Council Foundation Logo Leaders Edge

October 19, 2017

It’s been an exhilarating past few weeks between attending InsureTech Connect (ITC) in Las Vegas and the Insurance Leadership Forum (ILF) in Colorado Springs. ITC attendance was 3,700 ranging from insurtechs, investors, industry analysts, insurers, brokers and regulators, and ILF saw approximately 1,100 brokers, insurers and industry partners.

Collectively the two conferences brought together thousands where the energy and dialogue were full throttle with an eye to the future. Here’s what we heard…

Collaboration is in, disruption is out. Partnership opportunities abound. 

When insurtechs first entered the market their aim was to disrupt, displace and replace aspects of the value chain. Today that is no longer the primary goal. From investors, insurtechs, industry analysts, insurers, brokers and regulators, the word of the day is partnership.

Through collaboration and partnership, these various stakeholders can ultimately lead innovation in a changing environment by helping each other understand the complexities of the market from their unique viewpoints, while working together to create solutions.

Shift in talent.

There is chatter about the new wave of talent needed to survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. This sentiment is heard increasingly across the insurance ecosystem.

Suggestions and predictions include a shift from actuaries to data scientists, hiring from Silicon Valley and other technology hubs, to designing a hiring strategy that recruits digital natives. This also requires a plan on how to move from a traditional to innovative culture to support their growth and retention.

The need for translation.

There is a wide language gap between industry incumbents and insurtechs—between the traditional and non-traditional. In order to create solutions together, there needs to be a common language and/or concerted focus on communication to aid understanding of the other party and work towards mutual goals.

Shaping for the customer.

Much discussion took place on the changing needs of the client and aligning industry innovation accordingly. During ITC, this was not a huge surprise as many (but certainly not all) insurtechs are being built for the individual consumer experience. This trickled over to ILF as well as commercial brokers and insurers brought forth a focus on the consumer, not just the employer.

The risk advisor opportunity.

While most insurtechs have been initially focused on partnering with and supporting insurers, there is a need and thirst for broker collaboration and participation. During ITC, there was little awareness of the broker advisor role from insurtechs which presents immense opportunity for shared education and collaboration. As brokers are closest to the client and offer another distribution channel, opportunities exist on both sides.

Last year ITC attendance was 1,500 and this year 3,700. ILF continues to grow year after year as well. One thing is certain, innovation and growth is happening – whether through technology, consumer engagement and communication, the products designed for clients, underwriting practices, or the way talent is found and retained.

How is your firm preparing for the evolution? 

What We’re Reading

Regulators need education on big data
The regulatory system needs to understand the use of big data, how it benefits consumers and how insurtech is changing the industry, often underpinned by data.

Insurtech firms become MGAs out of frustration
Insurtech startups are great at innovating, but have trouble scaling up. To prevent the mistakes that new companies inevitably make, as well as to gain a greater market presence, insurtech firms increasingly partner with more established companies.

Dubai Land Department to adopt blockchain technology
The Dubai Land Department (DLD) is to become the world’s first government entity to adopt blockchain technology.

InsurTech start-ups remain attracted to P&C: Report
In most parts of the world, the number of insurtech accelerators is increasing. Moreover, about a third of those are in the “Property and Casualty” line of business; with “Multiple Lines” and “Life” accounting for 25 percent each, and “Health” at about 18 percent.

Insurtech announcements last week could affect auto body claims in the future
A partial merger between Octo Telematics and Willis Towers Watson could impact the way collision repairs are handled. Another interesting aspect of the merger is Octo taking over WTW’s data exchange (DriveAbility) as well as the rest of the company’s usage based insurance (UBI) capabilities.

Swiss Re exec talks three stages of insurance AI maturity
Jerry Gupta, SVP of Swiss Re, believes we are the in the second phase of AI implementation – humans beginning IT projects, then letting machines take over. Eventually, he believes we will hit the third phase, where machines will do most of the work – he cites data privacy as one roadblock to this future.

Insurtech CoverWallet Secures $18.5 Million to Expand Small Business Insurance Platform
CoverWallet, a firm that uses analytics and tech to make it easier for small businesses to buy insurance, has just received another round of funding. The company uses analytics to make the purchase of insurance more transparent and simple.