IT IS not typhoons or earthquakes that insurers should fear most, but geeks alert to their businesses’ inefficiencies. Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, tech entrepreneurs with no insurance background, spotted that the industry is huge (worth $4.6trn in global premium income a year, reckons Swiss Re, a reinsurer), distrusted, antiquated and hopelessly unreformed.
In September they started Lemonade, a New York-based insurer for homeowners and renters. Some describe it as a peer-to-peer insurer (“Spiritually we’re a tech company,” says Mr Schreiber). Most agree that its app makes insurance a lot easier. This appeals to the digital generation: of 2,000 policies sold in its first 100 days, over 80% were to first-time buyers.
Insurance, the founders reasoned, suffers from misaligned incentives. Every dollar paid out comes from insurers’ pockets, encouraging poor behaviour.