Insurance, with no questions asked

By Chris Butcher, Chief Executive Officer, Intermediary Services

15th October 2019

This article was first published by Insurance Times.

With one-third of customers giving up on lengthy question sets, will insurtech powered zero-questions-asked insurance quotes revolutionise the process?

One main differentiator of insurtech managing general agents and insurers such as Trõv, Lemonade, Lenny, Wrisk, Simplesurance, Coverly and Uinsure is the promise to provide a real-time quote without the need to answer long questionnaires.

“It’s really about getting data from lots of different sources instantaneously,” said Chris Butcher, chief executive, intermediary services at Davies Group.

“From the moment the customer interacts by tapping their phone, the app can draw down through all those data feeds almost a complete picture of the customer without them doing anything.”

Quotes without questions

Self-proclaimed insurance disruptor Uinsure has launched a home insurance product where real-time quotes are generated without the need for the customer to answer any questions.

Hailed by the insurtech firm as the industry’s “Uber/Netflix moment”, it uses information already provided to mortgage lenders to deliver binding quotes via the company’s new open application programming interface (API).

Data-as-a-service provider WhenFresh partnered with Uinsure to provide the product. It is also working with other carriers “who want to unshackle themselves from price comparison churn engines”, said WhenFresh co-founder and director Mark Cunningham.

“With Uinsure, as they are already asking for data for the mortgage, the only thing they need to ask is the additional buildings information,” he said. “And they call out to us by API, so there is zero questions asked of the applicant. The Uinsure team just deliver a price.”


WhenFresh brings together over two billion data items from various sources for nearly all residential UK properties, including the date a property was built, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and property type and style. Available via a single API integration, insurers can extract the data they find most useful.

This is not always the data that has been traditionally requested by home insurance underwriters and brokers, said Cunningham. “Insurance is not a data-rich business, it’s a data-homogenous business. A lot of companies have the same information, but not necessarily the information you need.”

“If you knew how proximate an address was to a petrol station, how high a property was up a hill, or that there was a power line that was going to be built across a property in six months time, what would you do with it? These are the things that are going to make a difference – not necessarily how many bedrooms or how many bathrooms a property has.”

Some incumbent insurance providers are also teaming up with insurtechs to simplify the quotation process. Legal & General’s SmartQuote and Aviva’s “Get a Quote, Not a Quiz” campaign are two examples.

Aviva uses Land Registry data to simplify its quotation process, with digital director Owen Morris saying the carrier is “determined to make endless, unnecessary insurance questions a thing of the past”.

Matching up the data

But other carriers are struggling to extract value from new data sources, said Davies Group’s Butcher.

“Much as insurance is a data-rich industry, there’s probably an issue with old language around old datasets and new language around a completely different approach,” he said.

“How that’s married up over the next two to three years will be a significant challenge because there will be an expectation in the old world that data is presented to them in the format and structure that they want. It’s understanding if there are insurers out there that are genuinely entertaining a different type of data,” he continued.

“Are they willing to take a risk that the newer datasets are more interesting and useful than the older ones? Time will tell.”

“Whether zero questions or limited questions, insurtechs are trying to make the insurance quoting process as simple and transparent as possible for the broker, so customers can receive a fast and accurate end quote.

“It will be seen over the next couple of years in the loss ratios of the products if the new data sets provided demonstrable value,” added Zach Powell, managing director, AXIS Digital Ventures. ”

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