Collaboration is key. It is undeniable that a start-up can bring new and intuitive ways of thinking to an established insurer – but an insurer’s influence over a start-up is just as significant. An insurer has a brand profile and customer base and a start-up have the technological know-how and agility. The union can be quite potent. I view all the start-ups I have ever worked with as opportunities and not as competition because an insurer and a start-up’s aims are the same. The customer experience comes first.
Unsurprisingly Covid-19 has created shockwaves throughout the start-up world. Recent experience has taught me that start-ups are increasingly fearful that their corporate sponsors will no longer have time for them due to corporate ambitions shifting or worse, that funding has disappeared entirely. However, in my view, nothing has or needs to change. At the very least, video conferencing and sophisticated file sharing have allowed both sides of the fence, insurer, and start-up, to speak with even greater regularity than before. We can still indulge in the same level of sophisticated ideation at a fraction of the time and financial cost – not to mention the reduction in carbon footprint. There will be no one date that marks the return to normality, so we all need to maintain our commitment to innovation and the start-up world with continued vigor.
I would therefore implore the insurance industry, as well as all other industries, to continue to exploit the technology at our fingertips and find new ways of meaningfully engaging with start-ups who produce the blend of digital products and services that allow us to stay relevant to our end customers. The need for risk mitigation facilitated by insurance products hasn’t disappeared so we need start-ups to continue to help in enabling new opportunities to create different experiences that simply weren’t possible before. Therefore, even though a crisis, bringing together innovative start-ups and insurers to share ideas should remain of paramount importance. Such collaboration will only help influence the future of insurtech for the better.
As the demand for engaging products and services in insurance, especially for large insurance companies with a global reach, continues - a word of caution. The benefits of an idea or technology must be fully understood first and applied in the right way. There are a vast number of start-ups that exist to provide alternatives to the technology components typically provided by large corporate suppliers and can be integral to supporting innovative offerings by insurers. However, insurtech start-ups are not the future in isolation. They create opportunities to deliver new services and products to customers and drive internal efficiencies, but organizations must be alive to the fact that they must embrace change and move at pace - sometimes disrupting from the inside. It can be a challenging but ultimately rewarding journey.