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Employee Spotlight: Patrick Simpelo, Software Engineer
3 Min Read
Welcome to the Boost Employee Spotlight! Each month, we feature a different member of the Boost team and their story. This month, meet Patrick Simpelo, Software Engineer. As a backend engineer, I work with my team to implement new features within our platform and revamp existing features. Insurance can be complex, so engineering new and existing products can be challenging, but we engineers make a collaborative effort. We even work with the actuary team to make sure numbers line up correctly. Mathemagical! The tasks that make up my week are (in no particular order or frequency): Programming. Code reviewing. Tending to partner questions. Chatting with teammates. Running interviews. Attending meetings/hangouts. Sending gifs. Receiving gifs. Reacting with emojis. Those who know me won’t be surprised when I say that a big highlight was Boost’s last company party. Of course, being a part of launching new products is great, but the celebration that comes after is the icing on the cheesecake, the hot fudge on the ice cream, and the olive in the martini! Besides the ping pong games, caricatures, foods, drinks, and rooftop views, what made this party so great was all the different kinds of social interactions. Everyone was on a good vibe and happy to celebrate all the hard work we pulled off in the past year(s). Being able to see remote colleagues in person again (or for the first time) was awesome, catching up with people from other departments was sweet, and meeting new people who I wouldn’t normally get to interact with on a personal level was fun. Can’t wait for the next one! The Boost platform has grown quite a bit over the years as we built new products, implemented new features, and brought on new partners. In the early days of development, there were different requirements and the platform was much less complex. Now, I’m excited to work with the “early days” code to add enhancements and even refactor things! Hopefully, the upgrades we make will allow us to build new features and products seamlessly. If you are a software engineer looking to make a career change–if you’re looking for an industry where you can innovate and make a meaningful contribution–insurance packs a bigger punch than you’d think. It’s one thing to build a brand new idea from scratch, like an app that’ll notify you when someone takes the last La Croix from the fridge, or even a robot that can play fetch with the office dogs. But it’s another thing to usher an archaic practice (ahem.. insurance) into the new modern age of technology.  Don’t like a whole packet of insurance documents stuffed in your mailbox just to get a quote? Don’t like being put on hold just for a salesperson to pick up and persuade you to add a coverage to your policy? Well, hello there. We are Boost. We built something pretty sweet.  If you enjoyed reading about Patrick’s experience and are interested in working at Boost, let us know! We are hiring and would love to hear from you. Check out our open roles and find out why Built In named Boost one of New York City's best places to work.
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Introducing The New Boost Brand
By Lisa Khoury on Nov 9, 2022
3 Min Read
It’s an exciting day for Boost: today we’re officially launching our new brand identity, and a shiny new website to go along with it. When we started Boost in 2017, we had one big goal: to drive innovation in the insurance industry. The insurance market is highly regulated, inefficient, technologically underdeveloped and traditionally dominated by a handful of large players, who haven’t had much incentive to change with the times. This added up to an environment that made it very difficult for new players to get modern ideas to get off the ground - which is why buying insurance was still a painful, largely offline process, with often-outdated products.  We built Boost to change that. Our mission is to make the insurance industry accessible to innovators by providing the compliance, capital, and technology infrastructure they need to offer modern protection to their customers. We wanted to make it easier for new players to get to market, and to make insurance work better for everyone - the people buying it, and the people offering it. Five years later, it’s been a wild ride. We’ve built an API-based platform that enables any company to offer branded, digital insurance through their website or app, powered by one of the most advanced policy administration systems in the industry. We’ve launched a suite of first-of-their-kind insurance products like parental leave insurance, crypto wallet insurance, and management liability insurance designed for startups, as well as launching improved, more customer-centric versions of established products like business owners insurance for small businesses, cyber insurance and pet health insurance. Since Boost’s inception, we’ve powered more than 40 insurance innovators as they’ve improved the insurance buying process. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished. But we’re nowhere close to finished. Boost’s overall vision for the insurance industry is much bigger than where we are today: we’re building the insurance market for the modern world. Our vision is to democratize the industry through technology and innovation so everyone can have access to the protection they need, when they need it. To tackle that vision, we’ve grown a lot as a company - and it’s time for our brand to grow, too.  The updated Boost brand better reflects who we are now: a bold, modern, tech-forward leader in the insurance space. It allows us to tell our story in a way that’s easier to understand, and gives us room to scale as we continue moving forward. The central element in our new brand identity is one you’ll hear us talk about often - the idea of the platform. Boost delivers more than just robust tech infrastructure, white-labeled insurance products or access to risk capital through our managed reinsurance facility (though we have those too). With Boost, you get an end-to-end platform comprising every layer of the embedded insurance value chain, all in one turnkey solution. The platform is what gives our customers the tools to scale their insurance programs and build long-term, profitable lines of business, and that’s why we made it the cornerstone of our brand. Alongside our new brand identity, we’re also excited to unveil the all-new Boost website. Our new online home isn’t just prettier to look at - it’s also packed with more information about what we offer, and more ways to connect with us.  Boost has come a long way since the beginning, and I look forward to the next steps we take on our journey. Much more to come!
