- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

InsureTech Connect 2021: It’s all about the people

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

Participating in ITC2021 was a blast! It was great to see so many people in person for the first time in a couple of years. But aside from the joy everyone was experiencing in just being together, there was a very serious undercurrent to the event. In fact, as I polled individuals on their impressions of the event, many discussed how the participants came with a mission… a purpose… with intention… and were serious about fulfilling their individual missions by capitalizing on the convergence of so many innovative companies and thought leaders.

If nothing else, ITC2021 demonstrated that innovation is alive and well in insurance, and the transformation of the industry is accelerating. In his keynote, Evan Greenburg from Chubb stressed that all the technology advances do not change the fundamental nature of the insurance business – it is still about “the art and science of taking risk.” I couldn’t agree more, in fact I have made similar statements myself. Looking at the P&C industry, one of the overarching trends is the move to more and more specialization. This translates into a deeper understanding of the risks faced by individual and business customers – not just in the large pool but at a micro-segmentation level as well. The insights and experiences about those risks translate into new products and coverages; enhanced loss control engineering and safety advice; and specialist firms to distribute, underwrite, and service the products. This is not to say that the multi-line, general purpose companies will falter. On the contrary, they are participating in this general trend in each of the segments they serve.

Wait – I was supposed to be talking about the cool technology solutions and the innovations that are changing the industry, right? How did I get off track? As I see it, the amazing advances in technology, the innovative applications of technology by InsurTechs and others, and the ongoing emergence of new startups are actually quite consistent with and supportive of the increasing focus on risk expertise (and the value of insurance professionals). We are not going to automate away the roles of agents, underwriters, adjusters, and others.

There is no question that I was very excited to learn about the evolution and success of many InsurTechs, discover new entrants with interesting propositions, and track the innovations that incumbent players are incorporating into their solutions. They are catalysts for industry transformation. And they do offer great potential to automate tasks and workflows, provide new insights to improve decisioning, and provide opportunities for insurers to create new value propositions for customers. But in the end, this industry is all about the people. Technologies will augment human expertise to improve efficiencies, enable new products, and design better ways to sell and service insurance. But the strengths of the industry have always been its people and its passion for helping individuals and businesses to address the risks inherent in their lives and business operations. That passion was evident in the many serious and purposeful discussions that took place over the three days in Las Vegas.

About The Author

Mark 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 methodologies, fresh ideas, creative conceptualizations, and ability to incorporate InsurTech and transformational tech in business strategies are unparalleled. He also leads SMA’s research program, publishing 25-30 research reports per year and conducting various custom research projects for insurer and vendor clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, transformational technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him a ranking of one of the “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the ten finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM in roles including the Global Insurance Strategist and Director of Global Financial Services Executive Conferences in addition to leadership roles in consulting and marketing. Mark 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.

About SMA, a ReSource Pro company

Strategy Meets Action is an industry-leading strategic advisory firm delivering strategic insights, consulting services, and published research to carriers, solution providers, and InsurTech startups. The firm provides insights and guidance on business strategy, digital transformation, core systems and customer experience. Learn more about SMA at

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)