Millennials and the Future of Insurance

| September 18, 2017

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In the next seven to 10 years, more and more institutional knowledge will be lost from the insurance industry as much of its old guard turns its attention to other life interests. Whether it's a producer passing his agency on to a successor or a carrier executive or risk manager finally seeking retirement, many longtime professionals in this business will soon make way for a new generation of leaders. Yet recruitment efforts to attract and cultivate young talent have not kept pace with the number of top people in the insurance industry who will be making their exits within the next decade.

Spotlight

Capital Float

Capital Float is the pioneer of digital lending in India. The company leverages technology and big data analytics to deliver innovative credit products to businesses and individuals across the country. Through its proprietary digital loan underwriting and origination expertise, it has been able to deliver financing solutions to vast sections of the economy traditionally underserved by large financial institutions. It has developed partnerships to finance SMEs across various ecosystems such as e-commerce, manufacturing supply chains, retail, travel and hospitality, and digital remittances. Capital Float has also partnered with over 250 companies to offer finance to consumers availing products and services in segments such as education, vocational training, wellness, elective healthcare, home furnishings, electrical equipment, lifestyle, travel, fitness and consumer durables.

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NFTs - A hype or a Lasting New Investment Asset Class?

Article | August 18, 2021

NFTs are at the moment a real buzz. The word NFT stands for non-fungible token, which means a unique, irreplaceable cryptographic object. It aims to manage ownership of digital content (digital collectible items) by storing the ownership in the form of a digital certificate on a blockchain (usually on the Ethereum blockchain, but other blockchains can also be used). This way the buyer can prove that he is the owner of a certain digital item. The fact that the NFT token is unique and irreplaceable, generates traceability of the owner, but also ensures authenticity and (digital) scarcity, thus resulting in its value (via its uniqueness it becomes a collectible item). This makes it an attractive asset for both buyers and sellers. For sellers, creating (= minting) an NFT gives an easy option to monetize (without intermediaries like galleries or auction houses) their digital content (products), like digital pictures, animations, music, videos…. Additionally NFTs have the feature that the author can also get a percentage of future transaction amounts (thus profiting of a future increase in value of the NFT). The buyer can invest in digital art and can be sure of the uniqueness and his ownership (i.e. the bragging right that you own the art) and the ownership can easily be transferred to any other buyer in the world (becoming the new owner) with the click of a button. NFTs started in 2017 with CryptoKitties (a game to breed and trade digital kittens) and CryptoPunks and gradually increased over the last years, but it exploded in 2021 (i.e. in 2020 the market was estimated to $250 million over the whole year, while in the month of February 2021 alone already $360 million of NFTs were traded), with some record transactions, like: The record is held by the digital composite called "EVERYDAYS: The First 5000 Days" of the digital artist "Beeple" (Mike Winklemann), which was sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Of the same artist also a video was sold for $6.6 million. Christie’s auctioned recently also an NFT of 9 virtual rare CryptoPunks for a record amount of $16.9 million The first tweet on Twitter of the co-founder and CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey was sold for just under $3 million The Canadian singer-songwriter Grimes (also known as the partner of Elon Musk) sold for around $6 million of digital artworks, including an NFT of about $400.000 for a 50-second video. NBA’s Top Shot has generated more than $230 million in selling NFTs of NBA highlight videos, with a top transaction for a movie of Lebron James dunking, which was bought for over $200.000. These NFTs have become the digital equivalent of the paper sports collection cards. While those transactions get the news headlines for their record amounts, thousands of NFTs are also sold for a few thousand euros. E.g. a selfie of Lindsey Lohan was sold for $59.000, Bad Luck Brian yearbook photo for $36.000 