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2022 Fintech Trends at Money 20/20
By Rowley Douglas on Nov 3, 2022
2 Min Read
Before we get too far away from October, we wanted to recap one of our favorite industry events: Money20/20, which took place October 23-26 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  As always, it was an awesome opportunity to connect with others in the fintech space. 11,500+ people from 3000+ companies attended Money 20/20 this year, including 7 from the Boost team, and the event featured keynote speakers like Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, and many other notable names. With so many industry leaders gathered in one place, Money 20/20 is a great place to get a read on upcoming trends in fintech– here are some that we noticed.  Payments platform solutions were the most prevalent force at the event, in my opinion. There were a number of payment solution companies with big booth spaces who were making a great effort to stand out in the sea of competitors. If their goal was to leave an impression, they succeeded. Indeed, my inbox was filled to the brim with payments platforms trying to secure meetings with me.  Last year's event had a visibly strong presence from Crypto but this year that felt muted. No doubt the market has had a strong say in that, although Fireblocks still showed a strong presence and have clearly cemented themselves as the critical infrastructure in Crypto, whether the market is up or down.  Between the 7 Boost team members attending, we had 100+ meetings, many with companies that were thrilled and intrigued to be meeting with one of the only insurtechs at the conference. Boost stood out positively as one of the few insurtechs companies that could offer such a breadth of high-quality products, particularly to SMB clients. Even more importantly, people were impressed by our embedded white-labeled solutions and ability to build and launch new products through our API.    Hats off to the organizers for putting on a large and engaging show across 2+ days. It was a pleasure to sponsor Money 20/20 this year, and Boost will continue to evaluate our partnership with this event and strategize how best to make the most of our presence. If you did not get a chance to connect with us at Money2020, don’t worry– the Boost team will be attending more events before the end of the year. Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter to stay up to date or drop us a line. We would be happy to meet with you to talk more about how embedded insurance can help your business drive customer value.
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What is Insurtech and How Is It Reshaping Insurance?
