Love Island may have finished for 2018 but Fintech Love Island certainly hasn’t. So, we’ve dispatched our very own Alex Cherry, an intrepid insurance adventurer, to sunny Mallorca – to find out which Fintech Trends are hot … and which are not.

Armed with his widebrimmed hat and keen eye for Fintech magic, Alex arrives to find this year’s 10 Fintech Trends busy enjoying the summer sunshine at the Fintech Villa.

Bigdog acronyms AI and VR are floating in the shallow end of the pool, having dispatched API and P2P to fix them up some cocktails. Mobile Wallet and Gamification are playing volleyball against Blockchain and Robotics. And, under a distant palm tree, Chatbot and Roboadvisory are locked in a long, sangriafuelled debate about semantics.

As our 10 Fintech Trends line up on the terrace, here’s a bit of background on our man Alex.

Prior to his time as a judge on Fintech Love Island, Alex found gainful employment in a variety of contexts, including a donkey sanctuary and the insurance events industry. Most recently, at buzzvault, he’s been helping to right the wrongs of home and contents insurance, one household at a time.

Today he’s calling on all this experience to judge our 10 assembled Fintech Trends – based on, among other things, scalability, maturity, hypetoreality and customer impact. Let the judging begin!

#1 AI: Hottie

Financial services have become somewhat of a home away from home for AI and machine learning. With massive volumes of customer, market and risk data needing to be processed daily – upon which billiondollar decisions depend – it’s like Christmas came early for algorithms.

Take insurance for example: thanks to AI, underwriters can draw in real time from as many data sources as they care to, getting closer than ever before to the “real” price of risk, and even see accidents before they happen.

AI isn’t just being talked about in financial services, it’s actually happening – and I think we’ll all agree that that’s pretty hot.

#2 Gamification: Hottie

As our attention spans get shorter and shorter, we can’t just expect people to process raw information. Whatever we wish to convey must be cooked into some kind of game.

As a result of this, personal finance has got so fun that I can think of little else. Investment apps like Moneybox have made putting away the pennies as fun for adults as gathering bananas was erstwhile for Donkey Kong.

On the insurance side, a host of wearables and black boxes (and often just mobile apps plain and simple) promise to make pretty much every aspect of locomotion and nonlocomotion a game too, from sitting and reclining to jogging and driving.

If there’s a free coffee in it – or even a rebate on petrol – then it’s definitely worth doing.

#3 Mobile Wallet: Nottie

Leading the way on mobile wallets is India, where the market is set to grow by over 150% in the next 5 years, with transactions totalling $4.4 billion.

Adoption in the US and UK lags however. In a survey of 706 financial institutions run by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston at the start of this year, 80% reckoned industrywide adoption was 3 to 5 years away.

Close but no cigar.

#4 Blockchain: Hottie

Off its native terrain underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the Blockchain has for some while been a bit of an Ugly Duckling. Endless talk about its applications left, right and centre, but scant action to talk of.

2018 may go down as a bit of a breakthrough year, then. Blockchain is not the full Swan yet by any means, but it’s got plenty of white feathers.

It’s making strides in Proptech, for example – next time your fourth cousin five times removed asserts ownership over your house, she’ll have to contend with a digital ledger that is not only immutable but distributed too.

Now let’s take commerciallines insurance. Carriers XL Catlin and MS Amlin, global shipping giant Maersk, EY and tech firm Guardtime recently banded together and launched an actual working prototype for blockchain in marine insurance.

And, last but not least, we have the personal lines. We are launching buzzvault this October so that you can secure your household possessions on the blockchain – so there never needs to be any debate, ever again, about what’s covered, what you’re claiming on and what it’s all worth.

If you want to see how we’re changing the rules of the game in contents xinsurance, why not try out our beta here?

#5 Roboadvisory: Nottie

Until recently, roboadvisory was all the rage, with a clutch of new entrants seeking to disrupt wealth management, including Nutmeg (2011), Moneyfarm (2011) and Wealthify (2014).

However, adoption appears to have hit a temporary ceiling, with recent growth in assetsundermanagement due more to the uptick of the stock market and consolidation of existing accounts than to new customers.

Until we see more sustained massmarket adoption, we feel this is a trend it’s best to wait on.

#6 Chatbot: Nottie

I have tried, on many separate occasions, to have meaningful interactions with chatbots. And the problem isn’t with them – they are often surprisingly astute, endowed with an almost maternal intuition – the problem is with me. I just can’t prevent myself from plying them with nonsense, inanities and filth.

I’m clearly not alone. If Microsoft’s Tay is anything to go by, plenty of other people have had even less wholesome relationships with chatbots than I have. Designed to learn from what Twitter users tweeted at her, Tay fast became a raving, genocidal maniac that Microsoft was forced to shut down.