or the "Charlie bit my finger!" YouTube clip was sold for $761.000, not to mention the thousands of transactions that do not get any media attention at all. These enormous prices definitely attract a lot of media attention and investors, but nonetheless NFTs remain difficult to grasp. While for traditional art, the owner has the physical artwork in his possession, this is not the case at all for NFTs. For example, the NFT for the Beeple picture sold for the record amount can perfectly be downloaded on the internet at no cost. This downloaded file will be identical to the digital file owned by the buyer (i.e. the copy is literally as good as the original). Obviously, this is a new technology which raises a lot of questions and issues, e.g. What do you actually own? The NFT is just a digital certificate on a blockchain. The blockchain does not even contain the digital artwork, but just a link to a location where the digital artwork is stored. This raises automatically questions like: What is the legal ground of an NFT? Can you claim the ownership in court, i.e. will the courts consider the blockchain as sufficient proof of ownership? Will the judge even understand it? Will it have the same legal basis in any country in the world? Can I win at court if someone exploits commercially the digital content owned by me? What happens if the link to which the NFT refers is no longer available? Does the NFT lose its value? Can the link be adapted? What is the exact digital asset I am owning? On the blockchain a hash of the digital asset, together with some ownership info, is stored. However if someone changes 1 (invisible) pixel to a digital artwork, the hash will no longer match. Do I also have the ownership of this new (nearly equivalent) digital artwork? How transparent and well-defined are the properties of ownership? E.g. do you also buy the copyright and reproduction rights? Are you allowed to ask royalties if the digital item is downloaded/published? Are you allowed to ask BigTechs (like Facebook or Google) to remove all copies they store of your digital asset? NFTs are typically sold via intermediate platform (like OpenSea, Rarible, Superrare, Foundation, AtomicHub, Nifty Gateway, KnownOrigin…), managing the contact with the artist, setting up the NFT, managing the transactions on the Blockchain and also storing the digital artwork in the cloud (i.e. location to which NFT refers). This raises a number of questions about the trustworthiness of those platforms: Will they ensure the link to the artwork remains available (i.e. not lost or broken)? Even if they go bankrupt? More and more decentral IPFS network or blockchain based storage is used to mitigate this risk. Does the platform ensure an artist does not create multiple NFTs of the same (or slightly changed) digital asset? Do they ensure that the NFS is minted by the real artist (creator) of the content and not by an imposter? Which procedures do they have in place for verifying that? Even though the decentralized nature of the underlying blockchain ensures trust, buyers and sellers still need to trust the platforms facilitating these NFT transactions. This is for me a general issue of blockchain use cases (cfr. my blog on blockchain "ttps://bankloch.blogspot.com/2020/02/blockchain-beyond-hype.html" - Blockchain - Beyond the hype), i.e. although the blockchain entry can be perfectly trusted, the end-to-end user journey is much more extensive, thus requiring still trust in a central party. How future-proof are the blockchains? With blockchains in full evolution, will the Ethereum blockchain (or other blockchain on which an NFT is held) still be around in 5 years or in 10 years (or not be replaced by a more popular and more modern blockchain)? Will it be possible to keep the decentralized nature of this blockchain while volumes increase enormously? Beginning of June 2021 the Ethereum blocksize (of the full blockchain) was over 800 GB, an increase of more than 100% compared to the year before. This shows that storing the full blockchain (and then we do not even speak about the resources required for mining) has become more and more a specialist job, hence more centralisation and less guarantee that a lot of parties will continue to keep track of the full blockchain. Furthermore it means it becomes less straight forward to prove your NFT ownership, without consulting a specialized party which stores the full blockchain. Is the energy consumption for an NFT sustainable and will it not negatively impact the future success of NFTs?. For example, the energy consumption to create an NFT of a simple animation is equal to using 1.5 million times a pressure cooker. However with