Qorus Innovation in Insurance Awards 2024

bolt: enabling all industry players to navigate hard insurance market and close the protection gap

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17/04/2024 Insurance Innovation


As the insurance industry faces an unprecedented market, bolt is enabling distributors, carriers, and consumers with powerful data insights and innovative distribution capabilities from its industry-leading tech-enabled insurance exchange.

Innovation presentation

Due to high premiums, limited policy availability, and the changing regulatory environment, the insurance market has become incredibly difficult to navigate for consumers, distributors, and carriers.

There are many contributing factors to the current state of the insurance market, including an increase in natural disasters and extreme weather events, rising cyber risks, global health risks, the rapid advancement of technology, economic and geopolitical concerns, and more. As a result of these factors, the global insurance protection gap continues to rise and is at a record high of US$1.8 trillion.

To navigate this unprecedented hard market, insurance carriers, distribution partners, and consumers need to be able to leverage data and insights in a meaningful way, access omni-channel distribution capabilities to enhance access and reach more customers, and drive product innovation. bolt is uniquely positioned with a range of capabilities to help industry stakeholders across the value-chain address the current market challenges head on.

For carriers, data and insights are key to navigating difficult market conditions. Drawing from the largest tech-enabled P&C insurance exchange, bolt offers real-time data and insights to capture new insurance opportunities in rapidly shifting rate environments, providing carriers and distributors with actionable intelligence to make decisions with confidence and pace. By providing carrier partners with access to detailed submission and Gross Written Premium (GWP) flow based on geography, the product line, the distribution channel, and type of customer, carriers are better able to match their appetite with the demand on the platform.

Another metric is premium volatility and tracking average increases and decreases on a granular demographics level. Understanding price elasticity gives carriers the confidence they need in their underwriting to grow and expand in parts of the country that are in the most distress, such as California, Florida, and Texas, where rate increases range from 15% to more than 150%. In California, where most of the admitted market is restricted on writing new policies, agents and consumers are often left empty-handed. bolt is offsetting these admitted market restrictions by onboarding non-traditional capacity such as insurtech and excess and surplus lines where we have seen 34%+ growth in GWP.

Data and insights not only help guide carrier appetite and premium rating, but also reveal trends in underwriting that can signal shifts in the market. For example, one of the ways to measure market health is to track how many choices a customer has. From January to October of 2023, we were still experiencing a decrease in quotes per submission. But, from October 2023 to January 2024, we experienced an increase, signaling softening conditions.

An additional area where bolt is fostering innovation in partnership with carriers is driving loss prevention. For example, one of the primary goals outlined by California’s Sustainable Insurance roadmap in partnership with the United Nations is to reward risk reduction by policyholders. Given water damage is one of the most frequent and severe losses nationally, bolt built a white-labeled smart-home water loss prevention product, Preventtech, that any carrier can white-label and offer to policyholders.

For distribution partners, bolt offers omni-channel distribution capabilities that enables rapid iteration and re-imagined go-to-market strategies. bolt’s ability to plug directly into D2C channels is pivotal for distribution partners looking to get in front of consumers during a difficult market, and allows insurance to be offered at the point of sale, enhancing access to insurance and making the insurance buying journey more convenient.

For example, when a customer purchases a new vehicle, bolt empowers dealers to provide insurance offerings based on their unique customer profile right at the dealership, streamlining the customer journey and increasing the likelihood that protection is purchased at the point of need. A key feature of this D2C solution is bolt’s headless API offering, which allows the car manufacturer to embed insurance offering in the existing branded online car buying journey or within an in-app buying journey – whether through a customer’s mobile device or within the dashboard infotainment unit within the vehicle. The capability also allows partners to implement design changes quickly and easily to the offering and customer journey without coding requirements. This capability provides numerous benefits for the distribution partner, including increased speed and cost savings to get to market, empowerment of non-technical teams, customization, and responsiveness to user needs – all leading to time saved and optimized conversion. bolt’s offering enhances a partner's ability to iterate, experiment, and optimize their platform's design to achieve better user engagement and business outcomes.

