Innovating insurance news - Alex Hearn, Slipcase

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Alex Hearn on stage at InsTech London event

Slipcase was launched in 2016 to fill a gap in the market. An online aggregator and curator of news and insights for (re)insurance professionals, personalised to their interests and specialty lines of business. 

The platform celebrated passing 50,000 users & 14,000 subscribers at the end of 2019. Managing Director Alex Hearn gave us an update on why companies are choosing Slipcase, plus some of the insights they have learned about competing for attention online. 

For those who aren’t familiar with Slipcase yet, can you give us a breakdown of how it works?
 
We’re a really simple one-stop shop for brokers, underwriters, risk managers, any individual who is part of the commercial / specialty part of the market and looking to stay up to date with what’s happening.
 
You tell us what you specialise in, which other interest areas you might want to hear about (insurtech, financial results, market moves etc.) and which companies and publications you want to hear from.

We will then funnel the latest and best news, insights and thought leadership pieces, personalised to your choices, through our desktop site and mobile app.

There might be a really interesting article from Reuters on a cyber attack, and you’re going to get it on your feed because you follow our cyber page.
 
You’ve got some impressive clients signed up, including AIG, Hiscox, Guy Carpenter, etc. Why are companies choosing Slipcase to help them distribute content?
 
We enable organisations like AIG to clearly communicate their brand, expertise and latest insights to relevant audiences around the world, through a permanent and managed page on the platform.

Companies spend a lot of time and money on their messaging and on producing content but can find it difficult to get it in front of the right audiences. 
 
What we’re doing is if AIG, for example, produce a piece on political risk, we can put it directly in front of our political risk audience, the majority of whom are brokers.

A big part of our offering now also centres on the analytics and insights we can provide back to clients: market trends, audience breakdowns, which products are being searched for, what’s of interest and what’s not, geographical reach etc. We can then directly support marketing, comms and product strategies across the market. 
 
A big part of your recent growth as a platform is down to your API development. How has that changed what you offer?
 
Our aim is to distribute content as widely as possible while also delivering it to the correct audience. Our API enables us to do that in a more advanced way.

We can plug Slipcase feeds into a company’s own internal system, whether it be an intranet or a transactional platform, pushing our clients’ content directly into some of the biggest brokers around the world while enabling organisations to ensure their employees are kept properly informed.
 
We’re now live at Marsh across the UK and they’ll be rolling us out globally in the coming months. We’re also live at Willis Re and we’re being built into Willis Towers Watson. We’ve just signed our 8th API with other brokers and carriers, and are planning to officially launch the product in March.


 
What have you learned since launching Slipcase? 
 
It’s been a really interesting learning curve for us over the last couple of years. Watching how users interact with different types of content across our platform and then making sure we react to that and focus on what people really want. 
 
The most important factors we’ve found have been personalisation, relevance and trust. Making sure that individuals don’t get anything they don’t want. That their own personalised feed is as relevant as possible to whatever they specialise in.
 
What can you tell us about content? Do you see specific items capturing more attention through the platform? 

 
We’ve found that people are actually interested in a really broad variety of content. We have some blog pieces that might just be a paragraph; on occasion a carrier might react to a big cyber attack and they’ll get their cyber underwriter to give a reaction. These short, sharp, punchy responses to big events do incredibly well. 
 
At the other end of the scale, some of the big reports produced for the market are incredibly popular. EY and Guy Carpenter are good examples, they produced some really big reports around Brexit / reinsurance. Those are much longer white papers, but people download or favourite them and find the time to read them later.
 
You mentioned trust earlier. How have you been affected by issues around ‘fake news’ and sources of information? 
 
There’s no doubt that people are much pickier now about where they get their information and much more aware of how accurate those sources are. We’re pulling from hundreds of sources across the web and we have to constantly refine that list. 
 
If a user reads something that they don’t like the look of and we look into it and find the article was inaccurate, we will then take another view of that source. Trust is an essential factor in what we’re doing. 
 
We interviewed you on stage at our Marketing Innovation & InsurTech event last year. What made you interested in InsTech London and what has the reaction been like? 
 
It’s been great. We position ourselves as very much a tech/analytics company and your community of insurtech professionals and tech-interested individuals from within carriers and brokers are an audience that we’re looking to get in front of. 
 
We’re looking to continue building those relationships in 2020 and we have a lot to offer.
 

Visit slipcase.com for more information and you can also sign up and follow the InsTech London Slipcase feed