Every serious company and its auntie now has a chatbot. But research shows: large sections of your customer base actively dislike them.

Despite all this, chatbots are definitely here to stay, and they will definitely get better. But are they hot? Not since the lovely ELIZA in the summer of ’66.

#7 API: Hottie

Application Programming Interface. OK, this one is admittedly quite broad, with the “API economy” disrupting pretty much every sector, from public transport and windfarms to telecoms and shopping malls.

From a Fintech perspective, what particularly interests us here is the alluringly entitled Open Banking Initiative, whereby banks are to make customer data available via APIs to thirdparty apps and service providers of the customer’s choosing.

This unlocks, among other things, a richer service on comparison sites, personalised offers from retailers and insights on customers’ spending, saving and financial health.

In the past it seemed the banks had the customer around their chubby fingers. Now banks will have to work innovatively with startups to provide added value to their customers. Personal finance just got a damn sight more interesting!

#8 VR: Nottie

There may be a few niches where VR makes sense for Fintech – witness the BioBall game pioneered by Health Insurer Cigna and Microsoft HoloLens as a remote means to gather customers’ vital stats.

Aside from this, VR mainly appears as a bellsandwhistles extension of customer selfservice, as we see with PNB MetLife’s conVRse platform or BNP Paribas’ VR Banking Apps.

This seems pretty impressive … But, in a world where we can interact with brands via our mobiles, and where even having to boot up our laptops is often seen as too inconvenient, can we really expect a mainstream audience to go to the bother of whacking on a VR headset to check their bankaccount details? Probably not.

 

#9 Robotics: Hottie

Out of all our Trends, Robotics is the least sexy by a mile – and he doesn’t make up for this with heart or humour, or even with a good back story.

Yet, with silent and unflappable perseverance, he is working his way through every branch of every department of every sector of financial services. He’s probably at it right now, somewhere in your building …

Take insurance for instance, which has traditionally had high backend costs, representing the bloat of paperwork and manual processes. With Robotic Process Automation (RPA) now viable for large swathes of underwriting, claims and frauddetection work, insurers are gradually moving towards a leaner model: management by exception.

The eyes are drawn all too easily to fancy AIpowered pricing, or even IoT initiatives promising to eliminate claim events before they happen. But with such a high percentage of the typical insurance premium made up of admin costs, a greater costsaving can be passed on to consumers – at least in the near term – by engaging in a bit of RPA.

While our other Trends are too busy being admired by the pundits to notice, we’ve the sneaking suspicion that Robotics could eat everyone’s lunch – a dark horse for the winner’s cheque.

#10 P2P: Nottie

PeerToPeer has made waves as an insurance buzzword. The idea is laudable: replace today’s broken model (insurance by The Man) with something spangly and new (insurance by The Peers).

The thing is, the brokenness of today’s insurance is not necessarily to do with the model of insurance we’re experiencing. And the reinvention we’re talking about already exists under the ageworn, less techhippy moniker: mutuality.

You might instinctively point to Lemonade as a P2P success story – but has Lemonade ever really been P2P?

Within Lemonade’s model, peer groups exist for the dissemination of underwriting profits to different charitable causes but that’s it. In fact, P2P was seen as a sufficiently poor descriptor of what Lemonade does that the company dropped the P2P angle from their marketing way back at the start of 2017.*

Genuine P2P Insurtechs do exist but the going can be tough, with a steep hill to climb in terms of adoption and scalability – as witnessed by the collapse of UKbased P2P Insurtech Guevara in late 2017.

A cool idea – but there’s enough work to be done tinkering with the execution of insurance as we know it without trying to tinker with its essence as well.

*we think Lemonade is a great Insurtech company btw and this is why.

 


 

So, those are our ten Fintech Trends: 5 hotties and 5 notties. Who will be crowned the hottest Fintech couple of 2018?

As our Trends disperse, Alex wipes his brow and notes something down in his clipboard. Judging sure is thirsty work, and it’s time for a cool drink and a game of dominoes in the shade.

Join us later this week for the continuation of Fintech Love Island, where our man Alex will reveal our finalists.

Anyone you’d particularly like to see win? Then tweet us on #fintechloveisland and let us know.

 

About buzzvault

Our mission is simple: helping customers protect the things they love with personalised home & contents insurance. Leveraging our world-first digital asset vault on the blockchain, we make it easy for customers to securely catalogue their possessions from the convenience of their mobiles, giving them cover matched to their needs.

If you’d like to be part of our journey to fix home and contents insurance, please sign up here for buzzvault beta. We’d love to know what you think.

