The insurance industry is ripe for digital transformation. By sheer market size, it is one of the largest industries. InsurTech companies are taking over sizable market share from existing companies. Changes in the industry are helping its ancillary businesses to grow rapidly as well – these businesses majorly include data, service providers, and insurance technology companies.
The balance of power is shifting more towards the consumers who are looking for highly personalized products, real-time communication, lower premiums, immediate service, and freedom to choose the channel of business. Digital transformation is an outcome of evolving demands of a smartphone, welding customers, and tech-savvy millennials. This is even more prudent now with the pandemic and lockdowns fading out in-person interactions.
The new trends are uprooting the traditional business models forcing insurance companies to augment their existing workflows with the new digital channels. The shift to more transparent, faster, and easier transactions and communication is the key factor in driving the change in this otherwise complex and slow-paced industry. One such company with these key factors is Cogitate. Over seventy-five years of insurance knowledge and experience combined with its superior technology talent, gives Cogitate the ability to create innovative digital insurance software. In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, Arvind Kaushal, Co-founder, and CEO of Cogitate, shares the dynamics of the InsurTech space. Following are the highlights of the interview.
Please brief us about Cogitate.
We are a leading insurance technology innovator that helps various property and casualty insurance providers accelerate the digitalization of their business and prepare for growth. Our transformative digital insurance products and service delivery solutions integrate seamlessly with core and legacy systems to add new digital channels and modernize user experience across the insurance industry value chain.
Our flagship offering, the Cogitate DigitalEdge Insurance Platform, is a powerful technology platform for insurance companies, MGAs, wholesale brokers, and program managers of all sizes. It helps them build an omni-channel insurance ecosystem to integrate multiple channels, distribution partners, customers, and any third-party services to modernize existing processes, simplify distribution. We provide an exceptional customer experience. With the full power of digitalization, customers can strengthen existing core systems, increase speed-to-market, and reduce operating expenses.
What made you venture into the Insurance Tech Sector?
We are ‘insurance people.’ We have a very strong foundation of insurance domain knowledge and experience as our leadership team has successfully run various insurance businesses for decades. In fact, we began as a captive technology solutions provider to address the digitalization needs of our parent company Insurance House. With our comprehensive experience and domain knowledge, we have a strong grasp of the issues, challenges, and changes in the industry and corresponding technology solutions to address them.
Since the challenges are the same across the industry, there is a huge demand for our solutions. The demand is among insurance businesses of every size and in any position within the insurance value chain. The sheer size of the US insurance market makes our venture more exciting and fuller of potential.
What kind of offerings do you provide to your clients?
Our next-generation technology products and solutions are helping insurance carriers, MGAs and wholesalers, program administrators, and agents to accelerate digitalization and transform their business. Today we have some of the leading players of the US insurance market as our customers.
Our flagship product, DigitalEdge, is a full-scale digital insurance platform. It helps insurance companies of various types and sizes to reimagine their business models, realign their processes, and transform the user experience for a smooth transition to the digital era. Solutions built with Cogitate DigitalEdge Platform are helping our customers build a fully integrated digital insurance ecosystem without replacing their core and legacy systems.
Our customers have seen numerous benefits. It includes reduced operational costs, enhanced efficiency, productivity, increasing speed to market, faster communication and response time, and improved customer experience and engagement. In addition, they can add more channels to their existing ones to reach out to wider target markets.
The Cogitate Digital Insurance is a point of sales and service solution. It offers an array of insurance technologies, from digital sales and service infrastructure, integrated mobile apps and chatbots to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics.
Cogitate Distribution Management solutions comprise agent (producer) portals to equip insurance agents with on-demand access to critical business information and capabilities to add new agents online in order to move into new territories quickly. The Cogitate Intelligent Claims solutions include a bouquet of modern technology products that easily integrate with existing claims management and other systems. It includes a fully digital, web and mobile-enabled, First Notice of Loss (FNOL) solution. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is a driven fraud detection and analysis solution – Cogitate claims fraud network analysis and an innovative attorney demand letter and litigation management solution.
