Hamilton Insurance Group recently joined forces with AIG and Two Sigma to form Attune, a data science-driven platform to make it easier for small businesses to get insurance. Hamilton CEO Brian Duperreault spoke with INN on what motivated the company's partnership and how the insurtech trend is pushing all players to do more.

INN: Can you give us a quick introduction to Attune? What does it do, and who is the target customer?

Brian Duperreault: We have an app in development where we don’t really need to ask [small businesses] anything but a name and address, and we can give you bindable coverage. A lot of the questions actually are what kind of limits do you want, what kind of a deductible do you want -- those kind of questions. [The target customer is] under a hundred employees. That’s not a target for most companies, insurance companies. It's an $80 billion market.

INN: Why haven't insurance companies taken this on before?

BD: The amount of premium surrounding this doesn’t give you a lot of freedom to tailor. There’s not enough money in it to get everybody’s interest, to say, even take your phone call. We cannot afford to cover the small business without charging a lot of money just for handling. If we could squeeze that out, we’d have a much better product, you’re happier, and for us it’s constant creation of new insureds. There’s a constant leveling up. That’s a wonderful place to be.

INN: Why partner instead of trying to go after this market individually?

BD: It’s not easy to mount all the capabilities to go after something alone, not easy. And you’re much better off tapping individual expertise here and specialty expertise there and pooling it for a particular purpose than trying to gather it all yourself. We’ve got, in the three of us pretty interesting capabilities. Two Sigma is a world class data science company. AIG has capabilities second to none, particularly specialty insurance. And we bring our own energy and newness to the capabilities that we have. The three of us are creating something that’s outside of us [because ] a parent can really slow you down. It’s just the nature of that the controls just come from everywhere, and the 'wait a second, that’s not the way we do it.' So there’s some negativism that can occur, so you’re almost forced to pull it out.

INN: How is data science changing the way insurers interact with customers?

BD: I think the fundamentals remain the same. The fundamentals are getting an understanding of the company you want to insure, and from that understanding, craft an insurance product. We’ve built over time kind of a well-oiled machine as an industry in how to do that, but we haven't adjusted that machine to this new world of data. And so what we would hope is that using data science we have a much better view of what the situation is. It’s like diagnostics in medicine, first you had an x-ray, now you have an MRI.

INN: What are some parting thoughts you want readers to know about Attune?

BD: First, it is an extension of two insurance companies. So we’re there to take the risk, so we are taking balance sheet risk. Second thing is that it is not replacing intermediaries, like agents or brokers. We’re recognizing that they’re an important part of this transaction, the insured wants them, and so we are embracing them and making their experience better.

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