It's not only insurtech start-ups building new insurance solutions. Many companies from outside of insurance are now realising that their data, customers and distributions can be very valuable for insurers and their clients.
One of these is SafetyCulture. Its inspections app iAuditor is today used by over 1,000,000 workers in 85 countries to help companies monitor, measure and improve their health and safety. Insurers such as QBE, Zurich and Aviva are finding that companies that have embedded the use of iAuditor into their processes and culture have a greater chance of preventing losses.
Dan Joyce, General Manager EMEA at SafetyCulture, joined Matthew on Episode 94 to discuss the problems the company's technology addresses and the value being generated from client data.
- Why it takes a lot of work to build a simple solution
- How iAuditor is being used to manage Covid-19 restrictions
- Why insurers are choosing SafetyCulture
- How companies are using iAuditor for claims defensibility
- Future plans and new product launches
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Risk managed - Episode 94 highlights
SafetyCulture was founded in Australia but the company is building a strong global presence, including the team here in the UK.
About 400 people work for SafetyCulture now. All of our engineering team and product teams, about 100 people, are based in Sydney and there is an office in Manila. We split the world into our APAC region, Americas region and EMEA, and we run EMEA from our office in Manchester, where we've got about 60 staff now.
27,000 companies are using SafetyCulture products, the main one being iAuditor. What problem does the app help to solve?
iAuditor is a mobile inspections tool which is available to download from the App store. It’s free to download and allows customers to build templates within the product. Companies can build and customise their processes and share them with colleagues to do the inspections.
That inspection automatically generates a report and all the data synchronises to the cloud, where there's a really powerful analytics and insights platform. Customers can see what's working and what's not across their business in real-time.
SafetyCulture helps clients to manage their own risk, but are your teams pulling data to identify themes across different industries and applications?
Inspection processes are often tied to bits of paper sitting on a desk, in a tray, or an email. By doing inspections on a mobile device, with everything revolving around the end-user, it takes half the time. Businesses can take and annotate photographs during an inspection and create an action immediately. It's a compelling end-user experience which leads to shorter and more frequent inspections being done.
In the last three or four years, we've started to harness the power in the data set. Millions of data points now help companies spot which sites aren't doing scheduled inspections or closing out actions. The data helps companies work out how to proactively to manage safety.
You mentioned Luke, your founder and CEO, and there's an interesting story about how he got into this originally.
Luke's had a fascinating life, including a period as a private investigator working for insurance companies to see if people claiming for workplace injuries were actually injured.
Back in 2012, he spotted that with smartphones workers now had a little computer in their pocket. He was interested in whether companies would want to do their own inspections, or risk assessments before they put up a bit of scaffolding or safety checks down a mineshaft. He launched the app and eight years later, 27,000 companies are using IoT to manage their safety inspection processes.
SafetyCulture works with some very well-known companies, including JD Sports and KLM. How do they use IoT in practice?
We have an incredible diversity of customers. In Europe, 9,000 companies use our products for everything from construction and manufacturing to retail, hospitality, circuses, and space exploration. There's a group in South Africa using our app to monitor white rhino poachers and form trends about where incidents are happening.
JD Sports, Footasylum and other retailers use iAuditor for use cases like safety checks in stores. Area managers will use IoT to do inspections during store visits or point of sale or brand standards checks.
There are lots of Covid-19 restrictions that companies need to follow. How are retailers using the app now they’ve reopened?
Footasylum has about 70 stores and has created templates about what stores need to do every day. From simple things like making sure antibacterial containers are full, to checking that signage is in good condition. The stores do these checks every day so that head office knows there is perfect compliance across the business.
It's really important as more localised Covid-19 breakouts are possible and the guidance has changed from two-metre distancing to one-metre plus. With iAuditor, clients can make process changes in real-time and the templates are pushed out to the relevant stores immediately.
Does the simplicity of SafetyCulture’s technology make it difficult for other companies to compete?
We hear that a lot, but it takes a lot in tech to create a simple experience and a simple product. There are over 100 software engineers working on the app, and it takes discipline to create a streamlined, simple to use product that works effortlessly online, offline and that automatically syncs to the cloud. There's a lot of complexity behind building a simple product.
There are other tools like Survey Monkey, but they're pretty lightweight and iAuditor is highly configurable. SafetyCulture doesn’t have a lot of competitors operating across industries and use cases, as we do within hospitality or construction. There might be some sector-specific inspection tools, but not a whole lot of competition across the whole base.
There’s a big drive from brokers and insurers to use this new technology. How did SafetyCulture move into insurance?
One of our customers, quite a significant company, asked us to send their invoice for the product to their insurance company, which really piqued our interest. We found out they'd been sharing a lot of inspection data with their broker and were sourcing significantly better deals at renewal.
In the last couple of years, there's certainly been a lot of interest. Companies may benefit from some high touch risk consulting, but for the mid-market, insurers and brokers are looking for products like iAuditor to help clients improve their risk profile of businesses, claims rates, and claims defensibility.
Some insurers and brokers like to fund the licenses on behalf of their clients. Others like to build templates in iAuditor, so clients have a suite of loss prevention or risk management toolkits prepared by the broker.
Can you give some examples of insurers and brokers working with SafetyCulture?
Globally, our client list includes top five carriers and brokers. We work extensively with QBE in Australia, Aviva in the UK, and Zurich in North America.
The structure of all of those deals is slightly different. Some involve the carrier funding licences for clients and other deals are more around districts, where customers can access preferred pricing and a toolkit of templates.
