A Brief Interview With Philippe Lafreniere, Chief Growth Officer of Slice Labs

Philippe Lafreniere is the Chief Growth Officer at Slice Labs. He will be on a panel doing a Ted-Style talk on Commercial Insurance Next Generation Business Models with Moderator, Insurance Nerd, Nick Lamparelli on June 18th. The conference is being hosted by the Silicon Valley Insurance Accelerator (SVIA). It is not too late to come to this event.

Register Here and use discount code NICKL15 to get 15% off your registration!

Q1 – Philippe, can you describe your company and your role?

Slice is a 3 ½-year-old startup. We are the insurance engine behind tomorrow’s cloud-based, on-demand digital services ecosystems for the new economy. Through the Slice Labs Insurance Cloud Services (ICS) platform, Slice Labs is enabling insurers, technology companies, and other service providers to build truly intelligent and intuitive, pay-as-you-go digital insurance products protecting the insured anytime and anywhere.

I am the Chief Growth Officer. In this capacity, I work with carriers and platform providers globally to partner on the development of realistic plans for creating new digital insurance products serving business and consumer end-customers.

Q2 – What are some of the fundamental problems with the current state of the personal lines insurance business model?

Personal lines insurance as we know it will not survive the digital revolution. In order to be relevant in a fully digital world, insurance must be able to be embedded digitally into a broader experience and be based on real-time signals and events. Insurance must also go way beyond protection but also include new types of services surrounding protection.

Q3 –  If you had to rate the following items in terms of how they will impact the next generation of insurance business model, how would you rank them:

– Product design 2
– Buying experience 1
– ability to finely tune underwriting 3
– claims experience 4

Q4 – How important is it for insurance to be delivered abstractly as a service OR having insurance being a delivery vehicle for other products or services?

Critical. Firstly, insurers have to figure out for certain products and LOBs whether they want to be present or relevant in the transaction. Second, growth will only come by adding services to protection. IoTs, smartphones and big data offer enormous opportunities for insurers to bundle new services that will create a trusted engagement model for customers.

Q5 – In the past, insurance companies have struggled with issues around adverse selection (attracting customers with a worse risk profile than anticipated) and morale/moral hazard (where customers risk behavior changes, once they have insurance in place). In the quest to maximize customer experience, how do next-generation business models avoid the trap of adverse selection and morale hazard? 

Technology and behavioral science have come a long way and we can now not only easily address concerns, but predict them, too.

Q6 – How much of the execution of new business models has to do with technology vs the culture of the company?

Technology, as well as our digital experiences in other domains such as travel, retail, entertainment, and banking, is enabling the new business models while a culture of complacency might leave some companies behind and make them irrelevant. Uber and Lyft essentially offer free insurance and have valuations greater than so many large carriers.

Q7 – What role do you see for agents/brokers in next-generation business models for insurance?

Agents and Brokers will not go away but will change. Instead of processing quotes, and filing claims they will be able to be risk and protection advisers for the more complex types of risks. They need to reinvent themselves. There are some major newer types of risks such as Cyber that for anyone outside the SME market a lot of handholding is needed.

Q8 – How much will new insurance business models need to radically depart from the traditional insurance business model that has served as the foundation for the insurance ecosystem for over 100 years?

It will just happen and will be forced upon the industry. As OEMs and digital dynasties like Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. realize how they can monetize the data they have, they will disrupt insurance as we know it today with new business models, such as embedding insurance in the products we love like our cars (for those of us still buying cars!) and our Prime membership.

 Q9 – Can you share a story or anecdotal evidence about a hypothesis you may have had about an element of your next-gen model, that didn’t actually work out as you planned?

When we launched Slice part of our hypothesis was that we thought the sharing economy platforms would be open to our approach and offer up integration with open arms. They were not, as they did not want to disrupt their checkout process or introduce any uncertainty in the sharing activity. We therefore went about it direct, and learned a lot. That being said, this is now changing. Hypotheses and pivots are good. They are part of the successful startup model. You need to test out the hypothesis and pivot, if necessary.

About Nick Lamparelli

Nick Lamparelli is a 20+ year veteran of the insurance wars. He has a unique vantage point on the insurance industry. From selling home & auto insurance, helping companies with commercial insurance, to being an underwriter with an excess & surplus lines wholesaler to catastrophe modeling Nick has wide experience in the industry. Over past 10 years, Nick has been focused on the insurance analytics of natural catastrophes and big data. Nick serves as our Chief Evangelist.

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