Fintech Love Island – Introducing our Finalists

Welcome back to Fintech Love Island. Earlier this week we flew to sun-caressed Mallorca to check out our 10 Fintech Trends competing to be the hottest of the hot: AI, Gamification, Mobile Wallet, Blockchain, Roboadvisory, Chatbot, API, VR, Robotics and P2P.

Today we are holed up, along with our 10 Fintech Trends, in the lounge of the Fintech Villa, beset with all manner of fans and water-coolers lest the heat further sap our decision-making powers.

Now let’s get one thing straight – all ten of these Fintech Trends are magnificent specimens, as well-toned in heart and spirit as they are in body. However, every dream summer holiday must come to end, and Fintech Love Island is no exception. It’s time to give our avid, zombified viewers exactly what they’ve been waiting for: a winning Fintech Couple.

In our previous post we determined, rigorously and beyond all reasonable doubt, that Mobile Wallet, Roboadvisory, Chatbot, VR and P2P are… not hot. Or at least not as hot as the other Trends. As these five notties are bundled off the premises, we turn to our 5 remaining Trends:

  • AI
  • Gamification
  • Blockchain
  • API
  • Robotics

Surviving acronyms AI and API exchange a furtive look of complicity; robotics remains impassable as ever, as impervious to pressure as he is to joy; and in the background, the whirring of a fan.

The near-silence is broken by the jingle of a mobile phone. Someone forces their way through the thronged camera crews with a handwritten note for the judges.

The producers, it appears, have a strict No Threesome Policy and are insisting that the judging proceed on a couple-by-couple basis. A memo from the Audience Insights Manager is attached as well, pointing out that the gross preponderance of acronyms within Fintech engenders great bewilderment and confusion, and that this could be responsible for the low levels of engagement detected in certain key audience segments.

API has got the shakes all of a sudden and keeps trying to catch AI’s eye – but AI is intent on staring straight forwards and will not be deterred.

Application Programming Interface versus Artificial Intelligence … there could only really be one winner. The heavies are waiting in the wings and, at the nod of the judges, descend on poor API, who, kicking and screaming, vanishes through a side door.

This leaves us with two Fintech Couples: AI & Blockchain on the one hand, and Gamification & Robotics on the other. Let’s size them up:

 


Fintech Trends #1: AI & Blockchain**

AI is no spring chicken – but, after many years of flighty bachelordom (or the AI Winter as those in the know tend to call it), he finally appears ready for something more substantial.

And people having been whispering for a while that 2018 could be Blockchain’s year. We may finally see commercialised use cases outside of cryptocurrencies, where she is undisputed queen.

Fintech Trends #2: Robotics & Gamification**

Robotics is possibly our most promiscuous Trend. Whenever there’s a business process, which, ahem, needs improving, you can count on him being somewhere close by, sniffing around with that robot nose of his.

As for Gamification, well, the name says it all really. Whether we’re talking gameplay, challenges, targets or continuous mobile engagement, consumers can’t get enough of her in 2018.

 

** We would like to add that the construction of our Trends as heterosexual couples is for parodistic purposes only, rather than as a statement of gender norms. At buzzvault, we have a firm commitment to inclusion irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.


Our two Fintech Couples will now leave the Fintech Villa to spend the weekend in their respective Fintech Chalets.

The chalet concept was something we came up with as a means of giving our Trends a more peaceful, secluded environment where they can get to know each other a bit better whilst remaining under uninterrupted 24-hour CCTV surveillance.

So, AI & Blockchain rise from their sofa and, hand-in-hand, walk down the steps of the Fintech Villa, at the bottom of which a tastefully upholstered limo awaits them. Their chalet sits on the magnificent Playa del Cangrejo Enajenado on the south coast, where under the full moon turtles crawl onto the shore for their once-yearly breeding.

As AI & Blockchain are whisked away to their private beach, Robotics & Gamification are heading to the helipad round the back of the Fintech Villa. Their chalet is in the hills, up on the East face of the picturesque Montaña del Gran Armiño. Awaiting them once they arrive is a selection of locally – and sustainably – sourced tapas.

In our two follow-up posts, we’ll check in on each of our Fintech Couples to see how they’re getting on. As with any relationship, what we’re looking for is a complementary fulfilment of needs – our winning couple must be greater than the sum of its parts.

Join us next week then, where – first up – we’ll be catching up with Robotics & Gamification. Fintech power couple or match made in hell? There’s only one way to find out …

Forwards to next post: let’s see how Robotics and Gamification are getting on …

About buzzvault

Our mission is simple: helping customers protect the things they love with personalised home & contents insurance. Leveraging our world-first digital asset vault on the blockchain, we make it easy for customers to securely catalogue their possessions from the convenience of their mobiles, giving them cover matched to their needs.

If you’d like to be part of our journey to fix home and contents insurance, please sign up here for buzzvault beta. We’d love to know what you think.