Covid-19 has driven technological variations in the way SME’s now handle their operations and payments processes, a crucial need to suit today’s dynamic marketplace evolutions. Mark Morissette, Co-founder and CEO at Foxquilt explores more in this chat with us:
Mark, we’d love to hear about the Foxquilt platform…how (and why!) did the idea come about…take us through the story and its growth?
While building and scaling our previous fintech company, our current leadership encountered a problem with onboarding service providers due to their lack of required insurance. Our platform hosted a network of ~200K like-and-kind small business mortgage appraisers and the last step in their due diligence was to submit a stipulated professional liability insurance coverage. However, the majority of these small businesses did not have the adequate coverage and it became a real problem. Our request to the insurance market was to integrate insurance-as-a-solution to our platform and cascade a modern affinity offering to our network. We did not get a response and thus the light bulb went off.
We decided to go solve the problem and build a modern, full-stack carrier that would focus on targeting and retaining profitable risks while empowering small business owners with bespoke solutions aligned to their specific businesses. Our team invested our capital into building a dynamic back-end architecture comprised of data-layered microservices (similar to the top ecommerce global orgs). The machine can discern by industry peel it back, if its inside or outside painter (very different risk exposure) and then underwrite, price and build coverage accordingly. code the nature of business so that it can underwrite it, price it and align it to a tailor-made product. Example: The incumbent insurance carriers plug every painter, HVAC, carpenter, electrician into a one-size-fits all product. But with our data-enabled architecture, our platform can determine if it’s a painter,
We partnered with the largest Reinsurer in the world, Munich Re. This relationship affords us the capabilities to transcend to a modern carrier and we’ve since engineered dozens of innovative product offering for small business owners. Because we own all of the proprietary IP within our platform, Foxden, we are now innovating distribution and affording integrated solutions to be embedded directly within B2B partnerships. The lightbulb problem has been solved.
How are you seeing insurtech innovations redefine the SMB need today – can you share highlights on how you feel this market will shape up to look?
- Usage-based products: so many SMEs are consultative or short-term contacts. They don’t need 1 year term polices. Rather, they should pay for duration of their contract (sounds easy to solve, but first, you need to build the architecture, like ours, so the machine can power underwriting, rate, product and ongoing amendments without manual disruption).
- Gig-Economy: The economic environment is changing: many SMEs consist of different types of businesses (a person may be a baker in the morning selling via Etsy, a graphic artist in the afternoon and a yoga teacher at night.) Today, they have to purchase 3 different, annual policies (that’s ridiculous and costly). Again, first you need the architecture, like ours, before you can innovate a product to bundle all 3 distinct businesses into 1 policy.
- Embedded Solutions
Insurtechs, like Foxquilt, are designed integrated solutions direct to enterprises or technology companies that have unique small business portfolios, customer bases or network provides. Innovative, distinct solutions can be customized and provide a richer, empowered value offering for each (ie. Tesla customers, Tech platform hosting landlords etc)
Can you talk about the most impactful ways in which you’ve seen SMBs redefine their insurance / finance operations in the recent years to strengthen the user experience; some highlights on the most innovative learnings?
The pandemic has enlightened many SMEs to be more empowered within the purchasing process of the their policy, more open to digital automation to manage the life cycle of their policy and less dependent on legacy agent and broker to manage their affairs. SMEs know they need to ensure adequate coverages and garner the ability to amend their policy as their business changes and grows; dependence on manual processes via legacy agents exposes them to unnecessary risk exposures and an antiquated value chain resulting in long wait times to make policy changes.
Ie. #1. When COVID began: Many SMES wanted to amend their policies to park or make dormant a small fleet of commercial vehicles. Legacy carriers / broker do not have the tech to make the changes, so they used manual/paper changes up and down the value chain (this was crazy!) Foxquilt’s architecture can power rate, underwriting and new bordereau issuance instantly.
#2. When a SME is about to win a new important client: ie. We had client (small digital marketing client) who won a contract to service a municipality. They needed to increase insurance limits and show their new certificate with the municipality named as an additional insured for the duration of the project. The legacy carrier/broker value chain was going to take weeks via an arduous manual process. Again, Foxquilt’s architecture can power rate, underwriting and new bordereau issuance instantly.
#3. Product: Every SME acknowledges the need for a complete offering that mitigates liability risk as well as new products such as cyber that protects their firm from data breaches etc. But you need to be able to engineer innovative solutions to meet demand and first, you need to have designed the architecture to support new products:
- Commercial On-Demand Product: Why are SMEs paying for an annual policy if they’re doing contract/consulting work over time intervals?
- Gig workers perform 3 different jobs within their home (i.e. Baker in the morn, graphic artist in aft and yoga instructor at night) Why are they paying for 3 different, annual policies for each?
We can innovate new solutions, whereas Legacy carriers cannot, because we built the architecture so that enables data algorithms to build and customize products aligned to unique business operations…
As financial technologies and insurtechs start becoming more integrated and sophisticated, what are some of the main concerns / challenges that you still see business struggle to optimize despite a rich feature set in fintech / insurtech?
There is always the concern that fintech/insurtech will outpace their customer base when it comes to digital automation capabilities. We can build new benefits and products, but SMEs need to invest in their digital capabilities and adapt.
As global fintech trends change and the market shifts due to business environments (and also Covid-19), what are your comments on the state of fintech for SMBs in 2021 and beyond?
The future belongs to Fintech! The pandemic accelerated the demand for innovation and new solutions across every demographic and geography by a decade. Every SME, mid-midmarket and large enterprise business that is committed to managing its network providers, customer base, subsidiaries, suppliers etc needs embedded digital solutions ASAP or they risk failure and losing market share to competitors.
Before we wrap up, a few biggest learnings and tips you’d like to share with upcoming tech innovators?
- Surround yourself with intelligent and curious people that share your visions
- People, people, people: Spend time courting top talent (time cycle could be a year or more)
- In this new hybrid home-based, office realty – implement rhythm methodologies across the organization (from Day 1) to manage cross-functional projects, pace and most importantly CULTURE
- Test, measure, learn, iterate
- Trust your instincts and intuition to WIN
Customer Experience Trends are Changing as are Sales and Marketing Alignment Strategies, stay updated on the latest tactics with the SalesStar Podcast!