Insurtech Needs a Boost — Part II What Is Boost?
By Alex Maffeo, Founder & CEO of Boost Insurance
PART 2: What is Boost?
As I described in my previous post, Boost is a B2B insurtech development platform built to solve three critical issues faced by entrepreneurs in the insurance industry — (i) the glacial go-to-market pace for new products, (ii) the integration and data flow issues experienced between high tech startups and low-tech insurance companies, and (iii) the cultural disconnect between incumbents and startups.
What is a “development platform”?
The words “development” and “platform” have very different meanings in insurance and technology.
In insurance, product development is drafting an insurance policy form, conducting actuarial analysis to develop rates for said policies, and working with regulators to get those rates and forms filed with each state. It’s extremely complicated and awful if you’re talking to a technology company.
In technology, product development is building cool stuff with code. Programming, documenting, testing, bug fixing, etc. This is extremely complicated and awful if you’re talking to an insurance company.
In insurance, being a platform means you don’t take any direct balance sheet risk.
In technology, being a platform means you facilitate data flow between two parties.
Boost fits in both buckets and brings everything under one roof. We think this is kind of a big deal.
Who We Are
We are putting together an awesome team of venture, technology, and insurance professionals. We believe insurtech startups should be evaluated through a venture capital and technology lens, but that insurance capital and expertise is arguably more valuable to them.
If you’re interested in joining the team, reach out here. Insurance may be boring, but we’re not — at least that’s what our moms always told us.
On the front end, our core customers are distribution and product-focused insurtech startups. Do you have a cool idea for a new insurance product? Do you have a more user-friendly way to sell insurance? Are you using technology to improve underwriting and pricing?
Are you pre-launch looking to test and launch?
Are you already in market but looking to grow into new products/markets?
We want to talk to you.
Boost is a fully-B2B model and has no desire to build a consumer brand. Our insurtech customers control as much of the user experience as they want and own the brand.
On the back end, our core customers are re/insurance companies that believe in the insurtech movement and want to outsource all or part of their startup partnership efforts to Boost as an insurtech program administrator.
What We Are
Boost will legally be a Managing General Agent (“MGA”) which basically means we will have authority to underwrite and bind insurance policies on behalf of regulated insurance carriers. We’re working on obtaining those licenses now (I personally get to live out a lifelong fantasy of being an insurance agent), but for now we are strictly an advisor and facilitator.
What We Offer
· Licensed Paper — Through our carrier partners like State National (so you don’t go to jail).
· Insurance Capital — Through our re/insurance partners like Nephila (so you don’t go bankrupt when you have a claim and then go to jail).
· Product Development — Form drafting, rate and form filing, etc. (we’ll handle this for you because it’s awful).
· Technology — Building a modular, API-driven platform that provides Rate/Quote/Bind, real-time policy endorsements, and statistical reporting services (use what you want).
How We Do It
We have been working with some of the most forward-thinking insurance and reinsurance companies in the world (including our investors!) to get Boost streamlined and dedicated access to licensed paper and insurance capital. If you’re one of those and interested in joining the party, you can reach out here.
We have also spent the last year building capabilities to offer all of the insurance services necessary for an insurtech startup to get to market with a new company or roll out a new product.
Boost brings everything under one roof for insurtech startups and allows insurance companies to enhance their startup partnership programs. Here is a not so pretty graphic that shows where Boost is placed and what we offer (sorry, we don’t have a graphic design team — yet!).
Now let’s dive into some of these further….
VALUE FOR INSURTECH STARTUPS
Real Go-to-Market Acceleration
If you’re an insurtech entrepreneur who doesn’t come from the insurance industry, I estimate that you will spend at least 6 months just figuring out who to talk to. I can speak form experience on this issue. There are “paper” providers, “capacity” sources, actuarial firms, lawyers, rating & form filers, data reporting bureaus, standardized forms, other standardized forms, even more standardized forms (how many versions are allowable before the term “standardized” doesn’t apply anymore?). Oh and each state has its own set of regulations, its own set of application/filing procedures and its own set of ongoing reporting requirements.
We have done the leg work for you and consolidated these services under one roof. We can help you navigate the winding road yourself or just handle everything for you.
Boost also has streamlined access to regulated insurance paper and capital. This is critical. After all of the product development & regulatory legwork described above, you will still need to find paper and capital.
Insurance companies are large organizations and have developed very specific procedures to approve new programs. The procedures typically take a long time. Boost on the other hand is also a small, nimble startup — which eliminates this (months long) friction on the front end — and Boost’s paper and capital partners are true believers in the insurtech movement and want to support entrepreneurs in product launch.
Building a modular, API-driven platform that provides Rate/Quote/Bind, real-time policy endorsements, and statistical reporting services.
Our CTO Chris Vitone comes from the insurtech world. He led an engineering team at a well-known insurtech startup and was responsible for integrating with 15 different insurance carriers. Chris has PTSD from this experience. Chris is also apparently a masochist — because he’s back in the insurance world.
Chris and his team are intimately familiar with the integration issues faced between insurtech startups and we are building our technology platform around those exact issues.
It’ll be fun and we welcome side-by-side collaboration with other insurtech startups who are building their own tech stacks.
Most of our team has worked for and/or invested in startup companies for throughout their careers. We like to think we know a thing or two about how to identify best-in-class startups and help them grow.
Rather than reject things outright because they’re new and different, we will embrace them. Rather than dismissing entrepreneurs because they have never worked in the insurance industry, we will welcome and support them.
VALUE FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES
Curation and Aggregation of Insurtech Startups
Boost’s re/insurance partners can enhance their startup partnership programs through our platform.
Re/insurance companies get pitched every day by startups. This can be very annoying when it’s not your core focus. These are not venture capital firms and their businesses are typically massive operations with huge balance sheets. While most re/insurance companies recognize the value in the insurtech movement, it’s simply not cost efficient for many of them to dedicate meaningful internal resources to these partnerships. Most startups that insurance companies partner with will not generate meaningful premium for them for years — if ever. For this reason, it’s understandable why insurance companies are often reluctant to go all-in evaluating and partnering with startups.
Boost’s core business, on the other hand, is 100% focused on startups. Our team uses its venture capital, technology, and insurance expertise to vigorously vet insurtech opportunities. We separate the wheat from the chaff so that insurance companies that partner with Boost know that they will only have the best-in-class insurtech startups generating premium for them. We then aggregate these programs through one platform.
Access and Insight into Innovation Trends
Boost provides insurance companies access to insurtech innovation and product trends without dedicating significant internal resources to individual partnerships.
This insurtech thing is happening. Will it completely destroy existing all insurance carriers? No, of course not. Will all of these startups be successful? Nope, definitely not. But this trend will chip away at market share. New brands will be established. There will be winners. Formidable competitors to incumbent insurers will emerge.
Some of these winners will partner with your competitors and improve their businesses, not yours. Insurance companies need to stay in front of these trends rather than trying to play catch up in the future — and Boost wants to help.
We’re super excited to get started, so please feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more.