The Future of Insurance Podcast – Tanner Hackett

CEO, Counterpart

Season 3, Episode 15, September 13, 2022

Guest Bio

Tanner founded Counterpart to help small businesses navigate the ever-changing insurance landscape with innovative tools, proactive services, and leading coverage. He has deep expertise in scaling large, data-centric businesses after co-founding two successful ventures including the Malaysian arm of Lazada, which quickly became the largest e-commerce company in Southeast Asia and was purchased by Alibaba for $3.5bn in 2018. He subsequently co-founded Button, which has become the world’s largest mobile-first affiliate platform, partnering with global brands like Amazon, Walmart,, and Uber. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Tanner is active in mental health research, having started as a means of accelerating research, collaboration, education, and awareness for this critical societal issue. Tanner is a member of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, a New Zealand Government sponsored community of global problem solvers focused on making a lasting positive impact on the world.

Highlights from the Show

  • Counterpart initially started as HR tech, meant to create better corporate culture to drive down risk and drive up employee experience and engagement, but it was hard to get potential customers to act on this today
  • They pivoted to insurance looking at ways they could reduce the risk of claims rather than just paying for them after they happen
  • In learning about the space, they saw that the product itself needed to be rethought to be able to drive different behavior and improve underwriting, so they built an insurance product in addition to the risk mitigation tools they were developing
  • Tanner comes from outside of insurance, which allows him to lead by asking questions, but also means he’s made a point of building a strong insurance team around him because it is a complex and expertise-driven space
    • This is part of why Markel and Aspen, their capacity providers, have signed on to back Counterpart’s product
  • Counterpart pairs outside data to better understand risk in more nuanced ways than the industry has been able to through applications, and iterates its rating model based on what they’re actually seeing every 30 minutes
    • This has allowed them to have best-in-class loss ratios despite focusing on the higher-frequency small end of the market
  • Beyond underwriting differently, Counterpart’s strategy focuses on interacting with the insured to make them a better risk
    • There’s self-selection in this approach, too, as insureds who choose an insurer like that are likely to be better risks
    • Small businesses need the help, especially now, given that they’ve gone through COVID and all that means for employees, then facing supply chain and labor constraints
  • Similar to the way data can help in underwriting, the same should be done in claims given the trends and data out there on claims and how you can use it to make better decisions and intervene differently
  • Building Counterpart taught Tanner that the best product doesn’t necessarily win in insurance because relationships matter, and no one has time in small business to scrutinize the product differences
  • That means respecting and supporting how things have been done, and recognizing you need to give brokers what they need to make their work easier because they’re stretched too thin today, so insurers need to make things easier on brokers, too
  • This approach of better underwriting and making small businesses better risks should drive the cost of coverage down for everyone, increase the total addressable market, which is better for everyone
    • Better value for insureds
    • More insureds can afford coverage and see the benefit in buying it
    • Easier for brokers to sell the product
    • Better loss results for insurers

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