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Hayne report ‘opens door for insurtechs’

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The Hayne royal commission’s final report could spark a revolution in the insurance sector, according to an insurtech developer.

Jason Wilby, the co-founder and CEO of Huddle Insurance, says the royal commission has exposed “brazen misconduct and in some cases, unlawful practices”.

But leaders in the field have cautioned developers like Mr Wilby against “gloating” over the report’s findings against established players in the industry.

Fintech Australia Chairman Alan Tsen told The Australian Financial Review today that pointing out the failings of incumbents “won’t win anybody any friends”.

Insurtech Australia CEO Simon O’Dell agrees.

“Incumbents enable insurtechs as much as the other way around,” Mr O’Dell told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “We are not looking to throw rocks.”

Mr Wilby claims there is an “imbalance of power” in financial services and called today for emerging fintechs to “challenge the status quo and flip the financial services industry on its head, so they benefit customers not providers”.

“To win back the trust of the people, insurers need to place the interests of consumers at the heart of their business model.”

While calling for caution in criticising established players in the industry, Mr O’Dell agrees insurtechs are well-placed to tackle some of the issues raised in the report.

“Trust and transparency are the two principles most often identified as being breached, and insurtechs can respond to this,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“The insurtech methodology tends to be very customer-centric. They really study the persona of the consumer, and build products from the ground up accordingly.”

Mr Wilby says Huddle, which is underwritten by Hollard, is already doing things differently.

“We’re harnessing the power of people and AI technology to put members in control with instant claims, the power to decide what happens to unused premiums and even the opportunity to govern how and when claims are paid.

“The lesson for both emerging fintechs and the broader financial services industry is this: put people in control of their money, how it’s used and how it’s managed.”