The Inspire Insurtech Interview’s 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 uBind’s brief pitch.
A lot of insurance is still transacted manually, or if it is digital, it’s using old software that’s poor and clunky. The industry has lagged because building your own insurtech solution is a nightmare. There’s complex data sets, assessment processes, renewals, referrals, reviews, reinsurance, claims, accounting, compliance and so on. Then try to add the best user experience, innovation and distribution channels. It’s just too much.
That’s why we created uBind.
uBind makes building top tier digital insurance solutions fast and allows you to “switch on” a range of channels for distribution, including embedding insurance in websites and apps, broker networks, affinity schemes, and a product marketplace. It empowers everyone across the chain to self-serve and automates everything. With uBind, innovative insurtech solutions can now be launched at low cost and in record time.
So how did uBind begin?
A previous company of mine was operating in the insurance space doing custom software and digital solutions, initially for CGU and IAG. We built many “quick quote” and “quote and bind” systems for their intermediaries. Word spread, and we gained many insurance clients, including Insurance House, Gallagher, Willis, Honan, and some Austbrokers and Steadfast brokerages. We continued to evolve our capabilities by building b2b2c systems, portals, transactional systems and doing integrations. Amongst other achievements, we were appointed by IAG CEO Peter Harmer to build CGU’s first digital direct offering, which was a huge success. Up until this point, building these systems was still quite costly and time-consuming and still out of reach for a lot of the market.
In 2015 we decided to create uBind as a SaaS platform to enable fast delivery, the ultimate UX and a richer feature set. uBind launched in 2017, and we’ve been adding new innovations ever since.
How has uBind evolved since its inception?
Initially, our offering was very “MVP” and aimed to provide great UX and a quote & bind capability. We’ve evolved the offering to focus on insurance distribution with customisable portals, the ability to set up a full distribution network within the system (i.e. so underwriters and AR networks can distribute to brokerages and members), full claims capability, and some pretty interesting integration features.
Our system allows real-time data flows with external systems during the quoting process so that ratings data can be supplemented with data from external systems interactively. We applied this technology for our project with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide home insurance to 10,000 military service members. We set up two-way data flows to retrieve property data from CoreLogic and calculate the building replacement cost to eliminate under insurance. We also applied this technology for Redbook for vehicle valuations, accessing Perils data, ABN lookups and the GNAF property address database, but the possibilities are limitless.
We expanded our embedding technology to support dynamic theming and white-labelling for both our insurance application forms and our portals. Not only can you present the insurance application form to match the website or app it’s injected into, but you can also ask different questions and pre-seed the insurance forms with data from other systems for tighter integration and a better user experience. We added a powerful new automation module that allows custom actions to run automatically based upon internal and external events. This supports the capability to provide parametric style insurance solutions with automated pay-outs. We also now support multiple currencies and languages so that you can sell globally.
What is your team currently working on for 2021, or what have you accomplished recently?
We’re continually developing and improving the platform across every area but some key new features coming include:
- Tasking functionality with escalations;
- Better accounting and financial reporting;
- A drag-and-drop form builder; and
- Improvements to our marketplace technology to help brokers connect better with digital insurers and underwriters.
How does uBind give back?
What we want to achieve is to make the best insurtech available to everyone, not just those with a multi-million dollar budget. We want innovative thinkers to be able to bring their idea to market quickly and at low cost – this is what drives the industry forward. We do our best to support startups who are starting on a shoestring by partnering with them and providing the tech at a really low cost, then working closely with them to achieve success.
What is uBind’s biggest challenge in today’s market?
I think the hardest thing is that no two clients want the same thing, and everyone wants something a little different. When you’re building a SaaS platform, this is hard, so we’ve had to really think differently about how to make sure that our platform is flexible, adaptable and configurable to meet all of these different requirements. We have also found that many clients also have some technical capability and want to work with our systems themselves, so we’ve tried to create a range of integration options and push our platform to be open for extension.
Anything else you’d like to say that we didn’t ask?
Don’t build it yourself! I’ve seen too many failed projects from small underwriters, major insurers and everywhere in between where they embarked on a 6-month project that still hasn’t been delivered after years and years. Millions of dollars were wasted, and market opportunities were lost. Being great at insurance doesn’t make you great at technology, and “having a smart tech guy” doesn’t give you cutting edge technology for years to come.
Insurance is complicated, the software is even more complicated, and it’s evolving faster than ever. If you want the best insurtech, and you want it now, you know who to talk to…