Home Data Insurance Marketing Tech Platform Kissterra Puts Data In The Driver’s Seat

Insurance Marketing Tech Platform Kissterra Puts Data In The Driver’s Seat

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It is a universal truth that two people in need of car insurance must pay different monthly premiums.

Even though two customers might drive identical cars down to the make, model and year, their personal circumstances differ, says Ifty Kerzner, co-founder and executive director of Kissterra, an insurance marketing tech platform headquartered in Tel Aviv that works with most big US auto insurance carriers.

Unlike companies selling phones or bottled water, for example, which have the luxury of taking a less personalized approach to pricing products, auto insurers need to look at age, marital status, driving record and credit score to calculate a customer’s risk factors and determine premiums.

Yet auto insurance companies usually spend most of their marketing budgets on TV ads, which typically aren’t targeted at specific individuals.

Kissterra, which opened for business in May 2015, initially worked with banks before switching to insurance companies in 2018. After spending six and a half years as a bootstrapped company, the platform raised $76 million in series A funding in July 2021.

“It was one of Israel’s largest round As in history,” Kerzner said. The company generated $100 million in revenue last year.

Don’t just go with your gut

Kissterra’s platform helps auto insurance companies develop personalized marketing strategies and tailored messaging based on data, such as ZIP code, age group, mobile carrier and car types.

“Online, you can create a direct correlation between every cent of your spend and some kind of conversion metric,” Kerzner said. “You can then optimize on that.”

Over a year ago, Kissterra started working with a large auto insurance carrier that felt their digital campaigns didn’t appear to be producing good results on weekends.

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“I stopped them right there,” Kerzner said. “You’re using words like ‘we feel,’ ‘we believe,’ ‘we think,’ in an industry that’s full of data. On the product side, you wouldn’t be willing to use those words. Test your actual data.”

After monitoring the company’s campaigns for a month, Kissterra found that they were actually more profitable on weekends than on weekdays.

Kissterra draws from a centralized data hub that it creates for a client’s organizational data, which blends marketing and distribution data, such as ages and location, with internal data, including risk scoring, product-buying habits, claims and fraud. The result is a holistic view of marketing and performance data.

“Essentially, it’s connecting everything that happens before contact with a potential customer and everything that happens after they become a customer,” Kerzner said.

Tapping into organizational data can make for better TV commercials, too. For instance, by looking at online marketing data, an auto insurance can figure out, for example, what percentage of applicants in the last year have been owners of black vehicles, Kerzner said.

The insurer could then decide to put a black car in an ad “because that speaks to the majority of your audience,” he said. Something as simple as adding a certain color car could significantly increase conversion rates among viewers.

Kissterra handles this type of creative testing by running thousands of different campaigns “with micro changes to identify the optimal result,” Kerzner said. All future tests spring from data generated through early tests.

Living in a digital world

Auto insurers have a vested interest in diving deep into the details when it comes to getting to know their customers and developing messaging that speaks to them.

Deloitte’s 2023 insurance industry outlook report found that insurance carriers are struggling with steep challenges, such as inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical unrest. The report recommends that insurance carriers embrace technology upgrades, experimentation and risk-taking to stay competitive.

In the meantime, many auto insurance companies are passing the costs on to customers. Full-coverage car insurance now costs an average of $2,014 per year nationwide, an increase of close to 14% from 2022 to 2023, according to Bankrate’s annual report.

But although the insurance industry is known for being cautious, conservative and risk averse, it’s investing more in digital marketing to keep up with its customers, who are increasingly willing to buy insurance on digital and mobile platforms.

Historically, customers bought insurance through agents with whom they had a personal connection, but now they’re putting their trust in digital. As that shift continues, it’s time “for the industry to start moving toward bigger and better tools,” Kerzner said, that improve the accuracy of insurers’ pricing and their ability to offer tailored products to customers.

Pedal to the metal

Although Kissterra specializes in auto insurance within the US, the technology is “vertical agnostic,” Kerzner said, and the company hopes to expand into additional insurance industries over the next few years.

Kissterra is in a “period of rapid growth,” Kerzner said.

Currently, Kissterra has about 70 employees, but it plans to close out the year with a headcount of roughly 120.

In February, Kissterra brought on a new CEO, Udi Ziv, the former chief executive of insur-tech company Earnix, who has 30 years of experience building enterprise software for global companies.

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