Building relationships between incumbents and technology startups

Technology startups continue to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to increase efficiencies in banking and insurance, creating better experiences for customers and enabling incumbents to reduce costs and bring new products to market.

Richard Hartley, CEO of Cytora, gave his views on these topics during ‘The Use Of Artificial Intelligence In Business’ panel, held at the London Fintech Conference last week.

Other panellists included Giovanni Dapra, CEO of MoneyFarm, and Valentina Kristensen, Director of Communications at OakNorth.

The panel agreed that consumers today expect fast and seamless transactions across every channel, and incumbents’ ability to adapt and deliver on these expectations will determine the size of their future share in the industries they operate in.

Insurance exists to help people. We want to empower insurers to do that in a fast and frictionless way, enabling them to price risk more accurately while delivering a seamless buying experience to their customers.
— Richard Hartley, CEO and Co-founder, Cytora

InsurTech’s edge remains in its focus on using AI and new data sources to solve industry-specific problems, building defensible solutions that incumbents lack the expertise and digital capabilities to replicate.

“We have spent years refining our technology, ingesting data from a huge variety of sources to build a population-scale view of risk. This means that every insurable risk is known and ranked according to future probability of loss,” said Hartley.

“Cytora is focused on bringing this data advantage to commercial underwriting, enabling insurers achieve a better loss ratio and much fairer pricing for the customer.”

Richard Hartley on the future of risk assessment and AI driven underwriting

How can commercial insurers today improve underwriting performance and elevate the customer experience? As the market continues to become more data-driven, how can commercial insurers improve their ability to understand risk quality?

External data and artificial intelligence (AI) have a crucial role to play, opening up significant opportunities for insurers to improve loss ratios while delivering a better experience to customers.

Cytora CEO and co-founder, Richard Hartley, recently offered his views on these topics during the “From Big Data to User Engagement and Connected Insurance: Understanding Today’s Customers” roundtable, held in London by Generali Italia and Oliver James Associates.

Other panellists and attendees included Davide Consiglio, Head of Advanced Analytics, Generali Italia, Adrien Cohen, Chief Commercial Officer, Tractable, Davide Cervellin, Director of Analytics, PayPal, and Roberto Nard, Chief Data Officer, AIG Group.

AI and external data are reshaping the insurance industry. Issues such as data privacy, insurers’ ability to access external data, and building customer trust as interactions become increasing automated were top-of-mind. The panel highlighted that insurers can benefit from partnering with technology companies who have data-driven decision making at the core of their DNA and build products with privacy by design.

We believe that buying business insurance should be as simple as ordering an Uber or purchasing from Amazon. We are dedicated to making that possible by enabling questionless underwriting.
— Richard Hartley, CEO and Co-founder, Cytora

Hartley predicted that the use of AI and external data in insurance will become commonplace within the next 10 years because of the benefits it can provide to both customers and insurers. He commented that insurers are already experiencing significant improvements in loss ratio since integrating Cytora’s Risk Engine into their underwriting process.

“By using AI and external data to underwrite, insurers not only eliminate bias from the underwriting process, they are able to radically improve the customer experience,” Hartley commented.  

When asked how insurers looking to transition to questionless underwriting can prepare, Hartley said, “the first step is to engage, start a conversation. Big gains can be made with relatively small changes.”  

Cytora strengthens advisory team with the addition of Richard Coleman

Cytora, the artificial intelligence company powering a new way for commercial insurers to target, select and price risk, has further strengthened its advisory team with the appointment of Richard Coleman.

From September, Richard Coleman will join Cytora part-time as a member of the advisory board, bringing 20 years of expertise in the insurance sector. He spent the last 12 years leading a number of businesses for Zurich Insurance covering a variety of channels and classes, including personal lines and SME.

Previously, Richard was the Managing Director of Zurich's UK Commercial Broker business, with line responsibility for one of Zurich's largest UK units. He has broad experience across a range of insurance functions and distribution as well as large-scale technology and people transformations.

I’m delighted to be advising Cytora alongside my full-time work in the wider sector - their capabilities have the potential to revolutionise commercial underwriting, and I’m looking forward to playing a role in their future success.
— Richard Coleman.

In his role at Cytora, Richard will be working alongside a mixture of machine learning and insurance industry experts including Matthew Grant (former RMS executive), Ted Briscoe (Professor of Computational Linguistics at the University of Cambridge) and Bill Byrne (Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge). With the deep industry knowledge Richard brings, Cytora plans to continue to expand its commercial offering to provide insurers with exciting new products using their ‘Risk Engine’ model.

"We are building a future that uses machine learning and external data to price risk," said Richard Hartley, CEO and co-founder of Cytora. "Richard shares our conviction and vision, and we're thrilled that he is joining us as we move into a new phase of development. His extensive skills and expertise in the sector will be an invaluable asset to our growing team.”