partnering on some unique uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in the claims space to try to really drive productivity and speed into claims processing for the pet business. We’re trying to figure out how to make that overall experience better, even in the context of a business that is growing 20 to 30 per cent, due to the pandemic, which is hard to keep up with.” That feeds directly into Nationwide’s broader strategic focus – a shift from payout to prevention, which is expected to be financially beneficial to both the company and its customers. Fulton says: “We believe that the way that technology is maturing allows us to better understand the environment our customers live and operate in. We can now leverage our 96 years of history, of claims data, to help predict bad things that might happen and proactively protect people from them. That’s been a big shift for us. “The other shift is this element of extraordinary care. Nationwide has always been a big believer in taking care of our customers and providing a premium customer service, but we’re trying to take that to the next level, to imagine new ways of coming alongside our members, and providing something that surprises and delights them in moments of need.” He cites an example of this in the pet health sector, where Nationwide, although not yet at the stage of
incorporating genetics, is looking at a range of other innovative ways of protecting pet health. “We are having some conversations about the potential role of pet wearables and how they could help owners keep their dogs and cats healthy and safe,” says Fulton. In December 2019, Nationwide opened a new innovation centre, The CoOperative, in Columbus, Ohio, close to its HQ. While this ‘design thinking space’ will initially be used by Nationwide and its associates, the goal is to use it to engage the community, as well as hosting events that attract innovators from all over the country and the world to Columbus, which is already a thriving fintech centre where Nationwide is one of the biggest employers. The Co-Operative is intended to accelerate innovation across Nationwide, which began its fintech journey as the first major US insurer to launch an app for iPhone users, creating a platform for members to start the claims process with a photo, find agents and receive quotes, in 2009.
Ten years on and 2019 saw a flurry of innovations, including the launch of SPIRE, an ‘easy-to-understand digital auto insurance platform, built on fair and straightforward principles’, accessible from a smartphone. Meanwhile, Nationwide’s venture capital team continues to invest in high-growth startups across insurance and financial services, including Upstream Security, an Israel-based company providing cybersecurity for connected vehicles; Socotra, a California-based insurtech offering reimagined insurance IT for policy administration, underwriting, claims, billing and more; Betterview, a provider of property insights and workflow tools for insurance companies to improve the customer experience by accelerating decisions and reducing risk; Nexar, a smart connected dash cam system that automatically detects and records driving incidents, saving footage to the driver’s phone and the Cloud; BlueVine’s small business online lending platform; insurance marketplace Insurify; online, AI-enabled small business insurance platform Next Insurance; and digital insurance agency Matic.
If you don’t have an operational backbone that’s API-enabled... it’s really tough to do the innovations you want to do
Best in breed: Nationwide is bringing AI to heel
Issue 4 | TheInsurtechMagazine