Argo Group soon will roll out a digital solution for smaller, low-complexity inland marine accounts, an innovation that will help meet demand in an underserved area of the market, said Dave Higley, senior vice president, head of E&S Property and Inland Marine for Colony Specialty, a member of Argo Group, Ltd.
The platform, which will rate, quote, bind and issue inland marine policies, is set to launch in early 2019. The innovation illustrates insurtech’s role in evolving the insurance landscape.
“I think it’s an underserved market and an opportunity for companies like Argo who see the value of a digital solution,” Higley said. “In the insurance industry as a whole, we could do a lot better at improving our customer experience.”
Argo contracted with managing general agency Vindati to build the new platform.
Builders risk will be the first coverage offered, and Argo will continue to explore other inland marine products that fit into this type of buying experience. The low-complexity platform follows Argo’s expansion of its inland marine appetite beyond transportation to a much wider range of risk, including fine art, mobile and diagnostic, towers and communication equipment, builders risk, riggers liability and more.
Filling in gaps
With typical inland marine carriers charging minimum premiums between $10,000 and $25,000, smaller risks often find themselves with few options for coverage because of high frictional costs, Higley said.
Ready for immediate distribution and available 24/7, the platform harnesses data to rate, quote, bind and issue policies without the need for review by an underwriter. The result is speed to market and ease of doing business for the consumer.
Versatility driven by data
Higley described the platform’s value proposition as offering a fast, efficient solution for small accounts with available underwriter expertise for complex middle- and large-market accounts.
“We have a full suite of solutions by combining the innovation of technology and digital with the expertise of the UW that is there to support the inland marine line,” he said. “That really is the value proposition we’re talking about here.”
The platform draws on data that is more abundant and accessible than ever. One example? Entering the serial number of a piece of equipment into the platform reveals its history, which enables the risk’s evaluation, helps arrive at a fair price and even flags other potential products and coverages that could be of interest to the consumer.
“We couldn’t do this a few years ago because the data was fragmented or limited to what you had yourself,” Higley said. “By using a platform like this, we’re going to be able to create a better customer experience because of the data points we can use now that tie into how we rate a risk.”
Innovating in the inland marine space
“There are others in the market who are trying to build this,” Higley said, noting that personal lines insurers are among those who have developed insurtech innovations. “Inland marine has the potential to capitalize on this technology trend. I think that those who invest in this and figure it out are going to create a much different and more defined customer experience and probably win this game.”