SafetyCulture offered a free service to Aviva clients during the earlier part of the pandemic. What did that involve?
The partnership with Aviva was launched when Covid-19 wasn't something that everyone knew about. Aviva customers already had access to a toolkit of templates and some preferential pricing, but when Covid-19 hit we swung into a slightly different mode to offer further support.
We launched a specific offer for Aviva’s clients allowing them to access iAuditor for free, as well as enhanced onboarding and support to manage Covid-19 safety. Customers are still taking up this offer as they reopen their businesses.
How open or transparent are insurers about working with SafetyCulture? Because it's a great marketing tool.
There's certainly a movement from insurance brokers to put together a toolkit of products to offer to their clients on mass, and more low cost or self-serve products to help them drive resilience.
That's really where SafetyCulture is plugging in. Working with trading teams and reaching customers en masse via schemes with brokers supported by insurers is where we're seeing a lot of traction.
The simple version of iAuditor is free, but is there an enhanced version that companies have to pay for?
Once a customer reaches certain usage thresholds then they push through our paywall. The app is free for a team of up to 10 people and allows customers to do eight inspections a month, but most businesses of a certain size will push through that quite quickly. They then move on to per-user pricing.
Sometimes an insurance broker has a client using paper inspection processes, or they might process a claim where there isn't evidence of good housekeeping. In those cases, the insurer or the broker suggests to the company that they could improve their inspection practice by using iAuditor. Or, if it's around the time of renewal, proposes that part of the deal includes a quantity of iAuditor licences.
The vision we have at SafetyCulture is perfectly aligned with the carriers. We want to reduce workplace injuries and improve safety, while insurers are looking to reduce claims and have a better risk profile in their portfolios.
If there's a claim against an insurer, and they can show evidence that their client has the appropriate health and safety processes, education and training, then they can push back. One of the benefits of iAuditor is that it’s a material part of settling a claim or defending it, even into any kind of court case.
A robust approach to health and safety backed by a set of demonstrable, regular safety checks, is critical in dealing with all claims, particularly costly injury claims. It can reduce some of the severity of the claim and at best, eliminate it.
We heard a story recently from a carrier about a contracted cleaner who reported slipping on water from a leaky fountain, causing £95,000 worth of head injuries. The policy had no deductible, so the insurer was liable for all of the claim and was going to payout.
The carrier liaised with their client’s environmental, health and safety manager who said they had inspection processes and could access iAuditor to see their daily safety checks. Those checks evidenced really good housekeeping and around this water fountain, they had never been late and there was no evidence of leaks.
The time stamp on it was close to when the cleaner claimed they had slipped. The carrier was able to present this back to the claimant and their lawyers, and the case was dropped.
If an insurance company or broker wants to know more about SafetyCulture, what’s the best way to engage with the team?
It's a priority for us to build out this channel. SafetyCulture sells direct to customers, but we don't do much marketing. Our business is mainly customers adopting our product from the app store, and a company signs up every two minutes for a product.
We're looking for insurance brokers or risk consultants interested in a low-cost tool like iAuditor to reach out to us. Whether that's directly through me or InsTech London, please reach out and we can see if there's alignment and capacity to work together.
A lot is happening around wearables, particularly in the US around compensation. Is that an area of interest for SafetyCulture, or are you looking at it in terms of sensors in IoT?
Sensors and IoT is a really big focus for us. We'll be announcing some news very shortly on sensors and a new SafetyCulture product that we're bringing to market. We’re not as focused on wearables, but IoT is really big.
The main product we're bringing to market is a temperature and humidity sensor. We see clients using this in refrigerated areas. Fridges will have sensors and if the temperature goes above a set range, it triggers an alarm and assigns an action to resolve. That provides significant ROI in terms of loss prevention and stopping spoiled stock.
We see people using sensors in server rooms and all sorts of interesting use cases. Bringing in data feeds from sensors is a really exciting part of the product.
Most insurers intuitively understand the potential of sensors and IoT, but the challenge is how to do they scale it and measure it?
We’ve been talking about wearables at SafetyCulture for a long time, but it's taken a while to find a compelling use case. Telematics has been hugely successful and that's a space that we're investing in. We got clear on the most compelling use cases, and it seemed that temperature and humidity were really easy for our customers to understand. We've been distributing sensors into our client base for about six months now, with alerts and notifications built-in.
It's not just about collecting data but having actionable information so issues can be resolved speedily on site. Customers can also come to us with their sensor network and we can get all that data into the SafetyCulture platform.
What's coming up next for SafetyCulture?
We've evolved now from being just that inspections app to becoming a safety management platform. Other key parts of our roadmap include incident reporting. That’s being rolled into the core iAuditor experience so customers can do inspections and spot incidents or near misses, along with all the analytics that goes with it.
We're also looking at training and microlearning platforms. We are testing an app in the app store at the moment which lets businesses record short, two-minute learning videos on mobile and distribute them to their teams.
Finally, thank you very much for your support for InsTech London. What was it that made SafetyCulture sign up as a corporate member?
There isn’t anyone that understands the insurance space better than Matthew and Robin. Being part of the InsTech London community helps SafetyCulture align and keep up to speed with carriers, brokers, and risk consultants who are forward-looking and seeking partnerships or better ways to benefit their clients. That was why it was so compelling to join up this year.
For more information on SafetyCulture, go to https://safetyculture.com/
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