The Future of Insurance Podcast – Kevin Kerridge
CEO, Hiscox USA
Season 2, Episode 16, February 15, 2022
Kerridge, the newly appointed CEO of Hiscox USA, has a proven track record of building successful and profitable businesses during his career. Having joined Hiscox in 1996, he created Hiscox’s first direct online business in the UK; initially for home insurance and then for commercial clients.
In 1999, Kerridge started Hiscox’s first direct-to-consumer online business in the UK, leaving it in 2009 with a market-leading position in the small business and affluent homeowner’s insurance arena. Kerridge then relocated from London to New York to oversee the launch and development of Hiscox’s US digital small business operation. Kevin Kerridge was executive vice president of the direct and partnership division at Hiscox USA, the US arm of the global specialty insurer.
He guided Hiscox’s effort to reinvent small business insurance in the US, delivering it through a best-in-class online and service center delivery model. Hiscox had first mover advantage when it launched the service in 2010 and is now focused on stretching its lead and capitalizing on the almost $200 million invested so far in the technology, marketing and service center.
Under Kevin’s leadership, Hiscox reinvented small business insurance in 2010 when it launched the first online direct-to-consumer business insurance platform in the US – which now serves over 500,000 small business policyholders. Kevin has deep expertise at the intersection of technology and risk as it relates to starting, growing and protecting a business. He has received numerous industry accolades and is a sought after speaker on issues relating to small business and InsurTech.
Highlights from the Show
- Kevin Kerridge is the CEO of Hiscox’s US business, and has spent 26 years with the company, 22 of which have been building and running their digital businesses in the UK and US
- In 2009, after building the mid- and high net worth homeowners digital offering and then moving to small commercial, Kevin came to the US to build their direct, small business offering here
- For years, Hiscox had no carrier competition despite lots of analysts predicting other carriers would come into the digital, direct space any minute
- Kevin sees this as a supply-side problem because there were no carriers with huge market share who could move the market, and, despite customers searching for insurance and trying to buy direct, online, carriers didn’t see enough payback to warrant making that move
- Hiscox saw this as an opportunity to avoid being stuck in the middle and have the chance to compete as a leader that owns a space, which they were able to do with a 10-year head start over InsurTech players and incumbents who are finally moving into the space
- It turns out, they are stuck in the middle, but it’s between InsurTechs who didn’t exist yet and incumbents who didn’t move fast enough, giving them a huge head start on startups and incumbents
- Hiscox has had a much more open approach to distribution than many carriers, with Kevin often talking about the approach as “All roads lead to Hiscox”
- After investing hundreds of millions in the solution, they’ve ended up with great scale with over 500k customers and 130 brands they distribute through
- This openness is key because of how hard and expensive acquisition is, so you need partners, even if they may look like a competitor through another lens
- Small Business in the US is probably $130 billion, and no one carrier can have an expansive share there because it’s too big for a single players, so having a network of collaborating partners is critical
- To take advantage of these opportunities takes thinking about insurance as a retail business would or you’ll miss what the Small Business buyer needs
- Kevin says you should never forget the fact that you’re an insurance company, and fast growth may be dangerous if you lose sight of underwriting and the need to make good underwriting choices
- Scale helps with the fix costs and loss smoothing, but it can’t help with structural underwriting unprofitability
- New entrants help change the way incumbents think, which is so necessary
- Looking forward, Kevin sees that:
- People will keep underestimating the intermediated channel, especially as traditional distributors get on the digital curve
- There will be a lot of rethinking about small commercial products for the truly small businesses who are stuck with minimum premium coverage that’s actually more than they need
- Simplification will still matter because SMB customers often need to be sure they are covered, but they’re really looking for coverage to enable their ability to do business