By Leslie Hughes, California Business Journal.
In a world oversaturated with front-end insurance apps, GloveBox CEO Ryan Mathisen managed to find a concept that hasn’t been done yet in the complex — and antiquated — world of insurance.
Thanks to technologies like GloveBox, the insurance industry is slowly evolving through technology, “making it easier for consumers to manage all their insurances from home and auto with life and health coming,” Mathisen says.
There has been a trickle of insurance carriers entering the market selling only one product. Take companies like Root & Lemonade for example. While amazingly efficient, they only offer single types of insurance: auto and homeowners/renters respectively.
“So what that does for the consumer is force them to have to go multiple places to get other types of insurance,” Mathisen says.
With one carrier for health insurance, another carrier for car insurance, and yet another for home/renter’s insurance, there is a substantial amount of paperwork – and emails — to keep it straight. “And most people — rightfully so — find it utterly overwhelming,” Mathisen says.
Enter GloveBox, which Mathisen created with his team, which includes Andy Mathisen, Sean Mulhern and Drew Lewellyn.
Mathisen, prior owner of a large personal line’s insurance agency, and his team have multiple carriers they can shop, just like any agency. However, as Mathisen says, “all we’ve really done is confuse what carriers the clients are written with. As an independent agency, we can sell anywhere from 30-50 carriers just so our clients can save money on their insurance.
“On the back end, consumers don’t realize who they’re with, how to make a claim or who to pay their bill through,” he adds. “It’s quite a maze — and quite inconvenient.”
Mathisen saw this as a continuation of the industry’s decades-old problem and began reaching out to the insurance carriers to hear their thoughts on developing a convenient, all-encompassing app.
“What they told me was that only about 20% of independent insurance carriers only utilize the portals while 80% of the market uses nothing,” he says. “With my agency, we alone get 13,000 calls a month for service and 70% is what we call tier-one service — ‘How do I get roadside? How do I pay bills?’ It’s all the things that don’t make the agency money — and it frustrates the clients to even be calling.”
From listening to consumers, carriers and agencies, Mathisen bridged the gaps. “We learned – and already knew for the most part — the frustrations of each party. We’re now ahead of the game in working to put an end to those frustrations. What we’re doing is creating more value for each party in that circle,” he says.
For the client, it is the ease of servicing their insurance, making it simple for them to access their policies and initiate a claim. “We’re all about the sheer convenience of having everything in one centralized location – like it should be,” Mathisen says.
Next, when it comes to agency owners, the biggest draw to GloveBox “is the boost in retention on their books,” Mathisen adds. “In additional they are able to decrease their customer service personnel costs.”
And from the carrier side, “we’re bumping their retention and decreasing their service costs,” he says. “Some carriers have $30B on the books. If we can save them even 0.5%, we are bringing them tens and hundreds and millions of dollars back.”
The initial version of GloveBox took the Apple approach: simplified and easy to use so “we can gain the trust of our followers,” Mathisen says. This includes such features as the simple task of being able to access your policies and your ID cards instantly with the ability to email and text them to anyone.
That basic functionality was previously missing … until GloveBox.
GloveBox is now in development for the next versions of its app. For versions two and three, “we are introducing billing automation with carriers – and that is going to be huge.” The company is also working on claims automation, which, as Mathisen says, “is groundbreaking.”
Another innovative feature that GloveBox is rolling out in later versions is the ability to add auto ID cards to Apple Wallet. The GloveBox team is also working with artificial intelligence companies for what Mathisen calls “a policy reader.” When an individual pulls out their policy from GloveBox, it will tell them exactly what they have and what they don’t have. It will be connected through both Siri and Alexa.
The intriguing element of the insurance business is that it is among the most antiquated industries in the world. Take for instance a 40-year-old insurance agency, which may struggle on how to utilize technology – or adopt newer tech advances. Today, billions of dollars are being pumped into insurance technology products, yet there is “still a big divide and quite a bit of work to do,” Mathisen says.
Which means that over the next three years “you are going to see a trickle effect of what technologies are going to be adopted and comfortably used without being overwhelming,” Mathisen says. “Look, in 10 years, there may not even be insurance agents. Technology could take over the industry completely. And we created GloveBox to prolong the relevancy of the agencies while assisting the carriers in staying connecting and accessible to their policy holders.”
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