The Inspire Insurtech Interview’ series is designed to inspire fellow insurtechs. We want to share who they are, what they do, and what we can expect from them in the future.
Tell us Blue Zebra Insurance’s brief pitch.
Blue Zebra is an Insurtech Managing General Agency (MGA) that focuses on assisting brokers to efficiently deliver advice models to their customer base. Our organisation delivers tech-led change through our purpose-built portal so that we can continually improve and adapt to compete. We strongly believe that brokers should have a greater share of the Personal Lines market and continue their dominance in the SME market in Australia. Blue Zebra want to play a key role in facilitating this.
So how did Blue Zebra Insurance begin?
Our team is a mix of extremely experienced insurance professionals and tech-savvy individuals who have a strong belief that our industry needs to significantly change to compete for the future. The large established insurers in Australia all have major issues with legacy systems, and their priorities for investment are primarily their direct to market businesses. We identified this gap in the market and thought through how to take on the large corporates. This is achieved primarily by creating an extremely efficient system that accesses external data sets from a number of sources to prefill underwriting questions and then provide a number of quote options for brokers that match various segments of society.
One of our themes when initially launching Blue Zebra to the broker market was that `Your partners of today will not necessarily be your partners of tomorrow.’ We have seen this play out in February, with a major insurer withdrawing their capacity for Personal Lines to the broker market.
How has Blue Zebra Insurance evolved since its inception?
I think that the best way to describe our evolution would be to say that `Change is a Constant.’ Our strategy has always been to roll out our products in a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) form and quickly look to adapt through constant feedback from our brokers. We initially focused on creating Personal Lines products in the first year, with our Commercial products developed in the past six months. We have now delivered seven products to the market:
– Householders, Landlords and Private Motor
– SME Business Insurance, Commercial Motor, Cyber and Personal Accident & Sickness (through `Blue Point’)
In the three and a half years since Blue Zebra sprang to life, we have had more than 50 system upgrades, signed up more than 380 broker organisations comprising 10,500 users and typically have more than 1000 brokers transacting with us each and every day.
In addition, it was always our intention to focus strongly on the automation of our own business processes. As we have scaled, we have built technology to support finance, claims, underwriting and analytics. Aside from the service benefits to our broker and insurer partners, in the end, this means our cost base is set up to compete well in the long term with more established insurance businesses.
What is your team currently working on for 2021, or what have you accomplished recently?
During the past 12 months, we have changed our primary underwriter relationship. This has involved a great deal of pricing calibration, as we have significantly changed our risk appetite and target markets while looking to improve the underwriting result of our Personal Lines portfolio.
We are now completing our platform rebuild, which has been planned for some time. This will be seamless as far as our clients are concerned. This upgrade will enable real-time changes to our platform in a number of areas, including underwriting questions, referral rules, new data fields, documentation, pricing and our product suite.
Our technology is already being utilised by carefully selected insurance businesses via Platform as a Service (PAAS). Our offering is quick and cost-effective to deploy, and this re-platforming will enable our PAAS to be expanded to help deliver their products to market within 30 days.
How does Blue Zebra Insurance give back?
The central tenant of our business philosophy is to have constant communication with our clients – our brokers – to enable their best opportunity to compete for tomorrow. We will often look to adapt our methods and technology to improve a broker’s operations. Our experimentation and continual investigation are designed to provide our brokers with the opportunity to grow their organisations and customer base.
What is Blue Zebra Insurance’s biggest challenge in today’s market?
The market always delivers challenges, and the more dynamic it is, the better, in our view. There are a number of challenges developing on different time horizons. We have relentlessly driven digital delivery, with the foundation stone of effective use of external data. This has been supplemented by AI/machine learning techniques being employed in our back-office activities. This is critical for us to be able to compete with the multi-distribution insurers, who are driving more innovation into their direct businesses, in a relative sense. Our ability to drive forward is occasionally slowed by the delivery systems at the brokers’ end, so one of our challenges is working closely with their technology and delivery plans in order to jointly compete at the same speed.
Anything else you’d like to say that we didn’t ask?
Thanks for the opportunity to share our journey so far – we see it as just the beginning of something big!