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 TreeManager’s brief pitch.
TreeManager is an ever-evolving agile technology platform designed to provide you with both routine and emergency tree work. TreeManager is driven to create a hub of opportunity for the tree/arborist industry, and eventually other trades.
TreeManager is a nationwide network of local professional arborists using award-winning services to manage trees in your area.
From emergency work or simply in everyday tree maintenance programs, TreeManager gets the job done and provides all data, insights, compliance, for site safety and management.
So how did TreeManager begin?
In 2010 we were just a small tree company based in Sydney that was undertaking a variety of tree jobs. In July 2011, we handled some insurance tree jobs, where a variety of trades were audited. Our company was the only one that got an A+ rating. We were asked could we expand our services to other than Sydney. From there the idea and development of TreeManager commenced. To create a national network of tree partners (the SME local operator) and how to project manage them nationally. To drive efficiencies to meet the demands of the insurance industry.
How has TreeManager evolved since its inception?
TreeManager focus since development has been on supporting the “supplier network”. Our claim is that with TreeManager we will get the information from the site (the trade) back to your portal with a detailed cost breakdown, documents and invoice (inclusive of audit) in the shortest time frame. TreeManager development commenced in 2013, the first release was in 2014. Initially, my ego was too involved. TreeManager 1 we designed with little involvement with the end-user (trade on-site).
In 2017 we took a different approach. TreeManager 2 was all about the end-user – the trade (supplier network). We did workshops, testing, feedback sessions with the trades. We even sent the developers and designers into the field with the trade to experience what they were dealing with. I recall the first time the developers & designers came back and were amazed that the trade DID NOT have surface pro/iPad/Desktop computers with them. This experience had a huge impact on how they then went about creating TreeManager 2 and App. Compliance is a key driver within TreeManager. We utilise intelligence around a trade’s depot, insurance (workers and plant) to drive safety and cost. The intelligence drives capacity management, what area can trade really cover and does it have the staff and equipment required to perform.
Our great success is our App designed specifically for the site trade. Our App has over 170 screens, designed with specific workflows to allow ease of use by the trade feedback, yet capturing granular data, driving automation, notifications simply by a single touch. The App has items that have been ignored for the trade – “Big Buttons”, “Specific Colour or signs”, “one-touch workflow” (no need to scroll or swipe) and designed for the whole process from acceptance to invoicing – including customer sign off, payment, prestart hazards and continuous improvement. The App has allowed us to capture intelligence and granular information from the tree trade and can be adapted for any trade.
What is your team currently working on for 2021, or what have you accomplished recently?
2021 has been our breakout year: A lot of success and activity:
Recently: After thousands of tree jobs across Australia, we have now been able to provide a tree cost based on specific parameters and overlay with a risk matrix based on tree location, structures, weather history. In 2021 in conjunction with certain clients, we instigated a “fixed tree cost” matrix based on certain tree parameters, to deliver improved cost and significant reduction on open days.
Working On: Based on our data parameters we are collaborating with companies in the UK that can overlay the information on “live” tree data mapping.
This lead to: Actually, pre-calculate the risk and likelihood of tree impact damage to the fixed structure due to location, postcode, weather events.
When you review a make safe claim relating to a tree, the larger % of impact items are less than the tree cost (fence, clothesline, access). The algorithm will allow better cost/risk related to the outside aspects on a property with trees. Our data shows that trees regularly maintained have a less likelihood % of failure rating. Why not reward a client (insured) that is taking preventative maintenance and benefiting the environment?
Our belief is having insightful tree data, insurance companies can use to calculate a client’s risk with a similar value that they do with motor vehicles. We start operating in New Zealand in October 2021 in collaboration with a local New Zealand tree partner, servicing the insurance industry. We opened an office in Spain in 2020. We are in initial talks with companies in UK/Europe to use our TreeManager technology in 2022 and replicate our Australian model. We are fortunate due to our success in Australia with certain global insurance providers that they are assisting by connecting us with their UK/European counterparts.
In 2021 we are finalists (the winner will be confirmed in October 2021) for:
- NSW Work Safe Award for our App and TreeManager Compliance
- Australian Business Awards for Best Mobile App Innovation.
How does TreeManager give back?
We have a simple yet effective saying – “the more successful we make our clients, the more successful TreeManager will be”. Clients are the insurance, facility companies, Council, Government ad importantly our Tree Partners.
For clients that have had us sit at the table with them to collaborate and gain knowledge, they would be the ones to ask about what TreeManager has given back. The stats will tell you:
- Reduction in communication touchpoints by 40% and greater
- Reduction in tree costs by 30% and greater
- Reduction in open days by 50% and greater
This is a journey we all continue to learn from (client-tree partner-TreeManager-Insured).
For our Tree Partners we have assisted in many ways:
- Achieving government grants
- Indigenous certified
- Supporting with funding for charity events
- Sponsoring Arborist Competitions
- Increased work opportunities with insurance, facility, government, and state (not just reliant on an event or insurance claim)
- Improved compliance, skill certification understanding and acceptance in their daily workplace
TreeManager is the largest network of compliant SME tree companies nationally. With over 300 registered tree partners, a ground force of 1,800 covering all parts of Australia. TreeManager can have a significant value impact on this network.
What is TreeManager’s biggest challenge in today’s market?
- Having trees considered an insurance line-item worth value
- Considering tech that is specifically developed and designed by the trade for the trade (supplier network)
Trees have been a line item the insurance industry has generally found too difficult to deal with. There is very little if any detailed data that is captured. So, trees are not a high priority line item, especially when considered as one line in the whole claim process. Yet a tree failure in most cases triggers a claim. If drivers for the insurance industry are cost, quality, safety, and timeliness – would it not be best to do this at commencement with knowledge and control. In the majority of cases when a tree claim (make safe) is in progress, the tree trade is the first to attend. Your whole claim and customer experience start then.
For technology, TreeManager focuses primarily on the site tree trade back to the client. Insurance is focused on the “main portal” and the supplier network “tech” is just an add on consideration. When a site trade is required in the insurance claim, you want to deliver cost, quality, safety, and timeliness then provide the trade with an App designed and developed for them.
TreeManager App challenge is to show how the ‘supplier network” for insurance can be your best ally, your first responder, the person that is the face of the insurance company and deliver data to drive intelligence that leads to cost, quality, safety, and timeliness.
Anything else you’d like to say that we didn’t ask?
Within our business, I encourage failure to learn. All staff I ask be prepared to fail – then learn, adapt, and evolve. As an SME innovative business, we have the opportunity and luxury to trial, fail to improve. When supporting many of the larger legacy businesses in insurance, change for them happens over years and years or minor adjustments – At TreeManager, we understand our focus must be on our internal improvements – not to expect change externally.