Insurtech Insights 23: The Top 6 Themes

Last week, James and I attended the Insurtech Insights conference.

From major tech players to startups, a real sense of community and support could be felt across the space, with a readiness to collaborate and share ideas.

In the same spirit, I have gathered 6 key takeaways from the two-day event:

1. There needs to be a bigger focus on the customer … (Shock)

“You need to make the user interface super simple and powerful”, Kumu from Zurich. Simple, yet important. (schedule a chat with James for help with this)

Dame Inga Beale, the Former CEO of Lloyd's of London, had quite a bit to say on this one. Whilst we can all appreciate (and thank) the role of tech in encouraging insurance products to be more customer-centric, in itself, it’s not enough. The sad reality is that “seldom do [insurers] look at insurance from a customers point of view”. Frankly, engagement needs to be more considered, customer needs have to be addressed, and there needs to be a certainty of protection.

2. The climate catastrophe continues to shape insurance

“You can’t have healthy people without a healthy planet”, Glyn from Bupa.

The world has been seeing more severe natural disasters, which has brought to the forefront the pressing need to develop insurance products that can effectively mitigate the risks posed by climate change and close the protection gap, with parametric insurance being a strong player here. To put things into perspective, the Aon annual report reveals that natural disasters caused a $313 billion global economic loss during 2022, of which only $132 billion was covered by insurance. In the same breath, as ESG is coming to the fore, accounting and mitigating emissions are becoming pressing matters for companies and their investors (Hurray), with providers like Kita helping pave the way.

3. ‘Predict and Prevent’

If I got a penny for every time I heard this phrase, I’d probably afford a Freddo (a lot of pennies). It’s clear that as tech becomes more sophisticated, there is increasing integration of risk prevention rather than just coverage into insurance products. Olly from AdvantageGo noted that the future model is not about resolving claims fast, but about using data and prediction to stop them from happening in the first place. As risks not only increase in magnitude (especially those related to the climate) but also in frequency, this evolution couldn't make more sense.

4. Diversity = Innovation

“I was letting the hoodies into the building”, Dame Inga Beale, on the birth of the Lloyds Lab and overcoming the backlash of a relaxed dress code at Lloyds.

In a world of new emerging risks, it’s becoming increasingly important to encourage innovation. New products need to be developed, new ways of thinking need to be embraced and boundaries must be pushed. But in order to do so, we need to embrace diversity in the industry. Kate from RGAX notably mentioned that “innovation fails when there is a lack of diversity”. Yet, only six of the Insurtech 100 have female founders.

5. Data: we’re letting it down

Data is the driving force behind digital transformation. But it seems as though we can never get enough, analyse it thoroughly enough or integrate it seamlessly enough. So, we’re letting it down. Without improving these processes, the industry will be held back by its inability to accurately assess risk and drive value to the customer by making the end product as consumable as possible.

“Insurance loves clean data” Tony, former Chief Underwriting Offer for Allianz.

6. Mental health matters

Mental health has been a topic of discussion in many industries for a while now, and the insurance industry is no exception. Hearing about the ways in which companies like Yulife, ifeel and Togetherall support well-being is truly wonderful. We have already come a long way in de-stigmatising these issues but making sure we navigate the complexities of mental health and work together to support our colleagues and customers should always be a priority.

Overall, the conference was a display of the industry's motivation to drive innovation in a world where evaluating new risks is increasingly demanding, integrating ecosystems is difficult, and societal and regulatory demands put pressure in new places (rightfully so!).

And, a little shout-out to Jim and Tonic, a London-based sustainable distillery that provided us with cups of absolute joy and made the closing panels all the more delightful 🍹

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