Engaging Insurance

fitness-1348867_1920This month Prescient has been exploring the rapidly changing nature of the global insurance market.  We’ve been delighted to speak with co-founders of two of the most exciting InsurTech businesses driving fundamental change within the sector, Jan-Philipp Kruip of FitSense and Alberto Chierici of SPIXII.

This is not just an interesting story about how technology successfully disrupts an established market.  Nor are these businesses on a quest to shake things up in a subversive sense.

FitSense and SPIXII have captured the imagination of insurance companies and investors alike, not merely because they are innovative and clever.  Crucially they are committed to enhancing relationships between customers and insurance providers, so that everyone is better off as a result.  Consumers will benefit from accessing more tailored products at the right price, while insurers build trust with customers, a key step towards positive referral and loyalty.

Chierici, a former part-qualified pricing actuary and data scientist (and one of an elite breed of actuarial entrepreneurs) is a true ambassador for insurance.  As he explains,‘We wanted to change the face of insurance and how it is perceived.  We did a lot of research and were amazed at the confusion and perceptions of mistrust.  We wanted people to appreciate and understand what insurance brings from a societal point of view.’

Positively obsessed by customer experience SPIXII is on a mission to make insurance simple, accessible and personal, starting by redesigning the way in which people buy insurance.  SPIXII is an automated insurance agent, a conversational chat bot accessible via messaging platforms or via native mobile app.

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All you need is a ‘hello’ to get started. From there, you can tell SPIXII about your plans, for instance if you’re about to set off to Barcelona for the weekend and want to find out what insurance options are available to you.

A good place to start is travel insurance but the scope is far more wide reaching and SPIXII is already in talks with 12 insurers to pilot the technology for selling multiple products, including motor, health, travel and home.

SPIXII is ideally situated to start the insurance conversation on a positive note, especially when addressing the needs and lifestyles of Millennials, widely documented as influential drivers of change.  Born between 1980 and 2000 the Millennial generation is the biggest in US history – bigger even than Baby Boomers.

Kruip of FitSense comes from a finance background and confirms that the needs of Millennials will require a fresh approach, estimating that within 10 years over half of people who take out insurance will seek to buy it in a different way – via mobile distribution and insurance on demand.


FitSense is in a strong position to help health and life insurance companies provide better insurance through capture and use of data from wearable devices. Kruip explains the benefits for more targeted propositions,‘We can use the data we generate to target Insurance products that are much more specific to each person.  At the moment there are four or five insurance products and they are very broad.  Everyone is engaged in the same way – underwriting is the same. This can be a limitation because insurance companies don’t know who their customers are.’

FitSense creates a much clearer profile through the data it gathers, to better inform tailored, relevant products to match specific consumer risk profiles, enabling tangible engagement and driving recruitment and retention.

If you want people to buy insurance you have to offer them something in return and healthcare is perfectly situated to adopt the FitSense value proposition – Vitality in the UK is a good example of how members benefit from data capture, with points awarded for healthy activity undertaken.

FitSense understands that initial engagement with customers with a mutually beneficial proposition is just the beginning of a long-term sustainable relationship.  It’s far easier to introduce new products to customers who are already engaged.  For instance, young, active people might not see a need for life assurance because they’re young (and invincible!), but if you can approach a keen cyclist with a bespoke proposition for cyclists then relevance is established and motivation for uptake grows.

Pioneering companies like SPIXII and FitSense are helping providers to revitalise consumer trust in insurance, bridging the emotional gap between end users and product providers.

As Chierici concludes, ‘We want to create a powerful new brand that customers will trust.  We also want to deliver value to insurance companies.’

Sounds like a healthy outcome all round.

For more information please visit FitSense at http://www.getfitsense.com/ and SPIXII at I want SPIXII

You can also vote here for SPIXII to win the 2016 Virgin Media Business Award:




“… and How Do you Feel About That?” Argentina’s in Therapy. But It’s Okay with It.

tango-935221_1280Nicknamed the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires provides an abundance of culturally rich and unique experiences. The infamous Tango dancing in the streets, the exquisitely cooked steaks in exclusive and quirky restaurants, the multitude of late night salsa clubs and the art of drinking Mate (pronounced ‘matt-ay’; a caffeine-rich infused drink) whilst basking in the glorious sunshine aside one of the city’s popular lakeside parks.

However, it is the Argentine people themselves who are most intriguing, with the enormous presence of psychoanalysis and use of therapists among its inhabitants.

