“Virtual Claims-Focused InsurTech Aims at Expanding into Distribution,” CEO Says
By Varada Bhat
After gaining traction with several personal lines carriers with its claims-focused AI messaging service, Hi Marley is looking to expand its platform to sales and distribution channels.
“We’re looking to support our carrier customers across the entire value chain from empowering their agents to involving their ecosystem partners like rental car and repair companies,” the InsurTech firm’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Mike Greene , told P&C Specialist in an interview. “We see this as an opportunity to grow from conversations to facilitating transactions.”
The Boston-based company’s AI-powered intelligent conversation platform helps insurers and vendors connect with customers and simplify transactions across claims, service, and underwriting.
Spurred on by COVID-19, virtual claims management businesses have gotten a boost as P&C insurers embrace technology initiatives intended to impGuidewire Softwarerove remote interactions with policyholders, according to Greene.
Amid increasing demand for its platform, Hi Marley recently raised $8 million to ramp up its hiring efforts across engineering and customer-facing teams, as reported by P&C Specialist.
“As the industry moves beyond the web, portals, and email, there is a growing recognition that a whole new world of digital communications options can be applied in insurance,” says Mark Breading, a partner in insurance consulting firm Strategy Meets Action in a blog post. “Messaging and collaboration platforms, business texting, chatbots, voice, and even personalized interactive video. They often simultaneously improve customer experience while reducing expenses.”
Just in the last two months, Hi Marley has announced partnerships with leading P&C insurers such as American Family Insurance, MetLife, Plymouth Rock Assurance , and P&C software maker Guidewire Software. The company has signed around 40 partnerships with insurance carriers and vendors since its inception in 2017.
The company’s platform has flexible application program interfaces or APIs — prewritten packages of computer code that allow programs, websites, or apps to talk to one another — which can be easily integrated with an insurer’s core system like servers, software, and applications to provide performance insights and analytics.
Greene — an insurance industry veteran who previously founded a software and services company focused on P&C claims (acquired by Aon) — has seen Hi Marley as a way to develop relationships and ultimately build trust with consumers.
“We’re now seeing a level of collaboration and a sense of urgency like we’ve never seen before,” he says. “Carriers are realizing by being easily connected through text, builds trust. They can not only retain their existing customer base but also attract new customers. And we want to empower this human to human connection in an efficient way.”
Studies show consumers favor text messaging to alternative forms of communications like emailing and calling. “77% of clients have a more positive impression of companies that text. And with a 98% open rate, texts are far more likely to be seen than emails, which have a roughly 20% open rate,” says a Zipwhip survey published in December 2018.
For instance, MetLife customers have filed more than 30,000 claims using the Hi Marley’s platform since its pilot phase of the partnership, which was launched in October, as reported by P&C Specialist. The service has also allowed the carrier’s policyholders to use texting to receive updates, and chat directly with claims adjusters.
Greene says its platform results in between 20% and 50% faster claims resolutions and around four fewer calls per claim for P&C insurers. On average, an auto claim takes 25 or 30 days process while property claims tend to be 30 to 60 days. “It’s a trifecta. It’s a better experience. It’s more productive, and it’s less costly as well,” he says.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Hi Marley’s capabilities are now extensively used outside of the claims process. The company says its carrier customers have leveraged the platform to support announcements notifying people of premium relief credits, billing options, and other resources available to help policyholders during the pandemic. “Insurers are welcoming customers at policy inception, supporting high-volume premium and billing changes like those during COVID-19 and proactively notifying customers of weather and safety tips,” says Greene.
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