Andrew Passfield: CEO, ICE InsureTech: Insurance software for innovation - flexibility as a service

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Whether you are an established company or a new kid on the block, you need to be smart and flexible to make the most of new opportunities and stay ahead of the game.

ICE InsureTech is one of the companies that is helping the insurance industry do that, using its experience of building digital policy administration and claims management systems to tackle legacy issues and drive innovation.

CEO Andrew Passfield talks to Robin Merttens on Podcast 152 about the company’s ICE platform, providing more agility to clients and their customers in a digital world and their shared experiences of careers spent working in insurance technology.

Talking points include:

  • Helping start-ups go to market faster
  • Platform requirements for MGAs  
  • Embedded insurance and industry trends
  • Using APIs to speed up renewals
  • Insurance technology and the speed of change
  • Walking football

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Continuing Professional Development - Learning Objectives

InsTech London is accredited by The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). By listening to an InsTech London podcast, or reading the accompanying transcript, you can claim up to 0.5 CPD hours towards the CII member CPD scheme.

The Learning Objectives for this podcast are:

  • Realise how innovative platforms can offer some new opportunities to clients
  • Compare some of the promising trends in insurance
  • Understand where the insurance industry might be heading in the future

To continue learning about innovation in insurance, read our insight Covid-19 - Insurance innovation your time has come.

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Insurance software for innovation - flexibility as a service - Episode 152 highlights

Robin: What does ICE InsureTech do?

Andrew: ICE InsureTech is a software business that has been around since 2002. We provide a policy administration system and claims management platform, predominantly to customers in the United Kingdom. A lot of start-ups choose the ICE platform as it enables a quicker go to market. We use a consumption model and don’t have large upfront license fees. We also have more niche customers such as MCE (the largest motorcycle insurer) and ERS, a Lloyd’s motor syndicate.

Robin: Why do you have InsureTech in the name?

Andrew: We underwent a change of name in 2017 when there was a change of ownership. The products are known as ICE, so we wanted that in the name. We wanted InsureTech in the title to show that we offer a modern technical platform that can help insurers that are looking to change.

Robin: How big is the company these days?

Andrew: We’re based down in Camberley, Surrey. There’s just over a hundred of us at the moment, but we’re continuing to grow, despite the pandemic. We have a small development team in Malaysia and through our parent company, Acturis, we also have capability in Poland. Working remotely has been successful for us.

Robin: Are there plans to return to the office?

Andrew: We’ve set a date of 1st September 2021 to trial a hybrid policy, where people come in a couple of days a week. Collaboration, with both staff and customers, is important - for example, we have painted walls that you can write on.

Robin: You mentioned Acturis earlier - what’s the history of your relationship?

Andrew: We’ve been owned by Acturis since November 2017. I have known the founders of Acturis, David and Theo, for over 10 years and had looked at opportunities to work together. Throughout the whole buying process, they were very consistent and met all the dates. They were very thorough, making us do a prototype and proof of concept.

Robin: Have Acturis let you get on with your own thing?

Andrew: They are very supportive, providing help when needed, such as during sales. There are a number of companies in the group in different territories, but each runs independently. We have sister businesses in Copenhagen, France, Germany, and most recently in Canada. There are areas in which we collaborate, for example, AI work. We also try to share common platforms to enable collaboration. Overall, I’m very happy with Acturis, and I’m sure they are too as ICE has more than doubled in size since they bought us.

Robin: In 2020 people started talking about ICE InsureTech thanks to the John Lewis and Munich Re partnership. Can you talk a bit about it?

Andrew: We’re very excited to be working with John Lewis. The deal was partially helped by our relationship with Munich Re’s Digital Partners. Back in 2018, we implemented a policy system for Ticker, a company that was focused on young drivers and van drivers. It was successfully implemented in five months, and this impressed Digital Partners. They introduced us to John Lewis, who were evaluating several providers. ICE actually got rejected at first, but our persistence paid off and within a few weeks we were chosen.

Robin: The John Lewis partnership is a great example of the embedded insurance trend. Are there other trends that offer opportunities for ICE InsureTech?

Andrew: A lot more tech-enabled MGAs are approaching us wanting more of a core platform. Companies are focusing on elements that add value to business. This can include AI decision making, their own rating engine, and controlling customer journeys, but they need a core policy administration or claims system. We’re seeing a lot of success in this area.

Robin: What do you do outside of work?

Andrew: I'm often to be found on the golf course, which has been particularly difficult in the wet weather over the last few weeks. But I’ve got a new passion: walking football. A friend convinced me to try it and after one session I was hooked. There's a lot of camaraderie amongst people our age. We’re now in a mini-tournament, and in September we’re playing against the Arsenal walking football team.

Robin: Do you still encourage people to join the insurance industry?

Andrew: I talk very passionately about insurance. There's a lot of excitement and innovation around the industry, and the speed of change is much faster these days. We run a graduate training program at ICE - we've taken on 40 graduates in the last three years.

Robin: Do you think that we will have a truly digital insurance world in three to five years?

Andrew: Yes, I do. One of our customers recently launched renewals within their app, enabled by our API. The company has seen a 54% take-up within the first two weeks. This eliminates call centres and staff, making renewals automatic. It's good that businesses are starting to see the impact that going digital can have.

Robin: Is there a message that you would like to give our community?

Andrew: Follow your dreams and don't give up at the first hurdle. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and that applies to business.