There are over 60,000 psychotherapists working in Buenos Aires alone. It is so popular in fact, that the neighbourhood of Palermo is nicknamed ‘Villa Freud’.

Buenos Aires is the psychoanalytical capital of the world with twice the number of therapists per head than New York. Chatting with a local ‘porteño’, the name given to those Argentines living in the port city of Buenos Aires, he explained that most of his friends had gone or go to therapy, “I have been for seven years, my mother for fifteen and my father for twenty years”.

Interestingly, the word ‘porteño’ dates back to the first half of the 20th century. Entitled the ‘Golden Age’, the country looked set to become a leading global economic power as millions of Europeans immigrated to start a new life there. It is believed that Argentines therefore felt they did not have strong roots in the local traditions and it is still ‘a country in constant search of its identity’.

Writer, actor and psychotherapist, Eduardo Pavlosky believes that Argentina is a country traumatised by a history of violent conflict, economic crisis and an uncertain future. In this regard, he suggests “In times of crisis like that, it’s very easy to go from one extreme to another. From black to white and from white to black. That’s what personality disorders are about.”

Psychoanalysis is said to be intertwined heavily with the idiosyncrasies of the Tango. The dance in its present form was developed around the mid to late 19th century in Buenos Aires with psychoanalysis beginning in Vienna at the same time. Both are born of European Romanticism, in a time of asking ‘Why?’. Why is this happening to me?’. A time heavily entrenched in melancholia.

Despite its sullen beginnings, psychoanalysis is now an integral part of Argentine society. It is so well-respected in fact that Bueno Aires has the radio station La Colifata (which literally means looney), written and produced by patients of a mental hospital. The documentary, ‘Argentina In Therapy’ explores this further, as one patient highlights, “It connects the institution with the community. It’s a way of communicating”.

Psychoanalyst Gabriel Rolon believes that the proliferation of therapists is good news. In contrast to other countries, Argentina gives as much space to emotional health as it does to physical. He explains that a history of war, corruption and persecution have made Argentines great “listeners interested in the pain of others, because we also need people to be interested in our pain”.

Intrigued by the open approach to mental health and sitting in one of the glorious parks drinking Mate, a friend summarised her reason for using therapy: “Talking about your problems can be an amazing experience, to talk and to listen is an art, it helps you understand your experiences more clearly, it helps emotional wounds to heal”.

Hannah Dean: Cultural Writer

For Disease or For Fashion?

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When foreigners come to Japan, many wonder why so many people here wear masks. On the train and in the streets, masks are everywhere. Typically in Japan, masks are used to prevent diseases from spreading. When the flu is going around school, some parents make their kids wear masks, or when someone feels that they are going to get a cold, they wear a mask. Similarly, on trains, many wear masks due to the amount of people around them and the potential to catch germs. However, recently, these masks are being used for something other than prevention of illness.

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According to Nikkei Net, some women wear these “fake” masks when they wake up late or don’t have time to do makeup.  In some cases, eye makeup may be applied but by wearing a mask they look like they have made up their whole face.

Some wear these masks because they think the masks accentuate their “V” line, which accentuates your chin to your cheeks, smoothing the face line, and the “E” line (aesthetic line), which is when one looks at your face, the tip of the nose and the bottom of the chin appear in a straight line, apparently the standard of beauty for plastic surgery.

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In a shopping strip in Shibuya, one of the most crowded areas in Tokyo, when 100 Japanese male and females aged between 10 and 30 wearing masks were surveyed, 31 people, 9 men and 22 women (31%), were not wearing these masks for any medical reason. One 19 year old college student’s reason for this was because he ‘did not want to talk to anyone’.  Additionally a 16 year old high school student who was also surveyed, said he was ‘too lazy to make facial expressions’, while a 25 year-old store clerk said he wore it ‘to hide his tiredness during his shifts’.

Yohei Harada, an analyst of young adults ‘culture, says the reason why some wear these masks may be due to people being used to internet and social media, and the need to block off communication with others.

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Some masks are being sold solely for the purpose of beauty, with the shape of the mask less square, to accentuate the “V” line or “E” line.  While common face masks have 4 pleats in total; 2 on top and 2 on bottom, the beauty mask has 1 on top and 3 on the bottom. The mask industry has been able to capitalize on this trend, since the masks which fit womens’ faces are actually better filters, because the typical square mask doesn’t fit the face and can cause particles to sneak inside from the chin and cheek areas. We are also seeing a choice of colour appear, so apart from plain white masks, some men and women are choosing complimentary colours to their outfit (black is a favourite) and even characters’ mouths, and patterns.