Regulations and capital requirements are preventing entrepreneurs from attacking the insurance industry. The Economist argues that peer-to-peer insurance models might be the best approach to disrupt this industry.
Insurance is tricky to break into, for two reasons. The most important is regulation. Health insurance—or its American version, at least—may be the most heavily regulated industry in the world. Before a company can even offer a policy, it must have multiple approvals from state and often city agencies and then negotiate agreements with local hospitals. Running the gauntlet of these regulations is a costly and time-consuming process. A company that set up shop today could not issue any policies before 2018 at the very earliest, says Mario Schlosser, chief executive of Oscar, a company founded in 2012 to provide health insurance to individuals online. It has attracted attention not least because it has managed to secure all the necessary paperwork.