Bitesize Impact 25: INSTANDA
September 14, 2018 Chris Sandilands
INSTANDA is a ‘challenger’, cloud-based core insurance system that allows insurers, MGAs and brokers to manage policies end-to-end.
The company was founded in 2012 by CEO Tim Hardcastle and COO Derek Hill, both formerly at Hiscox. Investment and funding levels are not disclosed. Key investors are Microsoft Accelerator London and Plug and Play.
Clients use the platform for new product design, development and distribution. The company claims that cycle times for product launch are typically 10x faster than on a legacy system and significantly cheaper. Tim told us that in one recent implementation the cost to replicate a product range on INSTANDA was around 1% of the cost that had been incurred building it on an established core system. “It’s hard to compare things directly, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that insurers could be spending a lot less on technology than they currently are if there’s a willingness to be open-minded”, he adds.
An enabler of this is the common code-base of the system, meaning that customisation can be done by non-technical users on the client side (e.g. ‘drag and drop’ functionality).
INSTANDA has c.40 insurance clients across the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Canada, Chile and Australia. Of these, 30 were won in the last 18 months. Customers range from large corporates such as Talanx HDI and Argo Global to small MGAs and start-ups. 400 products are live on the platform, mostly property & casualty but also some life products. Over 6,000 users and brokers access the platform daily.
There are two ways in which the system can be deployed – either as a full, stand-alone system or as a ‘headless’ platform. In the latter case, the company provides APIs to clients to integrate into their propositions.
Either way, the system allows clients to build portals for brokers and consumers to self-manage policies. As Tim points out, this is a piece of functionality that Lemonade made a big song and dance about in August 2017, but is a standard part of the INSTANDA system.
Recent releases include the ability to buy insurance on Facebook Messenger using an automated chatbot, a feature the company believes will appeal to the larger global insurers for their business to consumer businesses. In August INSTANDA ran a proof of concept with Impact 25 Member Digital Fineprint which has developed a risk and insurance recommendation tool for SMEs. Once customers choose the relevant cover based on Digital Fineprint’s recommendations, they are taken through to INSTANDA’s quote & buy platform to complete the purchase.
INSTANDA’s 70 FTEs are located in UK, US, Canada, Chile and Australia and it plans to double the size of the workforce over the next year.
The Oxbow Partners view
INSTANDA has developed a ‘business-led’ platform. As much of the configuration can be done by business resources, implementation can be much faster than is the case with many traditionally designed systems – the need for limited IT resources is low making it easier to sneak up the IT change stack. Socotra is another example of a platform that has taken this approach.
An additional benefit of the platform is that it is ‘digitally-native’. Several of the more established platforms have implemented ‘digital’ as an after-thought, making some functionality (such as connections to other services) clunky.
Despite the advantages of a modern platform, insurers must remember that the core platform is a mere hygiene factor. The platform is only as good as the proposition that it supports and distribution that drives it. The advantage of a modern core platform is simply that insurers can iterate the proposition faster as they seek traction in the market.
Oxbow Partners has helped clients in the UK, Europe and Australia select policy admin systems. If you’re looking for a system for your business, refer to our printer-friendly checklist or contact Greg Brown.