeast Asia, crop destruction in China, and COVID complications in South Africa. That’s why we should celebrate that the recent Q2 round included insurtechs from 35 different countries.
According to CB Insights’ Q2 2021 Quarterly InsurTech Briefing, this was the first time that they’d observed insurtech activity in Botswana, Mali, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. And ‘from a product, service, distribution, and underlying risk perspective, we—as a society and as an industry—are moving at an unprecedented speed’, says Dr. Andrew Johnston, Global Head of Willis Re InsurTech.
Just ask CB Insights. InsurTech value propositions have resonated with the world.