Connected devices and the Internet of Things are on all insurers’ agendas, however nobody does them better than InsurTech start-ups. Faster to adapt to new technologies and consumer trends, these new players shouldn’t be considered only disruptors in the industry and therefore a threat, but as service complementors and collaborators. One such example is Amodo, whose CEO, Marijan Mumdziev, told us how the start-up came to exist and how it’s improving insurance risk assessments and the range of products insurers can offer.
Hello Marijan! First of all, how did you come up with the idea for your start-up?
The Amodo team had been dealing with connected technology and digital channels for more than 15 years. We performed different projects for big global brands such as Nike or Volvo before Amodo. During one of the engagements, we realized how Big Data coming from connected consumer devices is going to disrupt the global insurance market. Having realized that, we got so excited that we decided to launch a separate company dealing only with connected devices in the insurance industry. After almost three years in the field, we are even more excited now than when we started.
What is your start-up all about?
Amodo is all about helping Insurance companies to make sense of the data coming from the different consumer devices on the market today and more importantly helping them better understand the needs and behavior of their customers.
How is your start-up changing / challenging the insurance industry?
Based on the analytics you can perform with the Amodo platform on the data being collected with different consumer devices (e.g. wearable devices, smartphones, connected cars, etc.), insurance companies can significantly improve their risk pricing. However, what indicates even bigger potential in terms of changing the insurance industry, are the digital insurance products that can be created with the Amodo platform for the connected generation. With these new digital insurance products, completely new market segments can be addressed, virtually non-existent in the insurance portfolio until today.
What’s the most difficult aspect about running a start-up?
The TIMING. Are we too EARLY or are we too LATE? Is the customer ready to adopt our technology and embrace the change – TODAY? Are we ready to launch – TODAY? Can we demonstrate the value of the technology – SOON ENOUGH? Normally start-ups do not have the financial situation that would give them the luxury of having more time. The timing needs to be well synchronized across the whole business – when we onboard customers, when we onboard investors, when we have the beta ready, etc.
What’s the best aspect?
The IMPACT. Small group of pioneers walking a new path. Finding something at the end of it and then sharing it with the others. It gives you a sense of leaving a mark in this world.
Can you describe your start-up in 3 words?
From now on
What are 3 key aspects do you wish you knew before starting up your business?
We are doing really well. The downside of such situation is limited opportunity to learn what you could have done better. However, three things I would stress to my team and myself back then if I had the chance are: “PEOPLE. PEOPLE. PEOPLE”. I cannot emphasize that enough. Good PEOPLE make all the difference in the world. Period.
What other InsurTech start-ups are you excited about?
I am excited about Trov. They are excellent in fundraising, which buys them the luxury of time. Start-ups need time to learn, improve and thrive. Funds give you time. Time is necessary requirement for any business, but not sufficient though. I am excited to see how the InsurTech landscape looks like in 3 years from now as I believe it will be vastly different and highly segmented compared to how it looks now.
Do you have any advice for others who might want to venture into the start-up world?
Get the best PEOPLE you can on board.
Can you give me an example of innovation / technology that has impressed you lately?
As at Amodo we enrich our technology with the gamification principles, we do a lot of research on the best practices in the gaming business. What impressed me recently is how much revenues per user some of the apps started generating through the in-app purchases. I still recall the times, when disposable income for the app was at a level of 2-3€ a month. Now some of the most popular gaming apps take on average more than 500€ per user! Some users even spend tens of thousands of euros on in-app purchases! This was for me the example of impressive and very efficient innovation.
What gadget can’t you live without?
My smartphone of course. Clearly, this fact is also reflected in Amodo’s technology. I am not the only one believing that the smartphone will become the central hub for the connected consumer of the future. Other sensors will certainly be added as part of the overall ecosystem, initially as aftermarket, afterwards as integral parts of the smartphone – where possible.
Can you describe the current state of the insurance industry in 3 words?
Not customer centric
How can insurers be more innovative?
Certainly innovative people can be found in most of the insurance companies out there. However, initiatives trying to harvest the potential of those people fail to perform. In many cases, imposing internal processes and governance on the initiatives kills the potential of innovation and consequently the initiative itself. In case Insurance companies would like to improve their capability to innovate, they should pay a lot of attention on how to setup the initiative properly, and most importantly give the full executive sponsorship to it. If the Insurance companies want to do the new things (connected insurance, P2P and other new products and initiatives), they should not do them with old tools.
What can insurers do to make it easier for you to collaborate with them?
Insurers should add an executive sponsorship to their internal innovation initiatives as delegating innovation to lower operational level commonly causes the whole initiatives to be blocked by existing processes that are not tailored to be flexible to accommodate completely new ways of doing business.
In your opinion, what is going to be the next big thing in insurance?
Internet of Things related technologies for sure. IoT is nothing but the sensors everywhere. Sensors are nothing but Big Data. And Big Data can truly change the insurance business models radically.
What else would you be doing if you hadn’t started up your current business?
I would be looking to start another one.
That’s a very popular response among our interviewees. Thank you Marijan for your insight. For more details about Amodo, you can check the start-up’s website here.
Interested in more interviews? Keep an eye on this space!
Marketing assistant @Ingenin