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When I was a schoolboy, I would make a little extra pocket money by buying Creme Eggs in bulk from the local cash & carry and then sell them at a 100% profit margin in the school playground. Fast forward 30 years and it’s my daughter’s turn, albeit she is now designing, sewing and selling Covid face masks to her school friends (and has launched on Instagram too). …

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Ask any customer about their experience of having to make an insurance claim and you’ll hear a horror story, but ask any insurer about how well they process claims and you’ll hear the exact opposite — they believe themselves to be number 1 (as confirmed by their customer NPS score). How can customers provide high NPS scores but complain bitterly about the claims process? How can insurers big up their performance without being more honest about the the lack of trust their customers have in them? …

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Three years ago, I went to a ‘Company Formation’ agent. The verb ‘to form’ is a fancier alternative than the verb ‘to make’. But I wasn’t interested in forming a company at all. I wanted ‘to create’ one.

There is a world of difference between the two. To make or form something is about replicating something that already exists. To create is to bring something new into the world. Most start-ups I see are generally replicating an existing model. Granted they may be a little shinier on the outside, but the difference between them and the past is skin-deep. …

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Photo taken from depositphotos.com

Covid 19 asks some difficult questions. Do we believe in individualism (where ultimately the rights of the individual are paramount) or collectivism (where individuals submit to the group)? Do we believe in centralisation (where power is concentrated and decisions flow downwards) or de-centralisation (where power is devolved and decisions flow upwards)? Might the west tend to individualism/de-centralisation (selfies, atheism, free elections) whilst the east tends to collectivism/centralisation (families, religion, state-control)?

Since the 18th Century, the western political tradition of Locke, Mills and Bentham has informed our now intuitive understanding that individuals should be free to do as they please within the law so long as they don’t harm others. Never before did we conceive of this being extended to deny the individual’s freedom of movement on the mere possibility that I may be ill but without my knowledge (asymptomatic) which in turn could cause others to become ill. The links between cause and effect were so indirect that in the past we lived with the certainty of pandemics but an uncertainty on how many would die. This is now being blurred by science’s ability to better detect and measure infection together with social media’s ability to make these numbers transparent. We are now living with the uncertainty of pandemics but certainty on the numbers that are dying. No matter how small the absolute number of deaths relative to other major causes of death, this knowledge has created a dis-proportionate response, where our sensibilities re-connect to our Christo-Judeo belief in the sanctity of the individual life and with it, collectivism. …

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The Scream by Edvard Munch 1893

Until now, companies who have adopted a working from home policy or dress down policy have done so not because they truly believed in them but because they felt that they had no other choice — if their competitors were doing it, surely they had to too. So we have become used to working from home for one day a week or dress down Friday.

Making such a 20% commitment isn’t hard. It doesn’t require much thought since it’s unlikely that the results will be measured and how much damage could a 20% commitment make anyway? …

Could Coronavirus Cure Capitalism?

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Image courtesy of dreamstime.com

The Great Depression of 1929, the Oil Crisis of 1973 or the Financial Crash in 2008 were events that created sudden, economic shocks requiring government intervention. Coronavirus is the first event where governmental intervention has deliberately created a sudden economic shock.

Before Corona (BC), a government’s first obligation was to protect its citizens against foreign invasion. Its second obligation was economic, creating the conditions for economic growth and full employment. Coronavirus has caused a mutation of the first where an invisible invader rather than a foreign hoard is the new battlefield. The second has been entirely sacrificed to the first. My interest in this story is to touch on how coronavirus offers an opportunity to re-imagine our present economic system of capitalism and introducing some of the ideas for a new economic system whose foundation breaks the zero-sum game of growth vs sustainability to achieve a seemingly impossible triumvirate; economic growth, environmental sustainability and physical/mental wellbeing. …

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I founded our start-up over two years ago and acquired the title of CEO by default. At the same time I was also Chief Product Owner, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Sales Officer, Chief Finance Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Bottle Washer.

Notwithstanding my high energy levels and persistence, you can’t scale a start-up with one person so in my role of Chief Talent Officer, and with enough runway to hire (but not to hire stars), I recruited an administrator, a graphic designer, two external IT suppliers (with 4 persons), a business development lead, an external accounting firm and an external legal firm. Our start-up team was now 8. …

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It’s almost 3 years since my co-founder and I decided to act on disrupting insurance claims. That’s a lifetime in insurtech. Our vision was to do what no insurer had ever done before and create a customer-centric claim. Let me explain.

For over 300 years the insurance industry has defined itself as a loss re-imbursement business. In the event of a loss, insurers promise to put you into the position you were in before you incurred the loss. Only they don’t, at least not all the time, and (and parametric claims aside) not in real-time. Instead they have perfected an insurer-centric process, one that they control and where inherently they are incentivised to not pay out. The customer experience is whatever the insurer says it is, and knowing that insurers see loss reimbursement as a zero-sum game, what’s good for the customer is bad for the insurer and vice versa. If that claims takes a little longer to settle and 50% of customers give up, the insurer can (and do) still proudly advertise paying out 97% of valid claims. Customers are circumspect providing information, suspecting that insurers may latch onto the smallest of details to deny the claim. Even the most law-abiding and honest customers may find themselves exaggerating the claim in order to ensure that they are indeed put back into the position they were in. …

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Insurance and disruption aren’t two words you hear together. Insurance is reactive, static, safe, slow and clunky whereas disruption is proactive, creative, dynamic, innovative, fast and sexy.

But look a little closer. Insurance has its disruptors — we are small in number but we are growing every day. We are leading the insurtech movement. We’re excited about how insurance could flow invisibly alongside billions of transactions, calculating risk in real-time, protecting every current transaction and every future event, reaching the under-insured, uninsured or uninsurable wherever they may be, without impacting the insurer’s bottom line.

Legacy behaviors are holding insurtech back. 24 month sales cycles, endless meetings, bureaucracy, and difficult procurement processes are killing the smart and innovative platforms that could make these goals a reality. …

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Image taken from success.com

When we founded our SaaS platform, our aim was to disrupt how “work” was done. Let’s be honest, customers just want to have instant solutions to their needs, and most employees would love to automate their current day job away to be able to focus on the real value they could be adding to their role.

We wanted to invert the “inside-out” model where companies dictate the process and pay employees to manage that process, and instead enable “outside-in” where customers self-served their needs and the machine managed the process. To paraphrase Henry Ford we weren’t looking to create enterprise software that would create ‘faster horses’. We were developing a stack that meant ‘zero horses’ where most if not all of what we currently think of as work was fully automated through the invisible orchestration of data, business rules, business process and integrations across applications and companies. The vision was to also simultaneously make business more “human”.

About

Michael Lewis

My life’s work has been exploring how we re-evaluate our belief in how companies ought to work and start thinking “upside down” instead.

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