Additional factors of bolt’s omni-channel distribution capabilities beyond the D2C and headless API offerings include the dedicated agent portal and partner referral program, both designed to connect industry players and improve the insurance purchasing process. These distribution capabilities enable additional distribution channels to reach more customers, where and when they want to be met.

bolt’s omni-channel capabilities enable bolt’s partners to embed the insurance purchasing journey into any existing customer journey of a distribution partner, offering insurance at the point of need and optimizing conversion rates. Whether within an offline or online quoting experience, bolt enables distribution partners with a wide range of distribution channel capabilities enhancing access to insurance for customers. Leveraging data and AI, paired with bolt’s industry-leading user experience and user interface, bolt has optimized the customer journey, and is empowering customers to choose the insurance coverage that suits their individual needs and preferences, offered at the point when customers are most likely to purchase.

Finally, for the end-consumer, bolt’s embedded insurance offerings allow customers to choose from tailored and relevant insurance offerings to simplify the purchasing journey. Customers can compare multiple policies side by side, evaluating coverage, benefits, premiums, deductibles, and more. The offering highlights key differences between policies, such as coverage limits, exclusions, and optional add-ons, helping customers identify the best fit for their needs.

Upon selecting a policy, users can secure coverage by seamlessly transitioning to the insurance provider's application or checkout process. If the product is complex and requires a human touch, bolt’s platform routes the customer to an agent to help complete the order. Distribution partners can assess the customer’s underwriting data, and automatically identify additional relevant coverage options for cross-sale and bundling opportunities – enhancing access, convenience, and affordability for the customer.

bolt’s unique and dynamic interview process allows it to tailor coverage to fit the profile and needs of a customer based on information that has been gathered. This process, powered by robust logic and enhanced with AI/machine learning, allows customers to answer the fewest amount of underwriting questions, removing friction within the insurance purchasing journey and shortening the time required to get a quote and bind the policy. The prefill vendor capability streamlines data processes, reduces errors, and allows users to complete transactions faster. This process allows bolt and its partners to be smarter in assessing risk, while offering hyper-personalized coverage options based on who the customer is and their habits, while still using minimal manual inputs from the customer.

Through its suite of APIs and microservices, the global insurtech is revolutionizing the relationship between insurers, distribution partners and customers, and helping the entire industry better navigate the hard market. bolt has grown its platform to have unmatched scale and reach, including more than 100 insurance providers, including eight of the top 10 P&C insurers, such as Liberty Mutual, Progressive and USAA. With more than US$50 billion in quoted premiums on the platform annually, bolt offers over 6,000 insurance product variations, and has licenses across all 50 states.

Uniqueness of the project

bolt’s access and unprecedented ability to leverage data helps the company offer meaningful insights to insurance carriers and distribution partners, along with technology capabilities and insurance expertise to develop new and unique products that can be scaled globally. No other insurance exchange can provide this level of fidelity, at this speed, to carriers and distribution partners to inform their business decisions. Coupled with its omni-channel distribution channels, bolt’s capabilities open a new world of possibilities for carriers and distribution partners to navigate the hard market and enhance access to insurance products across both personal and commercial lines, allowing many carriers to re-imagine their business models and distribution strategies.

A specific example of where the full breadth of these capabilities helped solve the hard market is a project bolt is executing with a top 5 national carrier with a nationwide captive agency. The carrier faced an issue with enabling its existing agent population with the ability to expand its distribution channels and product mix, ensuring its agent population could reach more customers and improve conversion rates. The bolt team developed a completely new agency quoting experience, leveraging bolt’s API-driven platform’s dynamic interview to ensure the agent would be able to deliver the most relevant and tailored quotes to the consumer, across multiple carriers, in the shortest time possible.

The carrier also leveraged bolt’s data and analytics capability to inform its underwriting appetite for the products it offered and optimized the choice of competitor’s products within the agent quoting experience to improve conversion rates. Additionally, the carrier used the data to improve its own pricing models to ensure its products were better positioned relative to competitors according to its own risk-appetite, optimizing the carrier's risk selection capabilities.

As a result, the carrier and its agency was able to tailor its distribution strategy, optimize its product offerings and pricing, and benefit from agent and customer level risk-selection to achieve its commercial and financial targets. No other insurtech can offer this level of capability and value to a carrier in this hard market.

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