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Insurtech exec says on-demand insurance responds to pandemic needs


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Insurtech exec says on-demand insurance responds to pandemic needs

➤ The chief growth officer of Slice said there has been interest throughout the pandemic in digital products that are more dynamic and can respond to events and signals as they happen.

➤ On-demand insurance can keep up with changes more easily than a static, traditional insurance policy.

Slice Labs Inc., an insurtech company that offers an on-demand insurance platform, managed to grow and forge new relationships over the past year despite facing the same the hardships that many insurers have encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

S&P Global Market Intelligence caught up with Slice Chief Growth Officer Philippe Lafreniere to discuss how the company's on-demand and monthly subscriptions have functioned during the pandemic. The following conversation has been edited for clarity.

S&P Global Market Intelligence: What is Slice's target market?

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Philippe Lafreniere, chief growth officer of Slice

Source: Slice Inc.

Philippe Lafreniere: Our whole raison d'être is really making insurance on-demand. On-demand means it is digital. It means no friction in the process. You have it when you want to have it, when you need to have it.

Homeshare, rideshare are really just examples of interacting with the digital platform. You need insurance and you do not want to exit the digital process on the platform to try to go get insurance elsewhere and then come back and then perform the activities you need on the platform.

To your question about our target market, you see from some of our recent announcements that it is quite broad. Any insurance that can be digitized and made on-demand is really within our target market. Any platform where the activities that people do on that platform require insurance is within our target market.

How does the monthly subscription product work?

People need change, and people want flexibility in buying an annual policy, so it serves two purposes. In the traditional world before we came along, you would buy a policy that would essentially be static, but an insurer has an artificial process called a renewal, which is really to re-evaluate you. But a year goes by, and for most lines of business they have no access to data that allows them to re-evaluate you.

Likewise if your needs change; we saw it with COVID. People got huge refunds on auto insurance because all of a sudden they were not driving. But if a policy was dynamic and can respond to signals and events, all of that would happen automatically, so insurers would not have had to issue large refund checks during COVID. Our monthly subscription is one of the mechanisms to make a policy dynamic, and people are responding very well to the concept.

How did your strategy fit with the demands and market changes throughout the pandemic?

It evolved because of the uncertainty in the market. If you are a restaurant, are you going to be able to be open? Are you going to be able to operate? Your sales, your receipts will fluctuate greatly. We're basically seeing an echo in terms of the need for on-demand insurance and policies that are more dynamic, which is really what we're all about. We're all about making insurance affordable.

We are about making insurance dynamic and aligned to the needs of the people based on the activities that they do. There is uncertainty in a world with lockdowns and restrictions. Then restrictions get lifted, you can now operate full steam, and then three weeks later you need to shut down again. If insurance was on-demand, it could just follow those changes much more easily than your traditional, old, static policy.

Did you see interest in on-demand insurance increase during the pandemic?

Yeah, definitely an interest. People do not necessarily know how to verbalize it as on-demand, but definitely an interest in products that are more dynamic and digital in nature.

What makes you different from other insurtechs?

A lot of insurtechs have gone out to market directly. A lot of them are distributing their own products ... found a niche and are going after customers. That's really expensive, and that's why the top companies like the GEICOs and Progressives of the world are spending millions of dollars in advertising.

One of the key ways in which we're different is really our whole business model, [which] has been one of partnership. We enable insurers to basically reach new markets with these new products. Bringing in distribution and the insurer to the table together is one of the unique points about Slice.

Secondly, staying truly focused on making sure that it's on-demand products. We're different in a way that the products that we do are new. They address new needs and new markets, not necessarily just a new way or a slightly better way of doing the same thing. Innovations like a monthly subscription, like on-demand, like a fully dynamic policy are some of the things that set us apart outside of the types of relationships that we forge.

Could an IPO be on the table for Slice?

Our focus is growing the company, so right now we have our heads down and focused on growth. Someone once shared this with me a long time ago: Focus on growing your business, and good things will come. Our focus is really growing and servicing our customers.