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Features Hub Interview

Tapoly is making insurance agile

Wed 27 Feb 2019 | Janthana Kaenprakhamroy

Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO and founder of Tapoly, talks with John Bensalhia about the insurtech and the background to her desperately needed on-demand insurance platform

“It is hard to ignore or not take any interest in technology. It is the greatest recent phenomenon that has transformed and continues to transform pretty much every industry.”

So says Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO and founder of Tapoly, the first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy in Europe. Janthana is ranked by Forbes as number six in the ‘top 100 women founders to watch’ rankings, and is among the top ten insurtech female influencers, according to The Insurance Institute.

“I am a chartered accountant by profession and have worked at top-tier investment banks for over ten years, with my last role being an internal audit director at UBS, before setting up Tapoly in 2016.”

Tapoly – a member of Lloyd’s insurance market – provides flexible on-demand commercial insurance tailor made for SMEs, freelancers, contractors, the self-employed and anyone in the gig/sharing economy. It also provides data-driven software-as-a-service for insurers, brokers and corporate partners who wish to offer on-demand and bespoke products at low cost.

On the way in which technology has changed our lives in recent years, Janthana says:

“The ways we travel, work, communicate, shop and live today have all been affected by technology in one way or another. If you look at the rise of the gig economy for example, there is a massive shift towards flexible working with the number of self-employed accounting for 45 percent of all UK employment growth since 2008. We like flexibility and having everything on- demand.”

Peace of mind

Tapoly’s comprehensive product range includes everything from professional indemnity and public liability to business interruption and cyber security. Janthana says that the key element is that you can get cover for as little as a single day – so you only pay for what you need, when you need it.

“For us it’s about adding value and peace of mind.”

Tapoly’s products can be purchased directly or via brokers, with whom the company works very closely and who have so far benefited massively from its API-enabled insurance-as-a service.

“SMEs, freelancers, contractors and the self-employed can thrive while having the peace of mind that they are covered for exactly what they need, exactly when they need it”

“Our system has a fully integrated broker interface, allowing them to generate quotes and on-board customers faster via a managed web portal and online payment gateway. Brokers can manage policies, oversee claims, and generate reports on their customer activity, while the white-labelled front-end solution enables them to provide customers with ‘quote and buy’ capability directly from their own branded website.”

“We have achieved so much in such a short time, which encourages us to continue with the vision of becoming the ultimate provider of flexible commercial insurance on demand,” says Janthana.

“SMEs, freelancers, contractors and the self-employed can thrive while having the peace of mind that they are covered for exactly what they need, exactly when they need it, and knowing they are not tied into expensive annual policies.”

Behind the pack

While insurance is one of the many fields to be transformed by tech, it is still a late entrant into the digital age.

“I have personally experienced the need for on-demand insurance, but at the time I couldn’t find any adequate solutions,” says Janthana. “That made me wonder why, and prompted me to look for “how?” – particularly from a business point of view – how can we utilise technology to modernise the insurance sector and bring it in line with changing consumer needs and new risks. Subsequently, I started to research and learn more about advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning and look at the application of these to insurance.”

Simply put SMEs, freelancers, self-employed, contractors and the gig/sharing economy are currently massively under-served due to lack of adequate insurance. The introduction of Tapoly offers a chance to rectify this situation.

“The number of gig workers is expected to reach 1.4bn globally by 2025, with estimated corresponding insurance premiums of £280bn,” says Janthana.

“The ways we travel, work, communicate, shop and live today have all been affected by technology in one way or another”

“In the UK alone, the sharing economy today is worth £8bn and is projected to reach £140bn in 2025. Yet these key contributors and stimulators of the economy often face significant challenges when looking for commercial insurance cover that is as flexible as their needs, is low cost, and can be obtained on demand.”

Artificial intelligence

Integrating AI into the insurance platform brings a number of advantages, but as Janthana explains, the fact that the sector is playing catch-up technology-wise means that it’s taking longer to reach its potential.

“The insurance industry certainly does not scream innovation. It is one of the late entrants into the digital age. Multiple industries have already seen considerable growth and benefited massively from AI integration, but with only 1.33 percent of insurance companies investing in AI compared to 32 percent in software and internet technologies, the insurance industry is clearly way behind the world’s AI phenomenon.”

“Beyond the obvious time and cost reductions, integrating AI has massive benefits: whether it’s helping the underwriting team in identifying the best course of action, or eliminating the guesswork associated with decision-making. AI can also make processes more accurate and consistent, for example it can fight fraud by using historical data to understand the patterns and thus identify fraudulent claims faster. It really is fantastic.”

Janthana says that the main driver of insurance platform innovation from a tech perspective is the Internet of Things (IoT). This ties into insurance on demand, because it leads to a model of usage-based insurance. Devices can now track when they are being used, or when problems may be developing.

“For example a car can tell when it is being driven, and a house can tell when there is a leak. This brings the relationship between actual risk and modelled risk closer together, and that is the secret to creating accurate on demand insurance. Tapoly is watching the IoT space with great interest.”

Since the gig/sharing economy moves very fast, this brings new risks and liabilities, thus constantly driving the demand for new products.

“As a tech-based company in particular it is paramount that we continuously innovate and are a step ahead,” says Janthana. “Therefore this year we are focusing on enhancing our product range, which is already comprehensive, but we want to ensure that customers coming to us can find exactly what they are looking for.”

Join me at Big Data World.

Janthana is presenting at Big Data World London, taking place at the ExCeL London March 12-13. Big Data World and its colocated events attract over 20,000 IT decision makers and influencers.

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AI Big Data insurance IoT
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