So much is happening right now in the group insurance world. Here is our monthly roundup of what's happening at Sentro.
Non-traditional players are becoming insurance providers - and it will happen in group insurance too!
While retailers and banks have been reselling insurance product for years, this is an example of what is becoming a clear new trend. Corporates with access to their own large customer bases are bypassing traditional insurance companies, and are launching their own insurance products in collaboration with re-insurers.
In the case of IKEA, the connection to insurance is an obvious, and quite brilliant one. They are a world-leading retailer of home furnishings, with millions of customers. Who is better placed to sell affordable home insurance than the company that just sold someone thousands of dollars of nice new furniture?
When you look closer, IKEA have also done some interesting things to manage claims risk and customer churn - things that a traditional insurer would struggle to do. If a policy-holder does not make a claim for a year, they receive 1000 IKEA Family Points (Family Points is IKEA's customer loyalty scheme). So policy-holders have some incentive to consider carefully before lodging a claim, and a sense that they'll get something back if they have no reason at all to make a claim. There is no surprise that this 'bonus' would be credited to them right around the time they would be asked to renew their policy for another year.
While this kind of innovation is a natural one for consumer-oriented insurance, could it ever translate to an employer-purchased group insurance scenario?
At Sentro, we believe it is only a matter of time. Amazon has already entered the game via a more traditional employee health insurance joint-venture with insurers. But speculation is rife that Amazon will take further steps - not only to form more direct relationships with re-insurers along the lines of what IKEA have done - but also to get into the game of providing the actual health services. Clear evidence of this is the piloting of Amazon Care - health services being provided to Amazon employees.
It would be a very short step indeed for Amazon to offer Amazon Care to other businesses - not only as a bundled group health insurance/health services offering, but as part of what a business customer might buy overall from Amazon. Need a shopfront? Need computing services? Need employee benefits and health services? Why not buy it all as a subscription bundle from Amazon?
We believe that Amazon will eventually become a direct provider of group insurance and related employee services (like provision of healthcare services). We also think that other multinational companies that currently sell their products and services to businesses and their people are likely to enter this arena as well. Natural candidates are airlines and other transportation companies, computer and smartphone manufacturers, and other providers of products and services used by a large group of people within a business.
Our aim at Sentro is to be the business enabler for these 'blended' insurance and non-insurance group propositions. To bridge these worlds, you need a platform that can handle the group insurance-related stuff, as well as deliver seamless integration with the related non-insurance stuff. That's what we do. If you are curious and would like to learn more, please contact us for a chat.
Microsoft Ignite - The Tour
Hans Frauenlob and James Bayly recently attended Microsoft Ignite in Sydney, Australia. Here are their key takeaways:
James: "Microsoft Ignite was exceptional! Over the 2 packed days we managed to see courses, lectures, and demos of all things Microsoft. At Sentro, we're proud of our partnership with Microsoft and the benefits it brings, and it is clear to see from Ignite how easily our customers can leverage Microsoft tools to supercharge their use of Sentro and their wider business.
Our platform is entirely hosted on Azure, and the key advantage of this is the global scalability and reach we can achieve through them. The benefits also go deeper, especially into the resiliency and performance of our systems. There were many insightful demos and breakout sessions that provided valuable insights into how we can monitor our systems for issues before they become problems.
As a result, we're more confident than ever that Sentro can easily power the mission critical aspects of your insurance business. Our customers really care about security, especially around the PII of their insured members. It was great to hear about the steps Microsoft are taking in further increasing protection around data in Azure, with global threat monitoring and AI based intrusion detection systems. We're taking this all onboard to ensure that your data is safer on Sentro."
Hans: "The real eye-opener for me is how Microsoft continues to improve ways for cloud solution providers like us to build deep integrations with core Microsoft Office applications. In the world of group insurance, Excel is king. It is the defacto way that customers, brokers and insurers exchange information relating to group schemes. I saw some really interesting demonstrations, and as a result we have some brand new ideas about how we can improve the linkages between Sentro, and the Microsoft products that our insurer customers and their partners use every day."
We reached an important internal milestone this month when we were invited to tender on a major project at a leading European group insurer. This further validates Sentro as a solution that works for group insurers of all shapes and sizes. In addition to that opportunity, we met with prospective customers and partners in Australia, the US, and the UK.
We met with Microsoft, and we are fired up about deepening our already really great partnership with them.
We also reviewed and approved our business plan and strategy with our team and board. We are all incredibly excited about the road ahead, and the difference we can make to how businesses look after their people.
Where you can meet us
We are busy getting ready for SaaStr in San Jose, California. We will be there from March 8-13, 2020.
We have already lined up a number of meetings with potential business partners and investors, and we'll be seeing some old friends as well, from our time at the Plug and Play Technology Center in Silicon Valley. If you are going to be at the event and want to meet us, please contact us.
Stay in touch!