By The Boost Team on Oct 26, 2022
9 Min Read
With outdated operational systems, analog processes, and poor customer experiences, the traditional insurance industry was ripe for disruption and innovation.  Enter insurtech, the multi-billion dollar industry that is changing the insurance world.  The term “Insurtech” combines the words “insurance” and “technology,” and has multiple uses in the industry. “Insurtech” can be used to describe the innovative technology developed to improve the current insurance model, the companies that create that insurance technology, or tech-focused companies that sell insurance.  Insurance technology, and the companies that sell and create that technology, are making waves in the insurance world. By innovating on an outdated process and making insurance simpler and more accessible for consumers, insurtech has tapped into a healthy stream of revenue that was formerly monopolized by legacy insurance carriers. In 2021, the global insurtech market size reached $3.85 billion and is expected to reach $5.45 billion by the end of 2022.  Insurtech offers simple, efficient, digital solutions that promote consumer ease and confidence, increasing their likelihood not only to convert but to renew their policies.  In the past, complex, difficult-to-navigate, and slow insurance buying processes were a barrier to both insurance sales rates and post-sale customer satisfaction. If a customer wanted to make a change to their policy, they would need to call their provider and wait on hold until a rep could help them. When a customer filed a claim, they would have to wait weeks to receive a physical check in the mail.  Insurance technology is creating a smoother, more convenient digital process for customers to buy and manage their insurance policies. Besides making it easier to buy insurance in the first place, insurance technology can enable all-digital management of policy lifecycle transactions that would have once required a letter or phone call, such as adding coverage, filing claims, and updating personal information. This is good for insurance providers as well as customers, as better customer experiences lead to higher retention rates.  On the carrier and agent side, insurance technology can dramatically increase workflow productivity, the number of policies sold, and, ultimately, income. Insurtech enables workflows that are highly efficient, entirely digital, and largely automated. Unencumbered by manual processes, insurance agents and brokers can focus on the high-value aspects of their work–consulting with customers, and selling and managing more policies faster. More policies sold equals more revenue. Insurance technology also enables services like embedded insurance, where insurance can be seamlessly purchased as part of a different, related transaction.  For example, companies that sell pet-related products can offer pet insurance as part of their checkout flow. Airlines can sell travel insurance on tickets, at the same time that a customer books their flight. Crypto custodians can sell crypto wallet insurance to people who hold wallets on their platform. Without leaving their purchasing flow, customers can buy insurance by simply checking a box and adding to cart.  This kind of innovative access to insurance has opened up the market to new entrants. Before, the insurance market was monopolized by traditional, large insurance companies, but now non-insurance companies can easily sell targeted insurance products to their customer base. Enabled by insurance technology, more businesses can tap into the revenue of the insurance market and contribute to its growth. Insurtech companies began to emerge in 2010, as an extension of banking’s “fintech,” to automate and improve insurance processes through the use of big data, machine learning, and other innovative technologies.  There are two primary varieties of insurtech companies:  Many traditional insurance products are one-size-fits-some, and processes like signing up, submitting claims, receiving funds, and making changes to policies tend to be cumbersome and slow. The tech-focused insurtechs that sell insurance are changing that narrative by providing great customer experiences, easy purchase processes, and more personalized products.  To create a product lineup that suits their business objectives or to offer the most competitive insurance available, these companies will often partner with a variety of insurance providers. They then offer a frontend experience where customers can purchase insurance products from the insurtech’s curated lineup. In order to digitally run their business, companies that sell insurance need technology, which leads us to the second variety of insurtech companies.  Also referred to as “insurtechs,” other companies exist to design products and technology that make insurance-buying processes and experiences more efficient. The technology they create is also called “insurtech,” which we will unpack in the next section.  Insurance technology is designed to improve aspects of the insurance value chain, including marketing, distribution, policy origination, underwriting, services, and claims, which usually involves automation. Not only does insurtech make insurance more accessible, convenient, and efficient for both insurance providers and customers, but the tech also provides better products. For example, insurtech uses data to build more cost-effective products or products that have the right coverages based on what you know about your customer.  On the buyer side, insurance technology gives modern consumers an easy, digital experience when buying or managing an insurance policy. On the carrier and agent side, insurance technology increases workflow productivity, the number of policies sold, and, ultimately, revenue.  There are a few different systems that make up the typical insurance company’s tech stack: a policy admin system, an agency management system, and in some cases, carrier portals. The policy administration system (PAS) is the most essential piece of the insurance tech stack. The PAS is the system of record and technical underpinning for all-online insurance transactions. It’s used by the insurance business to track the lifecycle of every policy or quote they manage.  Rating, quoting, underwriting, document generation, document storage, billing, endorsements, cancellations, invoicing, and more are all recorded and transacted by the PAS. This includes things like generating a quote based on information provided in an online form, modifying the policy’s coverage endorsements, or generating the appropriate documents for a new policy and facilitating delivery to the policyholder. Every insurance provider requires a PAS to help facilitate their business. That being said, not all PASs are created equally, and their capabilities can vary significantly. For companies trying to deliver great online experiences, a robust PAS is essential. PAS capabilities have implications for compliance and data processing, as well as customer experience, so choosing the right PAS is a crucial decision.  