Startup Banks on Social Media to Improve Underwriting, Detect Fraud New Insurtech startup
New insurtech startup Pilotbird aims to help insurers use data from social media and other public sources to assess lifestyle risk, market to prospective clients and even determine whether claims fraud is occurring.
The company is working with life and property and casualty carriers and has received investments from Mutual of Omaha, Allstate, American Equity and Principal Financial. Pilotbird was founded by Evgeny Aleksandrov, who also created Kiwi Insure, another startup.
Kiwi is an on-demand insurer, selling per-day sport and adventure coverage. It uses public data to assess a potential client’s risk and target new customers.
Aleksandrov said interest among insurance executives and carriers in Kiwi’s social analytics during its participation in the 2020 Global Insurance Accelerator program inspired him to develop Pilotbird, a company solely focused on these offerings.
Kiwi will act as a testing vehicle for Pilotbird’s technology, according to Aleksandrov.
Pilotbird’s current products include Lifestyle Risk Scoring, which relies on publicly available data from social media and searches sites like Google to estimate risk.
“The distinctive part about this approach is that we look at the risk profile even before we engage the potential customer or client,” Aleksandrov said.
He explained that information related to whether a client smokes, their body mass index, or how they live their life can provide vital insight to insurers. For instance, an Instagram photo of a person who is scuba diving or skiing might indicate a riskier lifestyle.
“If we notice that the individual is, in fact, an expert in that activity, then we adjust the risk score accordingly versus somebody who’s a novice,” Aleksandrov said.
The company also offers Pilotbird Engage, which uses data analytics to match customers with insurance policies they may need. Aleksandrov said the platform could use social media to identify people who just welcomed a baby to the family or even just held one recently, then targets them with advertising for a life insurance policy.
The Pilotbird Revocation product won’t be available until 2021, but it’s designed to use public data to determine whether fraud is occurring. For example, a policyholder may have claimed disability coverage but has social media photos that show them participating in an active lifestyle.
The method can also be applied during the underwriting process. A potential policyholder may claim to be a nonsmoker on an insurance application, but a Facebook photo might indicate otherwise, showing that same person puffing a cigarette.
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