What are the best features of Cogitate that are really appreciated by your customers?
The most significant advantage of DigitalEdge is that it is a Core System Agnostic, i.e., the capability to integrate with existing core and legacy systems that insurance companies are not prepared to replace.
DigitalEdge platform integrates seamlessly with clients’ core systems, insurance carrier systems, and API libraries. It is pre-integrated with 15+ third-party data prefill partners through our proprietary adaptable API acceleration.
DigitalEdge is equipped with Low Code No Code capabilities allowing business users to configure, reconfigure, test, and deploy new products. Its rates and add new states and lines of business without any assistance from IT teams. It is microservices enabled for flexibility and scalability. Mobile apps and chatbots ensure quick and real-time communication and superior customer engagement.
Built-in advanced analytics gives valuable insights about customer buying behavior, customer profiling, product and policy design, risk analytics, predictive models to the users. Our state-of-the-art insurance technology solutions heavily use AI and ML to transform insurance across all functions – claims processing, fraud detection, underwriting, customer service, sales, and marketing.
How was Cogitate affected in these pandemic times, and what were the steps were taken by you to curb the damages, all the while helping your clients and maintaining the safety of your employees?
The last couple of years have been challenging for all of us. Being a technology provider, we were able to adapt to the changes quickly. In fact, we were one of the earliest adaptors of work from home, even before the lockdowns were announced. Like everyone else, initially, we faced challenges in communication, connectivity, and employee engagement.
Our new style of remote collaboration and working from home was effective, and we were able to service all our client requirements without any hiccup. We optimized the opportunities available to help build digital capabilities for our customers, both existing and new. In fact, during the pandemic, we were able to expand our clientele with our superior quality of service and innovative insurance technology. We clearly came up as a winning organization.
What would you like to advice the young generation of entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who want to venture into the insurance industry?
The insurance industry is a great place to be right now. With the futuristic vision of our team, we have been able to help our customers transform their business through technological innovation. The accelerated need for digitalization of insurance has brought in abundant opportunities for modern and innovative technology products and service providers.
You need to keep reimagining traditional business models and identify avenues to introduce innovation. At the same time, you must keep delivering excellence, continuously outperforming yourself. The key to this is continuous improvement – taking small incremental steps towards success.
Where do you envision Cogitate to be in the long run, and what are your future goals? How do you plan to embrace the changes happening in the Insurance Tech Sector?
Our vision has always been to help insurers accelerate digitalization and transform their business models with our innovative product and service delivery solutions across the insurance value chain. Our flagship solution DigitalEdge is feature-rich and supports various personal and commercial lines of business.
We will continue to expand DigitalEdge with more lines and more features that will help insurers create stronger and better digital ecosystems to keep up with the future changes in the industry. A few of the avenues on cards are integrations with IoT devices, new service partners, and carriers, increasing use of AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) for intelligent underwriting, in addition to increasing accuracy of our fraud detection, and analytics even further.
We hope to add more customers of varying sizes. In the coming years, we also plan to expand beyond the United States to other mature insurance markets such as Canada, Europe, and Australia. We are also expanding our teams both in the US and India to support our growth plan.
A Dynamic Leader
Arvind Kaushal began his career as a software consultant in Mumbai, India, with Wipro in 1996. There he provided consulting services to many of Wipro’s global clients, including Bank of London, Singapore Airport Authority, ABB, and Canon. In 1999, Arvind moved to the US. He consulted with companies creating eCommerce platforms during the dot com era. In 2000 he began his tenure with Delta Air Lines, and for eight years, he ventured into various technology management roles, including architect for Delta.com.
He has also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Technology Officer for Insurance House Holdings, Inc. It owns a leading regional insurance intermediary and insurance carrier serving the Mid-Atlantic and South-eastern United States.
Arvind is active in the insurance industry and participates in various insurance trade association committees. He received his BS in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Bangalore University and his MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He led the founding and formation of Cogitate in May 2012.
This interview appeared in Vol-11 Issue-08 2021 of Insight Success and has been reproduced with due permission.