The next important piece of the tech stack puzzle is the agency management system (AMS). An AMS is essentially a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but more robust and insurance-specific. Through the AMS, an insurtech company can track their customer’s policies, renewals, premiums, endorsement requests, billing, and invoicing. The AMS records potential leads, stores information on various products, and tracks commission rates per carrier. It can even give marketing insights about who the insurtech should target with what products and track the entire lifecycle of client policies. For example, let’s say that a broker just sold a cyber policy to a client. That agent would then create an account in their AMS for the customer, and the AMS would record the effective dates for the policy. Through the AMS, the broker can set tasks to remind them of important timelines like renewal dates and expiration dates, which takes the pressure off of the broker to manually track them. Whenever those dates arise, the AMS will send the broker a message to remind the client to renew their policy. Insurtech companies also use the AMS to identify cross-sell opportunities across multiple lines of business. Oftentimes, insurtech companies will engage in multiple lines of business and use multiple carriers to access a greater variety of products. The AMS can track the insurtech company’s existing customers, identify which lines of business each customer has selected, and help connect them to a complementary insurance product. Insurance agents and brokers sell policies on behalf of an insurance carrier, and often they need to interact with the carrier to get approvals, documents, or other requirements. A carrier portal is an interactive portal connected to the carrier’s policy administration system, which brokers and agents can access to get what they need when they need it. The carrier portal gives brokers and agents the autonomy to manage their policies without having to directly contact the carrier for every request.  Once an agent has logged into the platform and generated the required certificate, quote, application, or any other necessary transaction, the carrier can then rate it and determine whether or not they can give back a premium—often referred to as “underwriting” or a “declination.” Carrier portals are specific to each carrier, so if an insurtech company has multiple lines of business with multiple carriers, they would need to rely on an AMS to consolidate the varying data. Technically, carrier portals are adjacent to the insurance tech stack–they’re not essential for insurtechs to run their business, and they’re provided by a carrier rather than being a system built or chosen by the insurtech. For companies with carrier partners, however, the carrier portal can be an important part in their day-to-day technology. These insurtech systems work together behind the scenes to improve the insurance process. The PAS is the foundation that tracks the lifecycle of every insurance policy, the AMS is the system that allows agents to transact business against the PAS, and carrier portals allow agents and brokers to self-service their business.  These insurtech systems are essential for companies to sell insurance, so every company has to consider how or where they will acquire that technology. One option is to build them in-house, however, building a policy administration system or an agency management system in-house is an extremely difficult and expensive undertaking. Building a PAS alone that supports one insurance product can take two to three years to complete, with several million dollars in development costs. Another option is to buy from a vendor that specializes in PAS or AMS software. There are many options for this kind of third-party technology. While it can be less intensive than building an AMS or PAS from scratch, buying and outsourcing the custom development work required to integrate with these systems can still be very time-consuming and expensive. The more customization you require, the longer and more expensive it will be.  The third option is to partner with an insurance as a service company, such as Boost. Boost provides the entire infrastructure necessary to support an insurance program, including a state-of-the-art PAS, the insurance products themselves, and post-purchase customer support.  Between the two varieties of insurtechs–tech-focused companies that sell insurance and companies that create technology related to insurance–Boost is the latter.  We are an insurance-as-a-service company, which means we provide everything a business needs to launch or expand an insurance program. This includes both a wide variety of white-label, customizable insurance products built in-house by our team of insurance experts, delivered through our robust, industry-leading PAS. We provide fully digital and automated workflows, we handle claims, data, and regulatory management in-house, and we are backed by our managed reinsurance facility. We know that building insurance products and systems from scratch can take multiple years and millions of dollars, so we have crafted a solution that is simpler and more affordable. We partner with other insurtech companies that sell insurance by providing them with innovative, customizable white-label products to add to their lineup, or we work with them to build brand-new products that address new risks in the market. We also work with non-insurance companies to enable them to distribute white-labeled, embedded insurance products.  We’re set up to help a wide spectrum of insurtechs –from startups looking to enter the market, to larger companies that have been selling insurance for years and want to add new products to their offerings. With Boost, adding a new insurance product to your lineup is as simple as connecting your digital front end to our platform via API. There is so much opportunity in the insurtech space, and it only keeps growing. Insurance technology is transforming the insurance process to be more efficient for carriers, insurtech companies, agents, brokers, and customers alike.    If you want to learn more about insurance-as-a-service through Boost, contact us, or dive into building your insurance program with Boost Launchpad.
