Insurtech is a term that is used to describe the mix of technology in the insurance industry. You can think of it in a similar way to Fintech and the relationship between technology and the finance industry with companies like Klarna or Robinhood changing the industry through digital channels.
Traditionally, the insurance industry, much like the finance industry, has struggled to adopt digital processes for various reasons, but with start-ups such as our own developing new products, it’s becoming increasingly more common to use digital platforms to sign up, manage or cancel insurance plans.
What does Insurtech look like?
Insurtech takes outdated processes like going to the office of an insurance broker to discuss the plans they offer and places all of the information online in the form of landing pages, videos and articles. Once someone has looked through the plans that are offered and the coverage they could expect, they can go through a digital application process or look at other insurtech companies online for comparison. At a physical insurance broker, this wouldn’t be possible since the customer would need to walk to anther broker to compare the plans.
The application process is also simplified. Information is stored in your account, so you’ve already completed some of the questions. Filing claims is also much easier as photos of the bills can be uploaded to your general insurance account instead of filing claims with multiple insurance companies. For insurtech companies, we don’t just sell the plans and walk away — we’re also a large part of the claims process and will often take over the claims process, so you don’t have to.
Insurtech wasn’t the first industry that thought of this. Fintech takes on a similar approach in the banking industry while banks keep the customers. They link this to the new movement of Insurtech because both Fintech and Insurtech are based around improving user experience while keeping the products essentially the same.
For Feather, we’ve already done this by developing a few of our tools like the Health Tool if you’re looking to sign up for health insurance, or the Recommendation Tool if you’re looking to explore all of the insurance options we have available.
An online account
One of the biggest advantages to our service is that we offer multiple insurance plans on the same portal. That provides a lot of flexibility when moving between different health insurance plans and submitting claims.
For example, let’s say that you can’t get on public or private health insurance, but still need a visa. You can sign up for expat insurance, and when you fulfill the requirement for either public or private insurance, we have a button on each Feather account where expat insurance plan users can click which will switch to private or public without a lapse in coverage.
Submitting claims online
For things like medical bills or claims, we were able to integrate a function to take a picture of the bill with your phone and upload it to your account. The claim will then be processed and the money will be transferred to your account after it’s confirmed to be covered by insurance.
For some claims with an initial fee, this will be deducted from the amount of the claim like for household contents insurance.
An industry in desperate need of innovation
Even small changes make a huge difference because the industry is in desperate need of innovation. For insurance in Germany, this is glaringly true as many struggle to find even the basic information online.
Most people who move to Germany experience their first challenge with insurance during the application process when you need to go to a physical location to get the plan while being simultaneously provided little information about what is actually covered. If you don’t speak German, this becomes next to impossible (forget trying to compare insurance plans either). It’s honestly understandable that most people settle for the nearest public insurance office to their apartment.
How to handle those who don’t speak German
While translating each insurance plan into every language would be nearly impossible, having plans in common international languages like English, French, Chinese, and Spanish would make plans much more accessible to many newcomers.
Feather currently is focused on providing plans and customer service in English, so we won’t be able to help you out with the other languages just yet, but the need is growing for more accessible information especially when it comes to something as important as health insurance and what is covered.
This would extend to the websites as well to provide blog posts and information to a broader audience who may have difficulties navigating the system.
Insurtech and the future of healthcare
In 2019, just before the pandemic, Germany passed the Digitale Versorgung-Gesetzt or the digital care act.
Under this bill, the government made it easier to use digital products for healthcare services. Many insurance providers have since been looking into digital ways to accept sick notes, provide secure video calls between doctors and patients, and even cover digitally-enabled technologies that function with the help of apps like insulin pumps or hormone testing kits.
Still, however good this might sound, you might have already encountered the huge barrier presented to just connecting your health insurance app to your phone with the endless letters in the mail with codes that simply don’t work as they expire before they can be delivered.
The future of healthcare is developing slowly, but insurtech companies like ours are trying to push the industry forward by providing simple, honest, and practical solutions.