Meet the Advisor — Q&A with Ando Kivilaid, insurance geek and cryptocurrency enthusiast

I am not sure if Bitcoin will be around for very long, but I do believe that blockchain technology will radically transform many businesses, especially insurance.

Tell us a bit about yourself — what kind of business are your in today?

My education is international business management, but I have always been a technology person. I did not have the money back then when I was a small boy to buy a personal computer, so I had to build one. From there I have always been a fan of any new technology or gadget. I probably have every imaginable gadget that comes out, be that new mobile phone, smartwatch or gesture control armband. When I was still in high school, insurance was in the stone age (not that it has improved too much since then 😉) and by coincidence, I got involved with insurance.

Mainly starting with the idea that computers and web technology should make insurance much more efficient. Then quite soon I met Risto Rossar who is today the heart and soul of Black Insurance. We shared the common understanding of what the insurance future should be and that is how we started IIZI, that is today the biggest and most innovative insurance broker in the Baltics as well as software for insurance agents, brokers and insurers named Insly.

A few years ago I was also one of the founders of a first MGA (Managing General Agent) in Estonia, Insta Insurance, and our idea was to launch a flexible motor insurance to Estonian market but we are STILL negotiating with the possible underwriters! This process is too long for any broker or MGA. Insta is a good example of how Black could help us to launch their own insurance products.

About me, I have 3 kids and a wife and a cat. I do enjoy a good wine and occasionally a round of golf.

How do you see the future of cryptocurrencies?

First time I heard about electronic money was probably E-gold or e-cash somewhere at the end of 90’s. It was clear that this is the future. They were not but the idea itself still is. Term blockchain and bitcoin came to me somewhere in 2011. I am sure there is a hard drive somewhere in the dumping ground where you can find my first mined bitcoins. I don’t even want to think what they are worth today.

I am not sure if Bitcoin will be around for very long, but I do believe that blockchain technology will radically transform many businesses, especially insurance.

It is at least as big thing as world wide web was. Black has a potential to be the Facebook of insurance.

What makes you believe in the BLACK business model?

As I mentioned before Insta Insurance, I have tried to launch an innovative „shared deductible“ insurance product but did not succeed. But with Black Insurance, I will get a new opportunity. Black will really open the doors for insurance innovation worldwide for insurance brokers and MGAs as it has never done before.

During my 20+ years in the insurance business, I have seen a lot of it. I am confident that Black Insurance is what has been missing from the market until now — a virtual insurance platform on blockchain connecting brokers directly with capital. It is a completely new approach and business model that will transform the insurance industry deeply.

What are your expectations and future visions on insurance on blockchain in the broader sense?

As an experienced insurance broker, I have seen the efforts of many insurance start-ups to build the customer base from the scratch. This is risky, time-consuming and costly. Black Insurance, on the other hand, is focusing on the right part of the value chain — the insurance brokers with the existing customer base. I believe it is the key to success and the best way to approach new markets, through local insurance brokers.

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