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Learn how crypto wallet insurance can help protect your digital assets.
Crypto Wallet Insurance: Do You Actually Need It?
By The Boost Team on Oct 20, 2022
5 Min Read
If you follow cryptocurrency news, you may have seen that Boost released the first crypto insurance available to individual wallet holders earlier this year. While institutions like exchanges already had access to commercial insurance, Boost’s crypto wallet insurance is the first opportunity for most individual crypto owners to buy insurance protection for their digital assets. For many crypto holders, however, this raised a new question: since most exchanges do have commercial insurance to protect against theft and other potential losses from cybercrime, what exactly is the role of individual insurance? If your crypto custodian is attacked and your assets are stolen, won’t their insurance policy cover it?  The short answer is: it’s complicated. The long answer is that there are three big reasons that individual crypto wallet insurance is a good investment. When you deposit fiat currency into a traditional bank account, you get more than just the bank’s assurance that your money will be safe. Thousands of banks across the US are insured by the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which was established in 1933 to stabilize the US financial system after a series of catastrophic bank failures.   The FDIC’s role is to make sure that even if a bank completely runs out of money (whether through theft or just mismanagement), the people who hold deposits at that bank don’t lose their savings. If the bank that holds your fiat currency were to fail, the FDIC would provide you with an insurance payment that covered the value of your deposit at the failed bank, up to $250,000.  This provides a vital safety net for fiat currency deposits in financial institutions…but there’s no similar protection for cryptocurrency. If your digital assets are stolen from a crypto exchange or custodian, there’s no fallback recovery like the FDIC. Whether or not you get your money back is wholly dependent on the institution’s insurance - or your own.  Unfortunately, this kind of loss isn’t an abstract concern, which brings us to the next reason why individual crypto wallet insurance is a smart investment. Over the past several years, cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals. Since 2014, a number of crypto institutions have been hit by high profile hacks: The increasing threat puts crypto exchanges and custodians in a constant arms race against cybercriminals. While reputable exchanges make security their top priority, the past decade of cybercrime has proven that it’s virtually impossible to guarantee that any web-facing system is 100% impenetrable.  Adding to the challenge, many significant crypto hacks are believed to be backed by nation-state actors or large organized crime groups. Faced with determined, extremely well-resourced attackers, even the most state-of-the-art cyber security can fail.  If your crypto custodian is breached, the contents of your wallet risk being stolen. As we saw with reason #1, if that should happen, there’s no safety net for your assets. The only way to get your money back is through insurance, but relying on your custodian’s policy carries risks of its own. Your custodian likely carries a commercial insurance policy to protect against loss from hacking and theft, which in turn provides some protection to crypto wallet holders (after all, it’s your assets that would be taken in a hack). However, there are two big limits to how much that protection can help: Commercial insurance claims tend to be much more complex than claims for personal policies and take much longer to resolve. Particularly for claims involving crimes like a hack, the insurance company may require an investigation or inspection before proceeding with a settlement. While commercial claims can be resolved quickly, it’s not unusual for the process to take several months between incident and payout - or longer if there’s a dispute over the settlement amount.  When your custodian does receive their settlement money, that is only the first step toward you recovering your losses. The custodian will need to decide how to reimburse their cryptocurrency wallet holders, then arrange to disburse the funds. This adds even more time before you see relief in your wallet. If you hold a personal policy insuring your crypto wallet, however, it’s a whole different story. Rather than waiting for your exchange to work through its own process, you would file a claim directly with your insurance company for the value of the assets lost in the hack. With the comparatively straightforward personal line claims process, you would likely get your money back much faster than waiting for funds from your custodian’s policy to trickle down to individual wallet holders. Even the most comprehensive insurance policies have a limit on how much they’ll reimburse their policyholder. This is simply a reality of the business - insurance is all about managing risk, and unlimited payouts are a risk no carrier would be willing to take. Whether it’s $1000 or $1M,  all policies have a ceiling for their settlements - and any loss that exceeds that ceiling is the responsibility of the policyholder. For custodians that hold a high volume of cryptocurrency, this means that the total value of their holdings may exceed the limit of their insurance - even if their insurance policy is the best that money can buy. This is a particular risk when the value of crypto is volatile, and might sharply increase from one day to the next.  