Tag Archives: co-opetition

IoT: Collaboration Is Now Mandatory

The definition of collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. That seems far too simplistic a way to describe the many types of collaboration already at work in the insurance industry and moreover does not begin to convey the looming and enormous demand for working together that will be required for success in implementing the Insurance Internet of Things (IoT).

Historically, the insurance industry has had to use a wide variety of collaboration tools to succeed as data, information, consumer behavior, products and regulations changed with increasing velocity. These tools included e-mail, texting, instant messaging, content management systems, enterprise social platforms and formal enterprise collaboration software. Insurers have even begun to leverage the use of digital technology and web-based collaboration tools such as Slack to empower employees, enhance user experiences, improve internal communication and strengthen agent and broker relationships.

See also: Insurance and the Internet of Things  

Looking beyond insurance companies themselves, we note the emergence of insurtech accelerators and incubators, both independent and captive. What is becoming apparent is that there is a convergence taking place between these entrepreneurial startups and the traditional carriers, sparking collaboration between the new, small and fast market entrants with the old, big and slow incumbents. Much more of this kind of collaboration will be required for the insurance industry to survive and thrive in tomorrow’s world.

New forms of collaboration are emerging in the insurance ecosystem, some more formal than others. Strategic alliances and partnerships are being announced daily, as are vendor-vendor and carrier-carrier arrangements. Recent examples are plentiful; CoreLogic joined the Guidewire PartnerConnect program to deliver more accurate property risk pricing and residential estimating more efficiently to Guidewire’s property insurance customer base, and Insurity collaborated with Allstate Business Insurance to quickly deliver a new self-service quoting app with convenient data pre-fill.

Co-opetition is a more innovative form of collaboration that has been gaining traction. Former competitors work together to leverage a common, defined opportunity that yields better results for each company than either could have achieved on its own. In the world of insurance IoT, of which the connected car is a major subset, we increasingly see original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) participating in programs with auto insurers with telematics data exchanges and with each other in developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication standards.

In other areas of insurance IoT, we are seeing a rapidly increasing number of health and property insurtech partnership announcements with insurers delivering innovative new risk-management products and services to consumers (e.g. Vitality-John Hancock, Roost-Liberty Mutual, True Motion-Progressive, etc.).

As the number of connected things expands exponentially, so, too, will the frequency and velocity of data generated by these sensors and devices. The ability to receive, normalize, manage and use all of this digital data will quickly exceed the capacity and expertise of even the largest insurers, so collaboration with a new generation of information management and data science providers will be mandatory.

See also: 12 Issues Inhibiting the Internet of Things  

For insurers and others to successfully navigate this burgeoning ecosystem, access to relevant knowledge and competitive information will also be mandatory, and one effective way to gain these insights is participation in subject-specific industry conferences where expert speakers and industry thought leaders share their experiences and insights. One such event is the Insurance IoT USA Summit taking place in Chicago on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

So critical will be effective collaboration in the future that it is conceivable that formal courses, certifications and degrees in collaboration will be offered by business schools in response to the exploding demand for this set of business skills and expertise driven by IoT proliferation and adoption. In any event, participants in the insurance ecosystem that best master the art of collaboration are sure to be the market leaders of the IoT future.

Go Ahead! Let Rivals Put Ads on Your Site

The thought of placing links to competitors’ products or services on a company website would normally stop chief marketing officers or marketing managers dead in their tracks. After all, once you’ve attracted a consumer to your website, it’s only natural to expect them to purchase your product. However, what if that specific item isn’t available? Or it’s sold out? Or it’s not the right fit? You’ve exhausted your advertising investment on this potential customer, only to deliver a “sorry page,” forcing him to leave your site and head elsewhere.

But what if your “sorry pages,” instead of being a dead end for a consumer, could still bring in revenue? It sounds like some Twilight Zone marketing nightmare, but it’s becoming a much more utilized practice – and a smart one at that.

Businesses need to come to terms with the fact that they don’t own customers; they are, at best, momentarily rented. This can leave brands in the lurch when it comes to sales and brand loyalty. However, there are many options a business can apply that ultimately generate revenue, even without sales, when the consumer turns to make a purchase from a competitor.

But competitor advertising placed on your own website?

This is how it ends up being a win-win. Say you are a car insurance company looking for policy holders with specific characteristics. A consumer will visit your website and fill out an application; however, they do not meet your ideal customer criteria. Now you have two options: reject them outright or provide additional other options with that rejection, some of which may be best obtained through a competitor.

To suggest an alternate purchase by providing a link to a competitor’s website in the form of, “You may be interested in policies from XXXX,” you’d be providing prime real estate for a competitor to make a sale through a tailored advertisement. You receive revenue from an otherwise lost opportunity by selling advertising space on your site to these competing brands, while also building positive brand recognition. These consumers have shown intent, and you’ve helped them get what they need, which makes you a valuable asset.

Instead of shutting down the deal and turning your back on the customer, you are aiding them in their search, while providing a competitor with a valuable lead, for which they are paying. Win-win, right? Many customers would consider that a positive brand experience. After all, it shows that your brand is ultimately focused on helping the customer find what she needs, even if you are not the one to give it to her.

Consider Amazon. This booming company not only has an enormous selection of goods for customers to choose from, but it also provides links to external shopping sites instead of sorry pages when a specific product is not available.