Guest blog by Karan Mehta, Founder of Bluezone
Medicine or tech founder?
Why am I selling insurance instead of treating patients?
To answer this, allow me to share my personal journey.
I pursued clinical medicine for several years with the sole purpose of improving the health of human lives. Yet, I felt dissatisfied because of the number of problems I noticed. Firstly, there is an imbalance in demand and supply of health care resources – too many patients but too few healthcare professionals leading to an overworked workforce. Secondly, the impact that I could have was limited to the patients on the ward or in the surgery. Thirdly, my job was about fine tuning the doses of prescribed medication because of the reactive nature of the healthcare system that treats symptoms instead of taking a proactive approach to treating root causes of illnesses.
This led me to embark on a journey to develop a scalable and proactive solution which may hopefully result in alleviating some of the pressure we’re facing in healthcare systems. I worked at a number of healthcare startups and developed a thesis: understanding the risk of an adverse health event occurring is the first step to improving one’s health. By understanding these risks, we can also better understand the set of behaviours that are mitigating that risk and these behaviours can be communicated to individuals to empower them in making better lifestyle decisions.
This thesis drew me to the insurance industry as (re)insurers are experts at risk estimation through the process of underwriting. Further, the industry is uniquely positioned to improve the health of their customers due to the underlying shared value business model. By de-risking customers, insurers make fewer claims and in principle become more profitable. In the context of life insurance, this means decreasing mortality risk. Hence, the future of the insurance industry will be about being the best at risk estimation and risk mitigation.
While learning about the insurance industry, my Type 2 Diabetic uncle explained the problems he faced when trying to buy life insurance. He was rejected several times, premiums were expensive, the application process was long and cumbersome. Individuals with other chronic illnesses such as heart disease experience similar issues. As the prevalence of chronic illnesses is significantly increasing, this segment of the population needs to be better served.
Hence, Bluezone Insurance was founded. We are a group of doctors, AI and behavioural scientists driven to improve the lives for the chronic disease population through empowering life insurance products. We have taken a first principles approach to developing the most powerful medical underwriting risk engine using sophisticated AI/ML techniques and large medical datasets as part of my PhD research. This will offer customers cheaper and fairer premium prices and a digital and streamlined onboarding process. We will also refer our customers to a health/wellbeing marketplace of lifestyle apps that will help these customers lead healthier lifestyles and de-risk them.
We are at the early stages of a long mission driven journey and Insurtech Gateway is the ideal partner for this stage. They provide credibility to our vision and will accelerate the process of launching our first Type 2 Diabetes life insurance product into the market. We are starting with Type 2 Diabetes and life insurance but we will expand into other chronic diseases and other insurance products.
To answer the question “why am I selling insurance instead of treating patients?” more directly, I would answer “I believe the future of insurance is to take a much more active role in mitigating risk. I hope the path I have chosen will allow me to improve the health of millions of human lives in the most effective way, by understanding adverse health event risks and delivering proactive healthcare.”
A note from the Gateway:
Thank you so much for sharing your story Karan, we love your passion and drive for solving such an important problem. At the Gateway we are always eager to meet founders from non-insurance backgrounds. Experts from outside the industry look at old problems in a fresh light and have the skills to fundamentally change how we assess risk. If you are an outsider with a big idea or have already founded a pre-seed or seed insurtech, we have the experience and the tools to help you launch and scale faster. Check out our incubator and venture fund or get in touch.