Executive Interview - 2 of 15
This article is part of a series of interviews with InsurTech Executives involved in the distribution of property/casualty insurance about their missions, how they are changing the industry, and the implications for carriers.View All Interviews
Insurance isn’t going to go the way of the taxi industry, said Michael Albert, Co-Founder of Ask Kodiak, responding to a recent Carrier Management question about the future of property/casualty insurance distribution.
Carrier Management editors reached out to 15 InsurTech executives involved in P/C insurance distribution to ask questions about their missions and the implications for carriers.
Albert provided these answers about how his company and other “InsurTechs to Watch” are changing the industry—and how they are not changing it.
1. Describe your company and its mission. What does the company do?
Michael Albert, Co-Founder (Ask Kodiak): Ask Kodiak provides a way for carriers to organize and share commercial appetite and eligibility, which can be rather nuanced and complex. Our software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform allows carriers’ marketing and underwriting teams to manage eligible classes, geographies, and underwriting characteristics on a real-time basis so it can be shared with agents and brokers on the Ask Kodiak website, or partners and management systems via the Ask Kodiak network. Or developers can use the Ask Kodiak API to integrate the information into their own agent portals, CRM systems and internal workflows.
2. Who does your technology serve? (Agents and brokers only; Agents, brokers and carriers; customers directly, etc.)
Albert (Ask Kodiak): Ask Kodiak helps agents and brokers be more efficient in placement of commercial business by streamlining the prequalification of opportunities. Rather than going to a multitude of websites or making a number of phone calls and sending emails to determine fit, a simple search on the Ask Kodiak platform enables agents and brokers to check the appetite and eligibility for a number of carriers at once. Ask Kodiak improves targeting of new product rollouts, ongoing product marketing efforts, and serves as a filter to make sure underwriters and processing teams are looking only at the opportunities which they’re most likely to write.
3. Who pays for the technology you offer? Is the cost considered commission income or a service fee?
Albert (Ask Kodiak): Ask Kodiak is truly a software platform. No aspect of our business is an insurance entity. Agents and brokers use Ask Kodiak for free, while insurers pay a subscription to utilize the platform.
4. Are you disrupting (replacing) or empowering traditional distribution?
Albert (Ask Kodiak): By putting more (and better) information in the hands of the agent quickly, Ask Kodiak is very much empowering traditional agents and brokers to be more responsive to customers in an increasingly competitive commercial insurance marketplace. Similarly, Ask Kodiak is helping level the playing field within the agency when it comes to commercial insurance market knowledge. With Ask Kodiak, a new CSR can be just as effective at commercial placement as a career agent, eliminating the “Which carrier do we send [insert business type here] to?” conversations happening over cubicle walls today.
5. What should P/C insurance carriers know about you?
Albert (Ask Kodiak): Commercial insurers should know we’re legitimately different tech than what they’re used to. Their business teams can sign up for the platform on our website, and we do not have an enterprise sales team, so they are not going to get chased around by a commission-seeking salesperson. Simply sign up and go. Our API is supporting volume in the neighborhood of 50,000 requests a day from insurers and partners and their developers, who can get access to it simply by signing up. The documentation is super straightforward and linked right in the footer of our website.
Q:Why should carriers care about Ask Kodiak?
Carriers should care about Ask Kodiak if they care about growing their commercial insurance books of business. By optimizing the top of the funnel, Ask Kodiak can help carriers make sure that 1) distribution partners know just what it is that they want, and 2) they’re always top of mind when an agent or broker is working an account which they’d be interested in getting a look at.
6. Bonus Question: What does the future of commercial insurance distribution look like?
Albert (Ask Kodiak): If you are new to insurance and start your research into the industry at Lloyd’s coffee house and go from there, you will quickly realize there are certain things about insurance that just are the way they are and they always will be that way. Complex products. Multiparty risk sharing. Nuanced risk tolerance. Relatively infrequent purchasing cycles. This isn’t fundamentally changing, and for this reason, insurance isn’t going to go the way of the taxi industry. Insurance won’t be disrupted (whatever you read that to mean). However, players that are winning 10 years from now on both the agent/broker and carrier sides will be a lot better at using tech to reduce operational expense and improve customer service. The losers on the other hand will still be sinking money into their perpetual policy admin replacement projects.