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Uber – New Opportunity or Just an Algorithm?

Uber logo on data background

The Gig economy is starting to see large companies become mature, these are led by Uber and the likes of AirBnB. Recently CNBC provided some great insight to what it is like to work in this new gig economy.

This shows the many ways people work in this new GiG economy, the ability that people can plug in and plug out of work, and make additional income from this and other jobs and platforms. How it fits with older people who often, despite the law, face discrimination etc.

This is also true for Uber and AirBnB – they can’t afford to focus on ONE business only, they want and need income from other areas. Uber has Uber Eats and AirBnB has their Experiences. These are other income areas for these companies and, just like their associates and drivers, they need to diversify. They need income from more than one good idea – to be more like Amazon and such companies, income from a range of products and services, to build an ecosystem. They are no different from the people who work with them via their Apps.

This is a message to us all – it seems that people, like companies, need to be diverse to be successful. To build an ecosystem of work and income. In todays economy companies and people need to be more alike.

Lifting a story from CNBC… Lama, a driver, uses three phones splayed across his dashboard (one for each app — Lyft, Uber and Juno.) “With Uber alone, you can’t make enough,” Lama said. He laughs at the fact that he’s considered an independent contractor….”The algorithm is our boss,” Lama said. “That’s the main guy.”

In the fourth quarter of 2018, Uber reports that 50 percent of its first-time Uber Eats customers were new Uber network users and that users of both Uber Eats and the rideshare app were more loyal than the average customer. The company also believes that less profitable partnerships with larger chains helps grow Uber’s audience, while giving drivers an opportunity for more work and compensation through Uber Eats. It’s all in the company algorithm.

What does this all mean for me and microinsurance or gig economy insurance? Well it means that it is no good having a monoline business focused on one area. To be a success and to leverage all your skills, leverage all the investments you have made, you need to be a multi-line company.

Here at MIC Global we are developing skills in several areas of insurance, sharing and gig economy, property loss, agriculture, weather and finance. We are using our skills in tech to manage these areas.

We have huge experience, for example, in motor claims. These are high volume low value claims and we are starting to implement Computer Vision to settle the insurance claim. Working with our clients we are developing photo image recognition Artificial Intelligence (AI) to process thousands of images in minutes rather than days.

The ability to use Computer Vision will be a core skill that we can leverage across all our insurance areas, the ability to automate a claim from AirBnB or Uber in the future will allow them to have the policies that they want at a cost the drivers can afford for example.

These custom built algorithms are at the centre of our tech and drive forward our ability to process high volume claims that are at the core of the gig and sharing economy.