July 3, 2017 by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor
There are “all sorts of insights” that an insurance brokerage can get from customer data, but that data needs to be trustworthy, the head of an online commercial insurance brokerage told attendees at a recent conference.
“If you don’t have data, go capture the data,” said Sam Natur, president and chief executive officer of Mississauga, Ont.-based Bullfrog Insurance Ltd. “Figure out a way to do it.”
He made his comments June 29 during the Insurance Analytics Canada Summit in Toronto.
Bullfrog, a commercial insurance brokerage, was established in 2013 by the Canadian Broker Network (CBN), which is comprised of seven brokerages. CBN launched Bullfrog in March 2015.
Bullfrog lets commercial customers apply for insurance, pay premiums by credit card and have policies bound without signing paper.
Brokerages using data analytics need to ensure the data they collect is trustworthy, Natur suggested June 29 during a presentation – titled Improving Products and Service Through Analytics – at the summit.
“If you don’t have trustworthy data, or integrity, you are going to start running into all sorts of problems and your decisions are going to be constantly things that you come back and second guess,” he said. “As time has gone on, and we have established that trustworthiness, we have come to see that there are all sorts of insights that we can get and those insights contribute to decisions. They contribute to changes. They contribute to innovation.”
Bullfrog obtains several pieces of information automatically – including age, gender, IP address, the device and the browser they are using, among others – Natur suggested during the summit, held at Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel.
“With the data we capture, we have come to know what our customer looks like,” Natur said. “We have catered our marketing, we have catered our products to that. We are constantly re-evaluating it.”
But in Bullfrog’s early days, company officials “ate humble pie,” suggested Natur.
“We launched and we had a room full of experts from the insurance industry,” he said. “We had multiple insurance partners there. We had senior brokers with years and decades of experience.”
However with the business owners’ package, during the first month of Bullfrog’s operation in 2015, 80% of prospective customers were unable to complete their applications online, he suggested.
“We kept seeing that we were booting them out on to the telephone and so if you look at this stat, we were kicking out 80% of the traffic that came in,” he said. “We were 80% off the target.”
They later reduced the number of underwriting questions they were asking, he suggested.
“Before we launched Bullfrog, people said ‘There is no way you are going to be able to put up an online questionnaire and bind someone online. That’s nuts.’ Then when we did it, they said, ‘Okay, 15 questions? That’s short enough. That’s the bare minimum of what we need to rate someone and bind them.’”
But now, some customers are having coverage bound by answering as few as five questions, he suggested.
“Last week we had 78% of people coming in and getting a quote online,” Natur said during the Insurance Analytics Canada Summit. “For us, one of the biggest ‘A-ha’ moments was earlier this year. We’ve got it down to five to seven questions, depending on what category you are in.”
Not all customers were looking for the best price, he suggested.
“There were people, that when they see a premium, in excess of $10,000, they want to talk to someone,” Natur said. “What would happen is, when they would give them that option and say, ‘Here is the best rate we’ve got,’ the response was, ‘Okay, can I pay by credit card or can I finance this on a monthly basis?’ It was not a discussion of, ‘Go back and find a better rate.’”
Many prospective clients were calling Bullfrog asking why they hadn’t received a quote and Bullfrog was telling them they were trying to find a better price, Natur said at the summit.
“What I was saying to the agents was, ‘Go book the sale,’” he said.
“It really became evident to us that this was a need for speed demographic,” he said. “But that had repercussions within the insurers as well, where we said, ‘Don’t sit on this lead because frankly if you don’t take it, one of your competitors will take it.’”
That prompted some changes within some of Bullfrog’s insurer partners, he suggested.
“We don’t want to play phone tag, where you contact one underwriter that underwriter has a day off, you call the next underwriter and you are re-explaining the whole situation again,” Natur said. “So there were internal processes within the insurers that changed the points of contacts for us, their processes – everything to expedite. Those that responded to that did very well.”
More coverage of the Insurance Analytics Canada Summit