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The Giant is Awake?

In early 2018, Rick Huckstep – one of the trend-setters in the InsurTech world – wrote about milestones that he encountered since 2015.  These were early days, and practitioners were simply mirroring Fintech (banking, etc.). However, by the end of 2017, Huckstep noted, “the sleeping giant of insurance has been woken roughly from its slumber.”

Based on presentations at InsurTechTO 2018 last week in Toronto on November 7, there are leaders in the industry, but the majority is still getting started.

This post highlights a few of the experts’ forward-looking comments. Unfortunately, we can’t put every participants in this post.  However, if you would like to see the full faculty in action, we have an offering you will find second only to the in-person event.

Sharon Ludlow: “Are We There Yet?” 

Sharon Ludlow, a Corporate Director, focused her keynote presentation on disruption in the insurance community and asked the question:  “Are we there yet?”

At InsurTechTO, Ludlow provided details on developments and supplied examples and highlighted leaders.

Describing disruption and customer experience, Ludlow posited that the digital disruptors have been growing rapidly, supported by InsurTech suppliers.  At a high level, this looks fragmented.  However, Ludlow noted that the “THE serial disruptor” – Amazon – provides a best-in-class model of disruption that produces results.

Looking to the future, Ludlow highlighted a new supplier, which outlines a next generation of insurance, Black Insurance is a digital insurance company that runs on blockchain.  This is creating a new structure, which will disaggregate insurers and allow distributors to “invest in insurance portfolios with long-term financial profits that so far have been shared among insurance companies and re-insurers.”

Where Insur + Tech Meets a Top 5 Insurer

Cooperators is a strong pillar of the insurance community. For 75 years, the insurer has served farmers and others in rural areas with products that were tailored to the needs.

But that doesn’t mean that products and services will continue without change.  At #ITTO2018, Philippe Lafreniere from Slice and Peter Primdahl from duuo (a new company in the Cooperators’ family), explained how technology could deploy creativity to bring new programs that underpin expert directions.

The first product released by duuo was a ‘homeshare’ product, providing coverage for temporary visitors along the lines of Airbnb, HomeAway, etc.  Traditional insurers generally do not supply coverage for these risks.  However, duuo fits in to meet the need.

At a corporate level, Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators Group Limited, noted that there were gaps that could be filled with an InsurTech, Slice, etc.

Quoted in Insurance Business Canada, Wesseling said,

“Our new business partnership with Slice is the 21st century version of this mindset, it will allow us to meet the underserved insurance needs of Canadians participating in a highly innovative digital economy. Our shared vision of ensuring that everyone can be protected with the most intelligent and customized insurance possible makes this partnership very exciting.”

How well did it work? Philippe Lafreniere from Slice and Peter Primdahl from The Co-operators came together quickly and launched the “homeshare” product in two months. This is a land-speed record in comparison to traditional development of new covers.

Changing Models to Align Business and IT

Mike Fitzgerald from Celent brings insight tightly bound with common sense.  And this was demonstrated in spades.

Celent was seeking the current state of digital operations.  Questionnaires were targeted at two sources:  1)  Insurance buyers. and 2) Insurance sellers.

The results were ordered from most important to less important.  For the most part, there were few differences between the two camps.

With one big difference:

Insurance Buyers (Most to Least Important)

  1. Knowledgeable Sales People
  2. Quick and Easy checkout
  3. Product Comparison Tools
  4. Seamless channel transitions
  5. Mobile Apps
  6. Product Recommendations
Insurance Executives (Most to Least Important)

  1. Mobile Apps
  2. Quick and Easy checkout
  3. Product Comparison Tools
  4. Product Recommendations
  5. Seamless channel transitions
  6. Knowledgeable Sales People

The insurance buyers put “Knowledgeable Sales People” in the highest level with “Mobile Apps” second to last

For insurer executives, “Mobile App” was seen as most important with “Knowledgeable Sales People” as least importance.

If we still follow the wise words of wisdom:  “The customer is always right”, the insurance sellers should take a step back.

This is just scratching the surface… 

We had an excellent faculty and an inquiring audience.  If you weren’t able to attend, or if you did attend, but wanted a permanent archive, Insurance-Canada is editing all of the content as we speak.

You can order the video here and now.

REGISTER NOW for on-demand video access to InsurTechTO 2018!

And this end is just the beginning …

Having participated last year and this year, I am getting a sense that InsurTech will overturn many limitations that exist in the insurance industry.  Cooperators’ duuo is a great example.

In addition, we may see disruption in the existing insurance ecosystem. Clearly, Black insurance has a map with red Xs on out-of-date, redundant organizations.

And most significantly, we’d be interested in your thoughts.

Indeed, Mr Huckstep, the giant is awake in Canada.