Entrepreneur built an insurtech virtual app marketplace
Its founder refers to it as an API AppMarket. Think of it like the Apple app store, but with an insurtech twist.
“Apple created the standard,” said founder and CEO Michel Lebor (pictured). “We are an AppMarket – which is the term we use. It’s a bunch of pre-integrated inventory of insurtech services.”
The idea also evokes Zapier, Lebor said, a product that lets end users integrate web applications they use and automate workflows.
Created less than a year ago in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, InsuranceGIG is intended to help making buying and selling of insurance data and technology much easier. It connects buyers and sellers to provide commercial and property data prefill to agencies, wholesalers, and carriers and grow the InsuranceGIG ecosystem.
The company is in proof-of-concept stage but it is already generating traction, with close to 50 insurtechs already listed on the market. InsuranceGIG has done a pre-seed financing and is exploring seed investment. Lebor said he is talking to a number of venture capitalists and “getting a tremendous amount of interest.”
Lebor launched InsuranceGIG in July 2021, but previously was at AmTrust Financial Services, most recently as global head of digital distribution and innovation and before that chief marketing officer and senior vice president of strategic innovation.
While there, he said he started to think about the idea that became InsuranceGIG, as a way to speed up the integration process and add innovation efficiencies to the industry. That idea coalesced further during the pandemic, he said, when he would work with an engineer in India, talking to him at night. He would go to bed on the East Coast and then wake up seeing work accomplished the next morning, even though both were nearly a world apart.
“We’re trying to build a work paradigm where the sun never sets on InsuranceGIG in terms of work being done,” Lebor said.
The idea has the potential of changing across the board how the insurance industry integrates insurtech.
Companies such as Fenris Digital have taken notice. The insurance data sourcing startup announced on May 17 that it had joined the market, which will provide buyers with direct access to Fenris’ data via their APIs integrated into InsuranceGIG’s data fabric, available on a per transaction basis.
Insurtechs that join InsuranceGIG can make their initial connection quickly. According to Lebor, the listing of their APIs takes just a couple of minutes, and the data mapping happens in minimal time, depending on the size of the content.
A listed service from an insurtech member doesn’t mean that it is necessarily pre-integrated, however. A buyer – a broker or agent or another party that needs insurtech products and services may come to InsuranceGIG and say it wants to consumer the service. It connects through InsuranceGIG and then the marketplace connects the two parties together into one implementation. That integration process has longer term milage for other clients. The next time an entity wants an integration from the same party, the previous tech process already stands, and can be used by the new customer.
“Once it happens the first time anyone else who comes to us can benefit from that integration that’s already done,” Lebor said.
Customers of the marketplace subscribe to the workflow provided by the insurtech or application, working through InsuranceGIG to connect. The vendor gets paid and InsuranceGIG makes 15% off each dollar transacted on the platform.
Complete integrations of companies into the InsuranceGIG marketplace take different lengths of time. Some take a day or two, but others have more complicated API submissions and require longer efforts. InsuranceGIG can handle the integration by proxy, the insurtech can do so directly or the buyer can do it. Lebor noted the details are being finessed as the company works through its proof-of-concept phase.
Having insurtech vendors in one place will make a world of difference, Lebor said, rather than relying on working with one company at a time.
“There are a whole host of reasons not to go to one company at a time as opposed to letting me do one integration with InsuranceGIG, and I now have a whole inventory of data partners and RPA partners and submission partners that I began with one integration,” Lebor said. “You could now try before you buy, where if you go to these companies directly, you have to sign a long-term enterprise contract and most of the POCs are pricey.”
InsuranceGIG doesn’t have long-term contracts, and a customer can test two potential tech options against each other.
“We’ve completely de-risked the procurement process,” Lebor said.