The Mine! Project

open source project for online data and relationships logistics

Mine! insurance story

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Not the most thrilling heading, I grant you, but being able to manage your insurance is not to be sniffed at. This is also the first in a series of scenarios, or Mine! stories, about how the Mine! could be used for specific uses. Some scenarios won’t be realised until vendors come on board and this is obviously one of them. That said, the Mine! is first and foremost for the user and works independently of vendors, platforms and third-parties.

So I am looking for some home insurance. I already have in the Mine! information about the belongings in my house to be covered or I input them – I can add descriptions, upload photos, links etc. I include my postcode and any essential information insurers need to quote. Then I create a feed from the Mine! containing that data. This feed would be specific to each insurer even if the information contained within is identical. That way I will be able to cut that feed off without disrupting feeds to others. Then I drop the feed URL into a field on insurer’s website and get a quote.[1]

Big assumption alert: Insurers will have added a field to their sites, and the way they extract the information is similar to you filling in a form, the difference being that you are choosing what data you share. I know better than trying to get vendors to change their system at this stage but with sufficient usage and incentive, this should be possible. The Mine! starts from the user, not the vendor.

The insurance companies respond. I choose the quote best for me and provides the insurer with my identity details needed to complete the transaction and whatever other personal data is required to establish a relationship. I can do this by updating the original ‘quote’ feed – this would be done by adding more objects or tags to the feed – or by generating an entirely new one. That will depend on the user preference and own data management.

The feed the insurer is given will provide updates about any changes to the shared data – contents, address, other relevant information. These can be used for timely policy amendments to avoid being uninsured or underinsured as well as for renewal quotes.

The insurance company benefits as they now have a direct connection with me, the customer, with a flow of potentially useful data that would be hard to obtain otherwise. The higher quality of data is inferred from the motivation behind it – I maintain data in the Mine! for my own purposes and needs – which seems a reason more powerful than anything else. And finally, the direct relationship cuts out the brokers, which is something that most insurers would like to see at least in the areas where insurance coverage has been commoditised.

The customer wins because he gets a deal more closely tailored to his needs and circumstances, cheaper insurance (brokers are often used to put together lists of items and the average fee paid to brokers for such service is £50+), reduces the hassle of re-insuring and avoids underinsurance when something does go wrong.

Over time, there would be other areas of improvement and impact. Better rating due to higher quality or relevance of data, better customer relationship, less paperwork. I realise I am veering into the utopia here, especially when it comes to insurance but one can but hope…

Similar scenarios could apply to any insurance products and services where details from the customer are essential to the quote and/or brokers and intermediaries are pushing out insurers from a direct relationship.

[1] Here is Alec’s ‘translation’ or elaboration of the process for the more technical amongst us, based on the current Mine! functionality.

So I am looking for some home insurance. I already have in the Mine! information about the belongings in my house to be covered or I input them – I can add descriptions, upload photos, links etc. [ALL THIS DATA GETS LINKED INTO AN "ENVELOPE" OBJECT THAT SAVES YOU HAVING TO GO AN RE-TAG IT SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INSURANCE] I include my postcode and any essential information insurers need to quote. Then I create a feed from the Mine! containing that data [IE: CONTAINING THE "ENVELOPE" OBJECT WHICH DRAGS ALL THE OTHER DATA IN ITS WAKE]. This feed would be specific to each insurer even if the information contained within is identical. [PERSONALLY I WOULD DESCRIBE THIS AS "DROP THE ENVELOPE INTO THE FEED FOR EACH INSURER"] That way I will be able to cut that feed off without disrupting feeds to others. Then I ["THE USER"] drop the feed URL into a field on insurer’s website and get a quote.

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