blockchains switching more to Proof of Stake-consensus mechanisms this will likely be resolved in the coming years (although Proof of Stake raises naturally other new concerns about centralization and potential manipulation). Are the NFTs currently sold for a lot of money sufficiently time-lasting? This question can be raised for both the digital artworks as for the technology underpinning it: Are the digital artworks not too time-specific, i.e. linked to current, non-lasting hypes? E.g. will YouTube movies which are popular now still be remembered and popular in 5 years? In the traditional art, certain historical artists (like Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso…) have an established reputation/track record, but for this digital art there is of course no historical records to turn to and as a result it is very difficult to predict future trends. NFTs are also more and more used in games, to describe ownership of virtual plots of land or unique weapons or armors. This makes the NFT practically usable, but what is the value in a few years when the game is no longer popular? Is the technology sufficiently robust? Not only is there a risk due to the above-mentioned dependency on blockchains and the platforms for storing the digital asset, but besides that you also have to ensure the file format of the digital content can still be read or ensure you can still access your digital wallet. Due to popularity of the underlying blockchains (like Ethereum), NFTs are confronted with high transaction costs(high gas fees to get your NFT on the blockchain). While this transaction cost is marginal for the above record amount NFTs, it does pose an issue for cheaper NFTs (as transaction cost become too significant compared to the NFT price). The whole process of minting, buying and transferring NFTs is not so user friendly, i.e. you need to onboard on an NFT platform, you have to acquire the right crypto-currency (e.g. if the NFT is on the Ethereum blockchain, you need Ether coins, i.e. Bitcoins won’t be usable) and you have to pay with crypto-currencies, which is still not so user-friendly (i.e. typically via a browser plugin, which might be easy for a computer specialist, but still difficult to setup for the common layman). Clearly the concept of NFTs is great, as there is a need for managing ownership of digital content. With more and more digital content being produced and some artists even only exclusively producing digital content, there is a need for them to make money and NFTs are a good way to do this. However the too strong focus on the underlying (blockchain) technology and the bullish prices, make it still too much a playground for the (mega)-rich, than a common investment asset class. However even if it remains such a playground, it is still interesting to follow. As there are as many as 100,000 people who have $1 million or more stashed in crypto-currencies, there is an enormous audience with the means, interest and risk appetite to try out NFTs. For them, there is the cool factor of trying out something new, the potential of making same profits as with crypto-currencies, the emotional and bragging aspect of owning digital arts (compared with owning parts of the moon or owning a star. This has no legal ground, but is still very romantic and fun) and the Robinhood aspect of pushing governments to change and fighting the traditional art system (cfr. the actions on Robinhood to stop the short-sellers on the share of GameStop). This being said, NFTs are clearly an excellent real-live experiment, where fundamental questions around ownership, value, digitalization and authenticity are being addresses. The question remains however if ownership can be managed outside governments, i.e. as ownership requires laws to protect the owner, it is very difficult to manage this outside a government. Clearly governments should sponsor some kind of register of such digital ownership. This will ensure that there is legal ground and also long-term continuity, as unlikely governments will disappear/go bankrupt. However if done by a government, there is no real need for a blockchain, as you have a central, credible authority, which could perfectly store the ownership (personal details of the owner) and the full digital content (so not just a hash) in a traditional database. While governments are starting now to explore an alternative for crypto-currencies in the form of CBDCs (cfr. my blog "https://bankloch.blogspot.com/2021/05/cbdc-new-kid-on-block.html" - CBDC - The new kid on the block), this will likely happen as well for NFTs. In the meantime, it is good the conservative art world is shaken up by these kinds of innovations.

