1. Could you tell us a bit about Pineapple?
Pineapple is an InsurTech that allows immediate distribution of insurance cover digitally. It eliminates lengthy sales calls as well as the excessive loadings to premiums to fund call centres. The user simply snaps to insure. You can also access any unused premium, in cash.
Part of Pineapple’s successful business model has been Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. AWS solutions such as AWS EC2 has allowed us to keep various versions of our app by allowing us to rent virtual computers on which to run our own computer applications. AWS has also allowed us to manage high load requests. Additionally, AWS solutions like AWS Lambda lets us run code without provisioning or managing servers. We pay only for the compute time that we consume – there is no charge when our code is not running. This cost saving element allows our unique business model to be more successful.
2. What is your role in the company?
I am one of the three founding members. With the agility and pace progress of a startup we all do what is best for the company and the Pineapple Community on any given day, whether this be sales, operations, strategy, innovation – keeping our product fresh and our customers happy is the role of all of us.
3. When, how and why did you start Pineapple?
We started Pineapple to solve the issues of a stale industry whereby the process of getting or dealing with your insurer is burdensome. The actual business model is designed not with the best interest of the consumer at heart and consumer understanding of the products was failing. We wanted to turn this around with an entirely new business model which still provides comprehensive insurance, but so much more as well.
We took these insights into consideration when we developed the Pineapple platform. Our API was initially on self-hosted infrastructure with no defined deployment strategy and we weren’t able to keep track of releases/versioning. Since switching to AWS EC2, we’ve been able to add that facility of tracking app versions with our code repositories. EC2 has also allowed us to do add load-balancing to our API service, enabling us to deal with high load requests, as at the same time keep our customer experience smooth and enjoyable.
Our databases are also hosted on EC2 and backups are automated to save to S3 per interval. EBS Volume backups are also automated. We use CloudWatch to monitor the state of our instances.
4. How does Pineapple work?
· You download our app.
· You snap a pic of items you want to insure to get a quote.
· You can insure and get immediate cover.
· The premiums you pay go into your Pineapple wallet.
· Your wallet helps pay for claims of the community, admin and reinsurance and you see this in real time.
· All leftover premium in your wallet is yours to withdraw in cash, every single year, regardless of whether you claim or not.
· All our policies are month-to-month and you can cancel at just the tap of a button.
· A key part of Pineapple is the saving of images and voice notes as supporting media for policies + claims. We created a Content Delivery Network using S3 and put them on edge distribution using CloudFront.
· View how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH0h5Tifbxo
5. There’s been a shift in customer behaviour and market trends have altered the traditional finance model as we know. Could you tell us some of the changes that you have seen over the years?
Consumers of financial services have become increasingly more discerning with their needs, as well as with their spend. The days of the giant institutions dictating fees are dissipating as financial inclusion and affordability become the highest priority. That coupled with the immediate access to services through tech is fundamentally changing how products such as insurance are being consumed. Consumers want to know they are being charged fairly and that they can contact you instantly. InsurTech addresses these shifts in behavior.
6. The concept of cloud computing in insurance seems to be quite a hot topic at the moment. How will the cloud transform the way we do insurance?
Cloud hosting is a tool that allows companies to be nimble and move quicker and if combined with a drive to proactively change the way we do insurance then it is a great resource. It has enabled us to offer a reliable and innovative solution to our customers.
7. There are several cloud services available, what cloud service provider does Pineapple use and why?
We predominately use AWS. This is due to the amazing support they offer startups as well as the maturity and selection of services they offer. AWS has significantly more functionality than any other cloud provider by a large amount. They have more than 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and more.
8. When and how did you decide that it was time to take the business to the cloud?
From Day 1, it was not even a debate.
9. What are the pros and cons of using cloud?
There are only pros no cons. It is cheaper, more reliable and more secure as well as more modern than trying to host your own servers.
10. Would you encourage other insurance companies to take their business to the cloud? Why?
Yes – hosting is not an insurance company’s core competency. Employing teams of people to manage IT infrastructure yourself will never yield the results or have the cost benefit that the likes of AWS can achieve.
11. What advice can you offer other companies wanting to take their business to the cloud?
Do it now. AWS has been a pioneer in this space – with 10 years in the business and millions of active customers all over the world running every imaginable use case.
12. In your opinion, what is the future of insuretech?
When people were still using a horse and cart, what would Henry Ford have said is the future of cars?