InsureTech Connect 2018: Why Now? For How Long? And Where To?

New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action

Boston, MA (Oct. 2, 2018) – There’s no doubt about it. InsureTech Connect has become the biggest and most influential tech event in the insurance industry. The entire ecosystem of insurance is well represented: insurers, InsurTech startups, incumbent tech companies, venture capitalists, industry associations, consultants – you name it. They are here. The event is a good representation of the InsurTech movement and industry transformation overall. Everyone in attendance is energized and senses that this is an industry in motion. After a long slumber, insurance is transforming big time. The questions are: Why is this happening and why now? How long will this continue? And most importantly, where will it all lead? I’ll tackle these questions one by one, writing this blog on the run in the midst of meetings, receptions, dinners, and the overall hectic pace of the event.

Why is this happening and why now?

One could cite many things that are driving InsurTech. Advances in emerging tech, increased customer demands, competitive pressures, and a new wave of senior executives taking the reins (among other things) are all valid reasons. But I prefer to sum it up into two ideas: digital demand and latent demand. Insurance has been on a digital journey for decades, but now, every company in every industry is pressured to have a comprehensive digital strategy. Simply put, the only way to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a fast-paced world is to become a digital enterprise. The second reason is the latency state. This has been coming for a long time. Many insurers have been strengthening the core, establishing foundational capabilities for mobile, and rethinking the business from the customer perspective. Now that many of them have completed their foundational infrastructure transformations, or expect to complete them in the next couple of years, the industry is really ready to capitalize on the opportunities of the digital connected world.

How long will InsurTech continue?

I am tempted to say forever – although not always the way it is today. The InsurTech movement, in its current form, is likely to continue for at least the next 2-3 years for one simple reason: there is still a lot of money set aside for InsurTech investment. And new funds seem to be announced every day. While it’s true that the big money is going to a small set of leaders, everyone is still keeping an eye open for that next wave of winners. The money, coupled with the impetus to transform, will fuel this movement for quite a while.

Where will this all lead?

I do wish that I had a crystal ball. The possibilities are intriguing. One thing I am certain about is that this industry will look very different in 10 years, perhaps even in 5 years at the rate we are going. I am very optimistic that the industry will not only survive but will thrive, extending into new coverage areas and new services, playing a substantial role in evolving new ecosystems like smart homes/property, connected vehicles, smart healthcare, and more. Early examples include the revolution underway in marine insurance. Who would have guessed? Global shipping titan Maersk is at the center of multiple partnerships that are building solutions based on  IoT, blockchain, and AI which collectively are poised to transform that entire line of business. I expect this story to be played out over and over in every line of business and in many forms.

It sure is an exciting time to be in insurance. I hope that one result will be that the industry attracts the best and the brightest young (and older) minds to participate in the transformation journey. Judging from the ITC2018 crowd, that is already starting to happen.

One last thing. If I could make another wish, I’d wish the event organizers would remove that pesky “e” from InsureTech, and spell it like everyone else.

About the Author

Mark Breading, a Partner at Strategy Meets Action, is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methods and his ability to incorporate InsurTech and emerging tech into business strategies are unparalleled. Mark also leads SMA’s research program, has overseen the publication of over one hundred research reports, and directed custom research projects for insurer and tech clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, emerging technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him rankings as a “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the 10 finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM, where he co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.

He is a frequent speaker at industry events; an InsurTech mentor with the Global Insurance Accelerator; and a frequent contributor of articles to Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, LOMA Resource, and many other industry publications.

About SMA

Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action (SMA) is an advisory services firm offering retainers, research, consulting, events, and innovation offerings to both insurance companies and solution providers. Learn more about SMA at

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)

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