Startup Of The Week: Roadzen

Roadzen, a mobile-first startup, aims to help insurers connect to their customers, process claims in real-time, underwrite risk in real-time, underwrite new types of risk and offer roadside assistance. It has partnered with 27 insurers globally, is already present in the U.S., China and India, and is looking to expand into Europe in 2018.

“Insurers recognize that they need to change but they are completely hamstrung by legacy,” says CEO Rohan Malhotra. “We are a platform and our technology can create a better experience for the customer, allow insurers to reduce operational costs and also to develop new products.”

For starters, customers — especially millennials — don’t want to download proprietary insurance company apps. “If a customer needs to reach an insurer he or she should be able to do it on any front-facing technology such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, etc. We provide the technology that allows insurers to do that,” says Malhotra.

What’s more, “our platform allows insurers to be more technologically centric and embrace data-driven decision making, “ he says. “We are using AI to solve some of the hardest problems that insurance companies face in underwriting and in claims.”

For example, after an auto accident Roadzen leverages video streaming and computer vision to evaluate damage and give an estimate in real time. “This saves a lot of money and a lot of man power,” says Malhotra. “The claims process used to take about six weeks, our technology has gotten the process down to under 10 minutes.”

Underwriting new kinds of risk, such as ride-sharing insurance, is also something that Roadzen focuses on. “We can use AI and data from a customer’s mobile phone to help insurers be proactive rather than reactive,” says Malhotra. “ If a car is in an accident while a customer is riding in it, we can start a claims process immediately.”

And, Roadzen says it can help insurers offer new types of travel insurance. Using AI and publically available data, customers can automatically be reimbursed if a flight is delayed by more than two hours or luggage is lost, he says.

Another way that the company says it is helping insurers provide a better customer experience is by offering efficient roadside assistance.

Roadzen started out as by providing such services. Malhotra says he got the idea after a friend had an accident and waited four hours for a tow truck.

“Roadside assistance helps solve a real problem for customers,” he says. “A real problem for customers is a real problem for insurers who want to retain their customers. Studies show a positive claims process can improve customer retention by about 80%.”

In August last year Roadzen acquired AXA Assistance, the India unit of the AXA Group, which offers roadside assistance as well as travel, health and housing assurance.

Roadzen has a partnership with the Axa Group, the French multinational insurance group, and also works with some of Europe’s other large insurers, such as Allianz, AIG and Generali. None of the relationships are exclusive, says Malhotra.

Roadzen plans to roll out its services in Europe through insurance company partners later this year, he says.