Not often do great things come out of getting pulled over while driving, but in Jake Diner’s case, it sparked the idea for Elafris, a virtual insurance agent linking insurers and their customers through artificial intelligence (AI).
Elafris was among the 10 startups selected for the first Fintech71 accelerator program in 2017.
The Elafris team have their sights set on Elafris becoming the standard for the majority of insurance customer inquiries and interactions. Diner talks about Elafris, Fintech71, fintech trends and how Ohio is innovating.
Jake Diner, CEO
Title insurance optimization via blockchain
What does Elafris do? Diner: Elafris has developed a virtual insurance agent that links insurers and consumers via messenger applications (Facebook Messenger, SMS, Alexa and others). The unique, AI-driven chatbot technology learns from customer interactions to identify the right insurance coverage, provide convenient payment reminders with credit card processing, and provide guided insurance claims processes via a smartphone or home device.
What is Elafris’s story? How did Elafris come to be? What sparked the idea? Diner: I was pulled over while driving on I-280, and the cop asked for proof of insurance. I happened to have my insurance company’s iPhone app on my phone, so I asked for permission to reach out and grab my phone, and the police officer said, “Sure go ahead.” Once I launched the app, it had to update itself, and then it asked for my username and password. Since I am a unique and strong password kind of a guy, I had to go to another app to find it. Long story short, five minutes later, I was able to show the proof of insurance. As I was driving away with the speeding fine, it got me thinking. While I have been paying my insurance for the last three years, my insurance company has failed to deliver service to my satisfaction. Since I maintain active communication with many people across the globe, I am a very consistent user of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Those two tools seem to be a great fit for almost anything I want to use when communicating with my insurer. This led us to thinking about building an engagement platform to connect insurers and us (policyholders) via chatbots (robots capable of handling most human interactions).
Why is Elafris important? Diner: It helps us (consumers) to get the service we’ve been paying for and for insurers (carriers/agents) to save money while offering more products.
What are Elafris’s goals as a company? Diner: We want to become the standard for virtual insurance agents for all lines of insurance. We aim to train our AI to recognize and be able to handle 80 to 90 percent of all insurance customer-related interactions.
What are the biggest fintech trends? Diner: Explosion of new distribution channels for insurance and the new types of insurance products.
Which of these fintech trends is most likely to impact Elafris? Diner: We welcome and get very excited about trends as they all require incumbent institutions to update their century-old systems and begin adopting new innovations.
How did Elafris hear about Fintech71? Diner: I got an invitation to apply from Sam Biederman.
What appealed to Elafris about Fintech71? Diner: What was appealing to me is the InsurTech focus of this program.
Why did Elafris apply to Fintech71? Diner: Since Elafris is my second InsurTech company, I was looking for help with business development more than anything else.
What is Elafris hoping to get out of Fintech71? Diner: We are looking for business deals, introductions to insurance companies’ innovation groups, and launching a percentage of completions.
Have you been to Ohio before? Diner: Once or twice many years ago.
What was your perception of Ohio before Fintech71? Diner: Sleepy Midwest with two seasons – winter and construction.
What do you like about Ohio thus far? Diner: I am positively surprised about how far the companies we’ve been meeting with have gone in terms of recognizing the need for innovation and change. I was very pleased to see that Columbus and Cincinnati are not what they were in the late nineties.
How does Ohio have a fintech advantage? Diner: The direct access to corporations headquartered in Ohio and to risk capital.
Interested in learning more about fintech, Fintech71 and financial services in Ohio? We invite you to visit our financial services page.
I am positively surprised about how far the companies we’ve been meeting with have gone in terms of recognizing the need for innovation and change.