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June 23, 2021

Looking to Future of Insurance, Insurtech

Summary:

Here are five priorities for insurance leaders to consider, drawing on insurtech-driven solutions.

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Carriers, regulators and solution providers in the insurance industry continue to seek innovative solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing the industry. Following are five priorities for insurance leaders to consider, in tandem with insurtech-driven solutions:

Priority 1 – Global risk: Even before the pandemic, volatility in global risks stemming from climate change, economic uncertainties, cyber attacks and more were at the forefront of long-term concerns for insurance providers. The pandemic has accelerated those debates, bringing both urgency and added complexity to forecasters and those evaluating the macro and micro impact of those risks.

Insurtech Response: Better understanding of weather volatility from storms, drought/wildfire, etc., has long been a focus in the insurtech sector, with firms such as Hazard Hub, Opterrix and Athenium Analytics, to name a few, giving insurers greater insights for underwriting and claims. Insurtech cyber solutions are really just starting to take root and grow. A great example of new cyber solutions is Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) alum Cowbell Cyber, which is providing AI-driven, customized cyber coverages.

Priority 2 – Diversity, equity and inclusion: The increased focus and awareness around DE&I offers many challenges and opportunities for our industry. From very specific challenges such as the “red-lining” issue facing the mortgage industry and risks of biases in AI applications to macro questions about whom and how we serve, DE&I concerns are just beginning to be explored.

See also: How Insurtech Thrived in the Pandemic

Insurtech Response: While much has been discussed at the industry level about the long-term implications of AI bias, insurtech solutions are just starting to bring new tools to market to assist with not only gaining insights from our data but also helping understand and be on the lookout for unintended consequences based on how we are using that data.

In the nearer term, it is very exciting to see new insurtech solutions providing access and new products to support those who have been underserved by traditional means. For example, Caregiven, an Oregon-based startup and GIA alum, enables providers to offer real-time, curated guidance to individuals and families managing end-of-life care for an aging or ailing loved one.

Priority 3 – Managing expenses: The automation revolution coupled with digital-native upstarts is challenging every carrier to rethink their back-end platforms and processes, staffing and other overhead. Choosing from a long list of solutions to help reduce or mitigate expenses with lofty ROI promises is easier said than done for most carriers.

Insurtech Response: While some carriers are waiting for Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA) and AI to fully prove out their ROI, there is still a lot of activity that promises great returns. The top three approaches are:

  1. The acceptance of chatbots for customer service and sales;
  2. Automation solutions to eliminate some of the repetitive tasks associated with old processes; and
  3. Cost-avoidance solutions to mitigate claims, fraud and legal/medical expenses.

Priority 4 – Growth: The industry as a whole is looking beyond traditional insurance products to add value and attract new customers. Some of these solutions are geared around a better understanding of what policy holders need and strive to make a more engaging customer experience. Others are looking to add coverage for risks historically not covered by traditional policies.

Insurtech Response: There has been a wave of new insurance-backed or insurance-related products that are helping consumers and businesses get the protection they require, often at the exact point in time they need it most. Carriers are starting to provide the paper to managing general agencies (MGAs) or developing their own products for risks such as instant-on travel or experience insurance, insurance-backed warranties for consumer products, home warranties and even specialty coverage for solar panels and other environmentally-friendly products.

See also: Why Open Insurance Is the Future

Priority 5 – Transformation: Just a few years ago, insurtech wasn’t taken seriously by most carriers. Today, more and more are realizing they could be facing “adapt or die” scenarios. The bottom line is carriers that are not becoming more agile and digital-first could soon be extinct.

Insurtech Response: One of the main reasons carriers are hesitant to engage with start-ups is the risk associated with the unknown. Statistically, only one in 10 makes it, and 70% fail within the first five years. Fortunately, more and more carriers are responding by not only investing and nurturing these companies to help them be successful, but also redesigning their own systems to be digital-native and enabled by application programming interfaces (APIs), allowing greater agility to plug-and-play new or different solutions as the market changes.

Not coincidentally, all five of these priorities will be explored during the 2021 Global Insurance Symposium, to be held on June 28-30, with the first two – global risk and DE&I – as key themes for keynotes and panel discussions. For a full line-up of speakers and conference information, visit www.globalinsurancesyposium.com.

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About the Author

Nicole Gunderson is managing director of the Global Insurance Accelerator based in Des Moines, Iowa.

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About the Author

Jason Gross, vice president and head of platform with ManchesterStory, is a 20 year industry veteran and is on the planning board for the Global Insurance Symposium.

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