#Asia #Japan 118: This Japanese Startup Is Using Your Phone to Make Insurance Social

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The insurance industry has proven very resistant to innovation. In fact, it has not really changed much in the past 200 years. The way insurance is sold and managed has changed, of course, but from the point of view of the consumer, things remain surpassingly like they were a century ago.

Today we talk with someone who is changing that. Kazuya “Kazy” Hata is CEO of JustInCase, a new breed of Japanese insurance company that offers insurance over the smartphone and then monitors how you use your phone, your lifestyle, and your social connections to determine what your premium should be.

We also talk about the next logical step for smart-phone-based insurance. Being able to ensure specific activities or possessions at will, maybe just for a few hours or while you are on a trip.

It’s a great conversation, and I think you will really enjoy it.

Show Notes

Who actually buys long-term cell phone insurance
What behavior might make you a “risky” smartphone user
Why there are so few life sciences startups in Japan
The future of insurance on demand
Why P2P insurance presents a unique market opportunity
Why it is so hard for insurance companies to innovate
How Japan’s FSA is working to encourage insurance innovation

Links from the Founder

Everything you wanted to know about JustInCase
Kazy’s blog (Japanese)
Follow Kazy on Twitter @KazyHata
Friend him on Facebook
Genome Link Online Hackathon

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Transcript
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

You know, the insurance industry is really resistant to innovation. The modern insurance industry was largely developed in the 17th and 18th century and it’s not changed a whole lot since then. Oh, the tools have changed: insurance is sold very differently today, risks are better understood and better quantified, better measured, and the emergence of the global reinsurance market has made the system far more stable, but the way insurance works from your point of view, from the way you and I see it, things have changed very little over the past hundred years.

Most of the change in the industry is driven by regulatory changes rather than entrepreneurial innovation, and for insurance, I’ve got to say, I’m pretty much okay with that. Insurance firms need to remain solvent for decades and theoretically forever, and the fail fast, fail forward philosophy doesn’t really work when it comes time to pay out life insurance or after a natural disaster, and yet, there needs to be a way to innovate and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Kazuya Hata or “Kazy” as his friends call him is the founder and CEO of JustInCase. JustInCase offers insurance over the smartphone and the first product they’re insuring is your smartphone itself. JustInCase then uses artificial intelligence to analyze your usage profile and your social connections to determine the premium you should be paying.

We also talk about the next logical step for a smartphone-based insurance, being able to enter specific activities or possessions at will, maybe just for a few hours or while you’re on a trip. The cellphone interface and the personal rich data which we continuously share about ourselves online, whether we know it or not allows companies to build up a personalized risk profile and both offer customized and flexible products and replace the number of fraudulent claims.

But you know, Kazi tells this story much better than I can so let’s get right to the interview.

[Interview]

I’m sitting here with Kazy Hata of JustInCase who offers not only insurance on your cellphone but actually sells insurance on the cellphone. Does that make sense?

Kazuya: That’s actually right, yes.

Tim: Well, thanks for sitting down with me. Okay, let’s talk about your product. You’re offering basic cellphone repair insurance for 200 Yen a month,

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