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Will fintech change everyday lives in Africa and Asia?

Article | March 19, 2020

The modern world is constantly changing, offering more to societies across the globe than before. The recent technological development has proven to be unprecedented and revolutionary, changing the lives of millions in different corners of the world. The financial industry is one of the most affected sectors that is experiencing a major transformation due to a number of different factors. As a result, we now witness a diverse range of services in forms never seen before.

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Investor Insight: Digital Marketing Trends in the Banking Service Industry

Article | August 18, 2021

With the growth of social media and a slew of technological changes, banking has changed the way it functions. Just as online shopping and e-commerce are boosting sales, similarly social media, blogs and the technology for sharing videos are also creating buzz about specific brands and products. Businesses need to adapt and keep up with the changing trends in digital marketing. Digital marketing trends in the banking industry is becoming increasingly important Everybody's digital today. Virtually any bank will have a digital presence from social media to PPC ads across Google and Bing. Most banks believe that their digital marketing spending must be increased and efforts must be across every digital platform to make their advertising more efficient. The number of digital advertising and marketing companies now accounts for more than 50% of their marketing expenditure, compared to 14% of 2017. The similar banking marketing trend has occurred in mobile marketing, which spends less than 40% of its budget but is increasing. Although the importance of digital marketing trends in the banking business demonstrates increased competition, it also makes it harder to distinguish. This means that banks must take uniquely different techniques, showcasing consumers and success stories, bringing value to market offering, and making the most of a highly competitive digital world utilizing non-traditional awareness campaigns instead of normal publicity campaigns. Transition from paid to owned media Paying or buying media is called paid media where investment is made through search, showing ad networks, or in the form of affiliate marketing where one can pay for visits, audience reach or conversions. The big share of paid media spent is still crucial to conventional off-line media such as printing, TV, and direct mail. Owned media is the brand's media. This includes online company websites, blogs, and mobile apps on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Brochures or retail outlets may feature offline-owned media. While neither is new, digital marketers are clearly warming up banks' options for both owned and paid media. Financial institutions may use these sorts of media to organize their media activities and use the media mix according to their marketing plan and budget. Marketing to Gen X and Y As millennials continue to age into their 30s and 40s, banks must adapt to the needs of this increasingly powerful consumer market. As more millennials reach credit age, they must have access to affordable banking products from a wide range of sources. Recent research shows that young adults are three times more likely to engage in a high-cost activity like signing up for bank loans and credit cards than their elders were at the same age. In the last five years, the overall number of bank account applications has increased by 165% -- faster than any other age group, according to a report from ‘The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).’ As the baby boom generation draws closer to retirement, banks have to figure out how to serve this growing generation of consumers. Marketing to millennials is no longer exclusively about offering something free or cheap -- think free travel or goods in exchange for checking out their accounts. Instead, examine how you can develop engagement with millennials as part of your overall banking experience and marketing mix. This includes pairing social media presence with mobile apps that allow millennials to check out different accounts or receive personalized services from banks. Consider a branded experience Fintech is a fast-paced field that allows users to interact with financial providers through apps and websites. The FinTech industry is growing rapidly, with a global reach and diverse competitive landscape. The FinTech culture is evolving rapidly regarding the customer base, service level, and governance factors. Digital transformation affects how organizations deliver services, deliver value and target their campaigns toward potential or current FinTech customers. Leveraging on the FinTech culture makes it possible for organizations to re-imagine their approach to customer service in a way that optimizes both results and cost-efficiency. There’s been an explosion in the world of FinTech. And not just in financial services but also software for everything from e-commerce to real estate. There has been a real shift in how people look at financial products. People want to feel comfortable investing their hard-earned cash in FinTech products -- including cryptocurrencies. It seems like everyone has an account at a financial services company. And they want access to new types of financial products that give them a branded experience. These services are designed to make it easier for ordinary people to get money from the banks, but not so easy that they miss out on exciting opportunities. Invest in personalized ad campaigns Personalization is the big concept behind any digital marketing campaign. It’s about figuring out which audience matches your interests so you can deliver the right product or service at the right time. In other words, personalization is about understanding your customer and discovering what makes them tick. How w0uld you know which customers will respond well to your marketing efforts is simply by understanding their specific needs and then tailoring your message to fulfil those needs. There is a growing shift from basic data science to more sophisticated personalization. Data science is an incredibly powerful way to understand your customer’s preferences, psychographic traits and other data points. Applied in the right way, it can provide a strong push toward providing more relevant content, special offers and better customer service. The challenge is applying that knowledge in a way that totally works for your bank. Integrate Digital Marketing Search Optimisation for banks The difficulty in creating effective digital marketing search strategies lies in the fact that customer expectations have never been higher. With e-commerce on the rise, customers expect to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. As a result, SEO strategies that are once suitable for traditional search engine optimization (SEO) are now impacting organic search results. The problem is that it can be difficult to determine which approach will deliver the best results for your business through digital marketing search engine optimization (SEO). Banks are beginning to pay more attention to digital marketing. They