US peer-to-peer insurer Lemonade continues to be one step ahead of mainstream insurers in terms of both marketing and applying technology, as it claims its latest move “opens up its platform to the world.”
Lemonade, widely viewed as being at the forefront of innovation in insurance, has cut out traditional distribution channels to market itself directly to consumers at the point of sale (POS). It has created an application programming interface (API) that integrates its products into commerce websites and offers customers relevant insurance for the item they are purchasing.
The next step for customer targeting appeared to be through social media data, and identifying potential customers based on hobbies and events in their lives. Access to customers at the point of sale is a step beyond, as it removes any guesswork on whether a customer may be interested in a certain product. It is mutually beneficial too, as the retailer will generate revenue from directing customers to Lemonade’s products.
Retailers can opt to use Lemonade’s chatbox, Maya, which will pop up on their site and guide customers through the process. A more advanced option is also available, which Lemonade describes as a deeper level of integration within the retailer’s site. This involves the retailer bypassing the bot and having control of every step of the insurance purchase flow. Lemonade disclosed that it has been working with a few leading companies over the last few weeks that have already integrated the API.
This comes just over a year since Lemonade’s official launch in September 2016. The peer-to-peer insurer now operates in six states – New Jersey, New York, California, Rhode Island, Texas, and Illinois – but is set to expand into a further 15, expanding its reach to 50% of the US population. The insurer recently made headlines for offering “zero deductible policies” where customers could claim twice a year without having to pay excess or incur rate hikes afterwards.
A key development to monitor will be whether the less tech-savvy insurers, which have only just started utilizing big data and analytics for targeting, attempt to replicate this and also seek out customers at the point of sale.
By Ben Carey-Evans, General Insurance Analyst