InsureTech Connect 2020: Where Do We Go From Here?
InsureTech Connect wrapped up last week. The format was different, the meetings were virtual, it wasn't Vegas, but the message was crystal clear:
InsurTech is moving to the next phase and you need to be paying attention.
Over the next couple of months, please join me as I dive a little deeper into some of the outcomes from ITC 2020 this year, including a focus around partnerships, the global InsurTech ecosystem and technology.
The Early Days - 2016
I have been writing about InsurTech ever since the inception of InsureTech Connect. 2016 was special. A watershed moment. I, along with everybody else in attendance, saw and embraced the rhetoric - an Insurance innovation tsunami was coming. The raw energy and excitement about where insurance was going, the people, the camaraderie, the passion - this was a collective group, dedicated to looking at insurance through a very different lens - one driven by technology and one firmly focused on the customer. In those early days, it felt like we were part of something special, that together we were going to change the industry.
The mantra in the couple of years to follow was all about collaboration. InsurTechs need incumbents and incumbents need InsurTechs. It quickly became apparent that one could not exist without the other. Innovation labs started to pop up across the incumbent ecosystem and the InsurTech bread-and-butter techniques like customer journey mapping and design thinking started to permeate discussions at the incumbent c-suite level. This was a technology & customer driven movement - one that would use digital thinking, smart data and intelligent, digital workflows to re-imagine the insurance experience.
Fast forward to 2020 and the conversation is shifting gears once again.
The rhetoric around collaboration and partnerships has not changed, but where and how InsurTechs are partnering is changing and rapidly.
Risk Genius, a pioneer in insurance document intelligence software, and Bold Penguin, a rapidly growing commercial insurance technology provider, announced their partnership to the world on October 6th. The acquisition will add RiskGenius's data and analytics products, as well as the team, to Bold Penguin's existing SaaS platform.
This will be the first of many I2I (InsurTech 2 InsurTech) partnerships to come in 2021.
When you stop and think about it, the InsurTech ecosystem is perfectly placed for partnerships. Built from the ground up with cutting edge technology and open-architecture, InsurTechs can quickly experiment, test and pivot within an ecosystem that is primarily driven by an open API framework. For incumbents, who are typically mired with technical debt, legacy & friction heavy workflows, there is an urgent need to get on the digital train.
Customer expectations are continuing to shift and the traditional insurance experience is still sadly lacking.
InsurTech has always been a global phenomenon, but ITC raised the bar this year with the ITC World Tour. 35 stops. InsurTech Africa, InsurTech Israel, InsurTech LatAm, InsurTech Dubai, India InsurTech and InsurTech Australia were all part of othe ITC digital journey. The InsurTech conversation is truly global and the walls are coming down.
InsurTech investment is continuing at a blistering pace. NewFront Insurance recently announced a Series C raise of $100M, bringing their valuation to $500mn.
This is an exciting and constantly fascinating industry to be in and there is not better time than now to be part of it. At the recent InsurTech NY event, I made the comment that everybody needs to work at an InsurTech at least once in their life. Why? Because this is a journey that you do not want to miss.
I have worked in many other verticals before this, Major League Baseball, banking, retail, healthcare, publishing. The messaging has always been consistent: know your customer. Somewhere along the way insurance was left out of this conversation.
InsurTech was born out of a need that places the customer and their needs front and center and the clock is ticking for companies who are not part of this innovation & digital revolution.
The good news is, you do not need to go it alone. Partnerships are key to success and at Care Bridge International, we are taking a customer and digital first approach to the insurance experience.
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