The pandemic impacted dramatically the insurance industry. Yet, some providers have been quick to evolve in the face of the crisis, while others had the foresight to build new products years ago.
COVID is the reason some companies are stepping forward to streamline the insurance process for entrepreneurs hoping to grow their business and has especially disenfranchised small businesses.
Historically, the insurance industry has developed a reputation for being slow, complex, and often inconvenient for busy small business owners and entrepreneurs. Now, innovative companies like Foxquilt are stepping forward to revolutionize the industry and bring the entire process into the 21st Century.
Transform It Forward with Mark Morissette: Transforming the Insurance industry
On the most recent episode of Transform It Forward, I sat down with Mark Morissette, Founder and CEO of Foxquilt, a leading North American insurance technology company focused on empowering small businesses and B2B networks to save on small business insurance. A unique data and machine learning underwriting infrastructure complemented the company’s insurance as a platform.
Leveraging innovative technology and creating unique products, their mission is to make life easier for business owners. Mark believes automated processes will help to revolutionize the insurance industry and provide a better way to address the current needs of small businesses or entrepreneurs who are running multiple operations at once.
During the episode, he shared his thoughts on how the pandemic has changed the insurance industry, and where it’s headed in the future. He also explains how Foxquilt works, and why it’s different from other companies operating in the industry.
Throughout his career, Mark had always been immersed in teams aiming to bridge the world of product with technology. He was exposed to all things fintech early on, and he became fascinated by the products that were empowering customers.
The lightbulb moment came when Mark was leading the insurance vertical at a prolific fintech company. He noticed there was a break in the traditional value chain, and that there was a need for disruption in the insurance industry, which was still dominated by large legacy carriers.
“We said it’s time for insurance technologists to get in the game and really start building sophisticated backend architecture to support the customers’ interests as far as giving them more choice access to treaty and modular product. So that was in 2016 that we recognized that there was a massive void.”
Along with his business partners, Mark set about solving the problem the insurance industry was facing by taking a new approach to insurance entirely. They identified a common pain point among customers: the legacy insurance carriers that were built decades or even a century ago were using a model that disenfranchised the customer and didn’t recognize the nuances of the modern workforce.
Traditionally, insurance products took a one-size-fits-all approach, despite the many forms a career may take today like an Etsy creator or a freelance videographer, for example. Plus, the turnaround time for a claim could take weeks, while in the digital age, we’ve all come to expect 24-hour access and instant results.
By approaching the problem as a technology company first, Foxquilt built its own architecture from scratch to ensure the customer would have all the backend capabilities they needed to run their business. Using different APIs for policies, payment, claims, and more, Foxquilt is putting the power back into the hands of the customer so they can personalize their insurance experience through self-service functionality.
“You’re sitting down with basically your team of innovators, and it stems and ends with the customer’s interest in designing state-of-the-art architecture in the backend that can service and create engineer products on the fly at 10 p.m. at night that’s customized to the individual small business owner. So, it’s about empowering the customers’ interests.”
Working within the ecosystem
Although Foxquilt is disrupting the insurance industry with its technology, Mark says he’s not a fan of the word disruption. Rather, he views it as a collaborative effort across the insurance ecosystem, which positions the company as a trusted partner to customers, as well as large legacy carriers and brokerages.
By viewing large brokerages as customers, Foxquilt steps in to aid with their small business programs, offering their automated environment besides their bespoke insurance services. Over the past five years, the company has built a modular product that can operate efficiently across several business verticals without sacrificing on customization, all in a way that reminds the customer they’re involved in the process.
“What the layman doesn’t know is that a lot of these brokers and agents have been basically human beings selling packaged policies that are not even intended for a yoga instructor studio, they’re not even intended for a janitorial or maid service. It’s a one-size-fits-all segment, package, product with frills that are not even necessary, or they’re missing other things that really are required to cover that distinct, unique operation.”
In terms of continued growth in the future, Mark says Foxquilt has a clear vision for what they hope to become in a few years’ time. By continuing to expand their product to suit a variety of small business offerings and verticals, the company is identifying the industry’s pain points to streamline the process for everyone involved.
“You might be a baker in the morning and a yoga instructor at night. And there are two different coverages and two different policies. Why should you have to go to the marketplace to source two different policies and pay a premium for both of them? Why can’t basic technology companies like ours essentially produce one result on one treaty? That’s what we’re doing.”
Foxquilt recently launched in the U.S., and the company is currently navigating the regulatory processes needed to operate in each state. Mark says they’re filing their product in clusters of six states at a time, while working out any kinks in the process now so they can eventually scale faster down the road.
Five key takeaways
My conversation with Mark led to five key insights we can all take away:
- Insurance tech stacks are monolithic and not customer-centric. It’s an industry that’s ripe for disruption. Mark’s team is changing the landscape by empowering the insurance industry with sophisticated data architecture that lets customers amend their policies at their own will, on their own time. Their core belief: everyone should have access to treaty, policy, and price.
- Insurance is a data algorithm. The question is how to manage the data, so it meets the interests of all payment APIs and puts the customer in control of their treaties. The most value comes from the marriage between carrier and customer.
- Business is simply an exchange of value. Mark’s focus is on using technology to better serve the needs of customers so insurance companies can get it right every time, on demand. Self-service portals that are available 24/7 make it easier for the company to meet customers’ rapidly evolving needs.
- Risk is an emerging data business. The more insights you can gather on a particular class over another, the better capabilities you will have for underwriting and ultimately, pricing. Mark mentioned that the key comes from understanding that risk data is always moving, which makes the advantages of APIs invaluable.
- Your product roadmap must encompass more complex offerings for different customers. Consider the verticals your customers may operate in. Do they exist in more than one vertical? Do they have multiple businesses? Design your architecture accordingly to meet the changing needs of users, always with the goal of solving the friction they may experience first.
Listen to the full podcast episode here.
If you missed previous episodes, click here.