Chubb is an old school P/C insurer touting its new Blink platform for consumers as an “easy, effortless and affordable” option “for digitally-savvy consumers.” Interestingly, many InsurTechs use the same language to pitch their digital coverage innovations as an alternative to old school P/C insurers such as Chubb.
Both groups are going after millennials, which tend to be more digitally savvy. It remains an open question, however, whether Chubb’s Blink product will make its mark.
“Blink doesn’t seem [to be] anything so new or a game changer,” said Matteo Carbone, founder and director of the IoT Insurance Observatory.
Chubb launched Blink in late February as a digital platform designed to sell select insurance coverages to younger customers. The pitch is essentially to deliver Chubb’s “deep insurance experience” and “world class claims service” through a digital platform meant to be a breeze to use. Coverage options are designed to be flexible and customizable. Personal cyber protection is first on the list, though sick pay, travel, life and gadget coverages are planned down the line.
Meyer Shields, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods who covers Chubb, said the launch of Blink is noteworthy, with proof of “demonstrated InsurTech capabilities at a leading ‘establishment’ carrier.” Its launch, initially in 25 states, brings some new competition to the InsurTech and cyber insurance realms, he added.
“The good news is that this is a very fragmented industry, and cyber insurance is growing, so there are a lot of growth opportunities out there,” Shields said. “But in terms of mind-share, perception and (to some extent) premium volumes, there’s definitely competition.”
Carbone noted, however, that other established carriers such as Nationwide and Swiss Re’s iptiQ have already debuted similar platforms.
“We have seen many incumbents trying the creation of direct-to-consumer brands (B2C), and also the emerging of their initiatives to distribute through incidental channels (B2B2C),” Carbone said. “Those are innovation initiatives that make sense within an innovation portfolio of an incumbent. However, we have not yet seen any success stories [emerge].”
Long in the Making
Chubb had been considering a new brand for some time before ultimately launching Blink, explained Laura Bennett, senior vice president of eConsumer for Chubb in North America.
Bennett said Chubb learned early on that millennial customers wanted things it didn’t see the mainstream insurance industry as providing them.
“Our research during development has shown that many millennials do not see existing insurance products as meeting their needs, despite their heightened concerns about financial security,” Bennett said. “Millennial consumers not only want peace of mind, they want insurance that’s easy to understand, affordable and simple, much like the rest of their digital world—and that is the gap Blink intends to address.”
Bennett said that digital brokers will be very much a part of its marketing equation.
“The Blink protections have wide appeal to digital brokers that are looking to create added value and customer loyalty through insurance. We are partnering with a number of digital brokers who have a centralized, digitally-driven sales and service business model,” Bennett said. “These digitally-driven brokers align fully with the wholly digital nature of Blink—from sales through claims.”
Shields said that Blink has the potential to make a market dent but that it will happen “probably slowly.”
“There are demographic tailwinds favoring direct insurance purchases, Shields said. “But even in personal auto (where most people probably know what they need and view most policies as essentially identical), direct distribution penetration has been a lot slower than one might have expected.”