A few months ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Katie DeGraaf, the Director of Product – Insurance Solutions for Arity, a new startup technology firm. Utilizing Allstate’s decades of insurance data and information, Arity is working to better assess risk and price policies, while also making driving safer for everyone.
During our discussion, Katie talked about the company’s unique origin story, how Arity gains insight through different types of data, and how the insurance underwriting process was evolving and changing with Arity’s help. You can read that interview with Katie by clicking HERE.
After our conversation and the publication of that interview, Arity made some pretty interesting and exciting announcements, including a new partnership with location and communication product, Life360, and insurance giant, Allstate.
To get some insight into these new announcements and just what they mean for Arity and the insurance marketplace, we turned to Katie’s colleague, Gary Hallgren, President of Arity. Here is what he had to say:
Insurance Tech Insider (ITI): Gary, thank you for being such a good sport and putting up with us again. Since I last spoke with Arity, you have made some exciting announcements – including an interesting partnership with Life360 and Allstate. For those that aren’t familiar, what is Life360?
Gary Hallgren: Life360 is a mobile app that keeps millions of families connected with the people that matter most in their life. It’s a really great service that enables family and friends to both connect with their loved ones through intelligent location sharing, group chat and coordination, details about how you drive and access to various safety features.
ITI: What does this partnership bring to Life360 and Allstate? What will it mean for Life360 users? Why was this a good partnership for Arity and Allstate?
Gary Hallgren: The new relationship between Life360, Allstate and its affiliate companies, Arity and Answer Financial, is an opportunity to transform car insurance and personal transportation through the power of data and analytics. Together we’re leveraging cutting edge technology and high-quality driving data to provide the millions of Life360’s users’ a better understanding of their how they drive and benefit from their safe driving habits with money saving offerings.
Merging Life360’s data with Arity’s models will provide users with real-time insight into how family members are doing when they are behind the wheel, giving parents the information and tools to help them coach their loved ones to be better, safer drivers.
From an Arity perspective, what’s really exciting about our work with Life360 is that it will connect us to millions of more drivers, really expanding the depth and reach of our platform. Providing Life360 users with a better understanding of how they actually drive and giving them the chance to directly benefit from improving their driving habits is the kind of outcome that is the center of our mission at Arity – to help make transportation smarter, safer, and more useful for everyone.
ITI: Insurtech adoption seems to be accelerating. We’re even seeing large insurance and reinsurance companies creating their own venture capital arms to identify and invest in new technologies that can help them better serve policy holders and increase profits. How have you seen the insurtech landscape evolving over the past few years? What are the trends that we’re seeing in the space and what are the hot new technologies that are drawing the attention of insurance companies?
Gary Hallgren: I think that there is room for a lot of disruption in what we’ve come to call the “insurtech” space. For me, the term kind of feels like a new, catch-all buzzword that has many different and contrary interpretations. I honestly do not see Arity as an insurtech company. We are a technology company that is creating and delivering solutions that will enhance the entire transportation ecosystem, with the insurance industry as one of our core verticals.
What we’ve seen is a move towards personalized insurance becoming the norm. The fact that several apps like Life360 are constantly collecting, reviewing and analyzing data shows us that the switch is going to happen and it makes the most sense given the increased expectations of our customers.
The same thing goes for ridesharing services or sharing your car. You want to know what kind of risk each driver carries, especially before you give them your keys to drive your car or you get into that back seat of their car.
ITI: How has insurtech changed the customer experience and what customers expect from their insurance company? Are there some capabilities from insurtech solutions that customers have grown to expect? Are these solutions and the capabilities they enable becoming a differentiator for insurance companies in the marketplace, or are they “nice to have” for customers that are still making purchasing decisions on other factors, such as price?
Gary Hallgren: I believe that the customer journey is getting more and more important as we look to the future. Our SVP of Data Science & Analytics, Grady Irey, created the concept of the “Customerologist,” which is an expert who studies customer behavior by examining the patterns that customers develop through the origination, acquisition and analysis of data. It’s this kind of shift in mindset that will enable insurance companies to insert themselves earlier into the entire customer policy lifecycle, not just at the time of a claim.
I cannot state this enough; this customer centric concept needs to be a fundamental to any business going forward. You must consistently connect and build relationships with customers, so you can better understand and anticipate their needs today and into the future.
Many of the “insurtech” companies entering the scene have been founded on the starry aspiration that they are going to displace traditional insurance companies, but they don’t have the background and deep expertise in insurance. Believe it or not, it is much easier for traditional insurance companies to acquire the latest tech and the associated data. We must nurture and study the relationships that we have today, because they are the foundation of our future.
The winners in this crazy race will be the companies that source this kind of knowledge and intelligence from their customer base and then use it to develop and manage products that meet their needs today, while anticipating what they’ll want tomorrow.