understand that by providing their customers with easy and convenient access to information. They will be more likely to spend money on the products and services said company offers. Digital marketing is not just about getting people to read blog posts or engage with social media pages - if that were the metric, everyone would read everything online! Instead, it’s about getting people who might not otherwise engage with business opportunities, or simply wouldn't know where to start looking for information. Maintain focus on customer experience and commitment The customer experience is the heart and soul of every bank’s digital marketing effort and every bank should strive to provide this level of customer service consistently. The digital marketing trend in the banking industry has taken to transparency and customer-focused messages. Many banks are beginning to understand how marketing messages can best stand on their own feet. With the ever-changing digital landscape, maintaining focus on customer experience is becoming ever more important. For banks and their customers, this means developing a continuous and interactive digital experience that allows them to stay engaged with their valued customers. In addition to branding and marketing campaigns designed to continue growing customer confidence, banks should also continue developing relationships with their fellow business partners through digital tools and social networking. The Take-Away There’s a numbers game attached to online marketing: The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your approach and demonstrate ROI. This is why marketers closely watch industry trends – it helps them to understand their customers better. In fact, according to a recent study by AdRoll, half of the businesses that use customer data to personalize their online ad campaigns have seen CTRs increase by 20%. Banks should be doing the same and looking to integrate data into their campaigns this year. Some Frequently Asked Questions What are the latest trends in digital marketing for banks? AI, augmented reality, voice search optimization, programmatic advertising, chatbots, personalization, automated email marketing, video marketing, Instagram reels, shoppable content, influencer marketing, and geofencing are just a few of the most recent digital marketing trends in the banking industry to watch out for. These new additions in the banking industry paves the way for a revolution in how financial institutes market their services. How do banks use digital marketing? Banks use the following types of digital marketing to gain attention: Explainer videos to make complex financial concepts more understandable. Make your website the primary point of contact for your customers. Set up a YouTube channel to provide information-dense content. Marketing through email Marketing via mobile device How valuable is digital marketing? Digital marketing not only helps in saving money by bringing in customers at a cheaper cost than conventional marketing techniques, but it also assists you in increasing your income. The value of digital marketing can now be evaluated more precisely and the influence it has on your business may have a significant positive impact. How do you advertise banking services? Make use of these five tried-and-true bank marketing strategies to raise awareness, attract customers, and do more: Content marketing: Content marketing is a kind of marketing that uses written content to promote a company's products and services. Develop textual, graphic, and interactive components for your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising Social media marketing Online Reputation management { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the latest trends in digital marketing for banks?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "AI, augmented reality, voice search optimization, programmatic advertising, chatbots, personalization, automated email marketing, video marketing, Instagram reels, shoppable content, influencer marketing, and geofencing are just a few of the most recent digital marketing trends in the banking industry to watch out for. These new additions in the banking industry pave the way for a revolution in how financial institutes market their services." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How do banks use digital marketing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Banks use the following types of digital marketing to gain attention: Explainer videos to make complex financial concepts more understandable. Make your website the primary point of contact for your customers. Set up a YouTube channel to provide information-dense content. Marketing through email Marketing via mobile device" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How valuable is digital marketing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Digital marketing not only helps in saving money by bringing in customers at a cheaper cost than conventional marketing techniques, but it also assists you in increasing your income. The value of digital marketing can now be evaluated more precisely and the influence it has on your business may have a significant positive impact." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How do you advertise banking services?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Make use of these five tried-and-true bank marketing strategies to raise awareness, attract customers, and do more: Content marketing: Content marketing is a kind of marketing that uses written content to promote a company's products and services. Develop textual, graphic, and interactive components for your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising Social media marketing Online Reputation management" } }] }

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4 Fintech Trends to Watch For in 2020

Article | February 26, 2020

The fintech industry is one of the most visibly disruptive sectors since it can dramatically impact everyday consumers as well as the business of all sizes. It’s also potentially a highly regulated sector, with governments and regulators well aware of the need to both protect consumers and businesses, and to provide a fair, competitive environment for industry players.

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Spotlight

Capital Float

Capital Float is the pioneer of digital lending in India. The company leverages technology and big data analytics to deliver innovative credit products to businesses and individuals across the country. Through its proprietary digital loan underwriting and origination expertise, it has been able to deliver financing solutions to vast sections of the economy traditionally underserved by large financial institutions. It has developed partnerships to finance SMEs across various ecosystems such as e-commerce, manufacturing supply chains, retail, travel and hospitality, and digital remittances. Capital Float has also partnered with over 250 companies to offer finance to consumers availing products and services in segments such as education, vocational training, wellness, elective healthcare, home furnishings, electrical equipment, lifestyle, travel, fitness and consumer durables.

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