" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> EXCLUSIVE: "Game On!" - Manjit Rana, Insurtech Scout in 'The Insurtech Magazine'
Saturday, November 26, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: “Game On!” – Manjit Rana, Insurtech Scout in ‘The Insurtech Magazine’

Having spent a lifetime investing in, or seeking investment for, insurtechs, Manjit Rana knew there had to be a better way to find an ideal technology partner. So he created it

There are thousands of Insurtechs worldwide competing for the attention of insurers and investors. While challengers and disrupters abound, collaboration is now part of the changing marketplace in which buyers and sellers seek the right partners and the best deals. But knowing who to choose isn’t easy when there’s so much noise and many insurtechs with very similar business models and propositions.

This is the problem which Manjit Rana aims to solve with InsurTech Scout, his newly launched ‘introduction and collaboration platform’.

Rana is no stranger to insurance and the startup scene. He’s a seasoned innovator and entrepreneur who’s founded several companies, mentored numerous insurtechs, is a regular speaker at industry events and was a co-founder of AXA’s Innovation Hub. He also founded Ingenin, an award-winning insurance innovation consultancy, over a decade ago – before most of the insurance world had even heard of the term insurtech.

With his latest venture, Rana is developing a digital global community platform for everyone who is involved in the insurance sector: insurtechs, insurers, service providers, investors, advisors and consultants.

Rana explains: “The impending global recession is likely to see sales and marketing budgets tightened and businesses left needing to find more direct and cost-effective ways of identifying and collaborating with partners. It’s going to be significantly harder for insurtechs to justify reaching out to dozens of insurers and investors when more than 90 per cent of them are unlikely to be interested.

“Wouldn’t it be easier to know in advance who is most likely to be up for a conversation? Reducing this wasted sales and market expense and effort needed a completely different approach. We also needed a way to address common questions such as ‘what’s really interesting in the insurtech space right now?’ and ‘which insurtechs have a compelling claims-related proposition?’. These are not the types of questions you can answer with a simple database of insurtechs and a few filters.”

Rana and the team wanted to create a platform that, in an ideal world, would be engaging to virtually everyone across the industry, rather than just a few analysts in strategy or innovation teams, because he knew that getting people in the business units involved in the selection process when working with insurtechs would create much higher adoption rates.

“Currently, more than 80 per cent of proofs of concepts or trials fail to progress into full production use in the business units, leading to wasted expense and frustrations, both among insurtechs and corporate entities,” says Rana. “As an innovation and creative problem-solving consultancy, we are accustomed to addressing these types of problems. We often challenge our consultancy clients to look at their problems through a different lens: ‘how would Amazon or BMW address the challenge?’, for instance.

“We applied the same thinking when we looked at how we could disrupt our own consultancy services.”

InsurTech Scout is a digitised ecosystem that feels like a combination of match.com, LinkedIn on steroids and Fantasy Football. It’s an interesting approach as it involves gamification and even has its own virtual currency. All platform members earn virtual salaries, which they invest into virtual portfolios of insurtechs so that they can compete against other people across the industry in trying to identify league-toppers.

“Our gamification feature uses our digital currency, which we’ve named Kudo$,” says Rana. “It works a bit like Fantasy Football, with members using the currency to invest in insurtechs. For instance, a claims handler may want to see which insurtech has an interesting proposition for total loss scenarios at the moment and could look at relevant insurtech profiles using the powerful segmentation tools, then explore their business models and the technologies being incorporated, and see how they solve a particular problem. Next, they would compare the offering with similar propositions and decide which one they believe is likely to attract the most attention from other InsurTech Scout members, and hence end up at the top of the appropriate leaderboard or league. They can ‘invest’ some of their Kudo$ in the ones they want to back.“

Getting to the top ranks of the leagues generates rewards for the individual investing’, as well as for the insurtechs attracting the Kudo$.

“We’re already looking at how we can connect our virtual currency to real-world benefits. For instance insurtechs exchanging accumulated Kudo$ for services such as legal advice, marketing support or consultancy services,” says Rana. “For early-stage startups this can be a great way for them to progress their minimum viable proposition without needing to raise very early stage money at the lowest valuation.”

The platform’s powerful analytics engine generates unique insights that are not available through other solutions, from simple, real-time market trends to showing insurers what their claims handlers think is compelling for them currently. The gamification feature could also be an interesting way for organisations to make their staff more aware of the current propositions being created by the insurtech community or the disruptive technologies they are working with, or even exposure to their next-gen business models, all of which can be useful insights when they are looking at solving business-as-usual problems within their departments or roles.

“Insurtechs are constantly looking for the next opportunity to promote their proposition to the insurer or carrier community, and insurers are keen to move from the ‘innovation theatre’ or beauty parade model of scouting to a challenge-driven model where the business defines which challenges it wants to find the insurtech solutions for,” says Rana. “Insurer department heads can capture their key challenges and then decide whether they want to expose those challenges and request ideas or solutions from across the organisation, or would like responses from the insurtech community instead.”

“InsurTech Scout is a digitised ecosystem that feels like a combination of match.com, LinkedIn on steroids and Fantasy Football. It even has its own virtual currency”

Real-world investors can also save time and resources by setting alerts for the kinds of insurtechs they are potentially interested in, and the platform will bring the relevant parties together.

“Having been on both the investor and insurtech sides in the fundraising process, we looked at how we could make the whole experience more efficient for insurtechs, from tracking which documents are being shared with which investors, to having a single secure data room with the latest versions of all their investor-related documents. The market needed a ‘one-stop shop’ so we built the functionality into the platform,” says Rana.

Co-founder Kali Bagary adds: “We had the luxury of developing the platform with a diverse team working remotely across the UK, India and South Africa during the COVID period.

“We have our own low-code/no-code development platform so we can genuinely deliver new functionality within days where most companies would still be capturing and agreeing requirements.

“One of the big four consultancies reviewed the platform and stated that it would probably have taken them more than three years to develop something similar with a considerably bigger team.”

From the way that the platform shares only relevant information with individual stakeholders, to its unique ‘Tinder-esque’ voting functionality, there really doesnt seem to be much that the team has not thought about.

Rana and his colleagues have been developing the platform ‘under the radar’ for the last two years but it’s hard to keep these things hidden for long.

“We’ve had approaches from organisations outside insurance,”he says. “We’re delivering a version of the platform to a major retail brand, based in the UK, as well as a global electronics corporation, based in Asia. And we will put the technology behind a new government- funded initiative to bring together startups, government support programmes, corporate partners and mentors for a major UK region over the next few months.


 

This article was published in The Insurtech Magazine #08, Page 24-25

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