If a custodian is hacked and the losses are more than their commercial policy will cover, it can compromise their ability to reimburse their wallet holders. When that happens, individual crypto wallet holders might end up taking a “haircut” (i.e., permanently losing some of the value of their assets). For example, in 2016, cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex lost $72 million to hackersand their customers lost over 36% of their assets. They tried to make amends with tokens of credit, but 36% is a significant loss. Similarly, Cryptopia suffered a $16M hack in 2019 and its clients took a 12-15% haircut.    This is another advantage of holding your own retail wallet insurance. Even if your custodian suffers a hack severe enough that it’s forced to give haircuts to its crypto wallet holders, you can ensure that you at least recover the full value of your stolen assets. Crypto wallet insurance is one of the best ways individuals can protect their digital assets against the risk of theft. It’s available to buy from specialty insurers, and some exchanges also offer it directly to their customers (with more adding it every day).  Interested in offering crypto wallet insurance to your customers? A Boost expert can help you get started today.
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Employee Spotlight: Claire Gowdey, Senior Manager of Marketing Events
By The Boost Team on Sep 26, 2022
3 Min Read
Welcome to the Boost Employee Spotlight! Each month, we feature a different member of the Boost team and their story. This month, meet Claire Gowdey, Senior Manager of Events Marketing. I am the Senior Manager of Marketing Events at Boost, and my responsibilities include identifying suitable events for Boost, working on developing Boost-owned events, and planning and executing all of the events we choose to participate in. The level of involvement per event can vary based on several factors, but every single one requires a great deal of attention and thoughtfulness to ensure we are making the most of our investment and that we are achieving the most significant outcome. Oftentimes, people think of events as parties with delicious food and the occasional lavish centerpiece, which can certainly be part of it. However, there is also a great deal of strategy, careful consideration, analysis, and meticulous planning that goes into a successful event. Not to mention that the events industry and technology that support it are constantly evolving so it is a job in itself to stay educated on what the latest trends are and ensure we are one step ahead.  If done correctly, an event can grow a brand, increase top-of-funnel awareness, spark a new lead, or grow an existing relationship. I hope to have the opportunity here at Boost, to demonstrate how lucrative (and fun!) a successful event can be. I started my career in event sales before joining a boutique NYC event planning company. In these roles, I planned everything from bar/bat mitzvahs to galas, birthdays, corporate retreats, weddings, and everything in between! I have been lucky enough to plan some incredible events and meet some very talented people, however, I quickly realized that I wanted to focus on events with measurable goals, defined budgets, and the need for strategy. Looking for more work-life balance, I moved into the corporate world, and I’ve spent the last 5+ years planning conferences, team-building trips, top client events, and lots of other exciting events. Now, I get to bring those skills to the insurance industry. I joined Boost because I was excited about the opportunity to be a part of a company in its early stages where I can help drive its success and growth. My experience planning events in various industries has given me a valuable perspective and I plan to bring those best practices to the events I coordinate at Boost. In the past two months, I’ve spent much of my time getting up to speed on all things Boost—past, present and future. However, I would say that the highlight of my time here thus far has been working with the Boost team. Everyone is enthusiastic, talented, and working towards a common goal: Boost's success. It is a refreshing and exciting place to be! There are lots of things to look forward to in this role, including establishing best practices and increasing the ROI resulting from events. From an internal event standpoint, I look forward to eventually planning team-building retreats where we can all strategize for the future and get to know one another better. If you enjoyed reading about Claire’s experience and are interested in working at Boost, let us know! We are hiring and would love to hear from you. Check out our open roles and find out why Built In named Boost one of New York City's best places to work.
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