By Matt Kenyon
Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO of Tapoly, is one of a growing number of insurtech founders whose drive to disrupt the industry followed a particularly bad customer experience. She was surprised by how difficult it was to secure short-term cover while booking an Airbnb. In a digital ecosystem that enables effortless short-term property-letting, why would insurance not follow suit?
Tapoly has set a template not only in terms of business model – Kaenprakhamroy’s was also among the first of a significant number of insurtechs founded by people outside of the insurance industry. Following an early career spent with major financial services institutions from Deutsche Bank to JP Morgan and ultimately UBS, founding Tapoly was a leap into the unknown.
Her firm, founded in 2016, has the distinction of being Europe’s first insurtech. Five years ago, there was no playbook for what the business model of an all-digital managing general agent (MGA) would look like – this week we spoke to Kaenprakhamroy about building not only an insurtech, but a ground-up software solutions provider and bespoke technology partner.
Kaenprakhamroy has recognised that this underserved market for freelancers and gig economy workers not only deserves cover but also presents a strong business opportunity. She points to the striking statistic that 96% of businesses in the UK have fewer than 10 employees. Serving ‘micro SMEs’ is not only an opportunity in terms of market-share – they also represent an explosive potential for growth as those companies scale.
Early in Tapoly’s journey, the team established that flexibility is key. Gig workers need quotes quickly for immediate, varied and often short term contracts. This new marketplace of self-employed workers has been a logistical nightmare for insurers. In a traditional structure of insurance, customer data must be passed between a number of distribution stakeholders in a process of repeated manual data entry.
The Tapoly team established that the key to a B2B2C insurtech model was in producing platforms that are both seamless and bespoke. Core to their business proposition is identifying and mitigating the pain-points that their clients face.
They discovered that many of the issues that their clients mentioned were due to a disconnected insurance distribution team – so, by creating a comprehensive, in-house platform Tapoly recognised that they could enable customers to avoid outdated systems.
In a market that has since seen a boom in embedded insurance products, this original model of embedded software has held firm as the insurtech market reaches maturity. More so than ever before, solutions providers work with established firms to enrich their digital experience.
This emphasis of flexibility and ease of use has informed a bold approach to customer service. Tapoly has developed AI chatbots in-house with a continual emphasis on adding value rather than removing the human touch. Kaenprakhamroy says that by outsourcing basic customer service tasks to an AI chatbot can humanise the customer service experience – complex queries can still be handled by staff members, but only when there is genuine value to be added.
This is a recognition that customer priorities have changed, but equally that AI can be combined with traditional customer service channels in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Tapoly was established early in the insurtech industry but it has preempted more recent industry trends towards solutions partnerships, platform-as-a-service and enhanced customer experience.
Looking to the future, Kaenprakhamroy says that Tapoly are working to develop real-time, AI-driven pricing systems to connect customers with instant insurance products. Tapoly are investing deeply in an economy shifting fundamentally towards self-employment and gig economy work.
Matt Kenyon is a content producer at Insurtech Insights.
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