Last week’s InsureTech Connect was an event almost two years in the making and one that certainly did not disappoint. With more than 5,000 people attending the show, it could easily be referred to as InsureTech REconnect with the number of familiar friendly faces I saw for the first time in way too long. I, of course, also enjoyed getting to see and meet some new ones while there too!
As the world’s largest gathering of insurance leaders and innovators, ITC is undoubtedly one of the best places to be when it comes to connecting with industry leaders and hearing about many of the latest innovations. Here are my top three takeaways from what I saw at this year’s ITC.
1. Moving from disruption to collaboration through partnerships
These days, it can seem impossible to keep up with all the new players in the industry, and Evan Greenberg is right - there is so much “hype” around InsurTech that sometimes we lose focus on what matters most. Utilizing technology to identify, underwrite, and serve the most profitable customers will drive the industry forward and provide more value for modern consumers.
In their presentation titled “Insurance Market Overview and Outlook - Where Are We in the Cycle?,” our partners Niels Keuker and Philip Walker of iptiQ by Swiss Re discussed how the industry needs to address the growing demand for an omnichannel approach to customer experience, which can only be achieved through digital engagement tools. Incumbents must seek strategic partnerships to remain competitive.
With the help of InsurTechs, it is now possible for even the smallest local insurer or the largest global brand to quickly launch new products, establish new lines of business, and target new customer groups. Through the use of API’s, modern functionality can be injected into legacy systems creating a connected ecosystem of products and services. Incumbents need to rethink how they relate to InsurTechs, switching their mindsets from one of disruption to one of partnerships that enable efficiency and reinforce the role of the insurer.
Niels Keuker and Phil Walker of iptiQ by Swiss Re at ITC, October 5, 2021
The challenge that remains in insurance is that we can only move as fast as our slowest participant. Incremental change is not enough in our fractured, nuanced industry. The session “A New Idea: Insurers Creating Ecosystems Delivering Value to Their Policyholders” moderated by Donald Light of Celent with speakers Beth Maerz of Travelers, David Connolly of EY, Jim Fowler of Nationwide, and Rose Hall of AXA XL, featured great insights on the value of adjacency. All participants suggested that by creating ecosystems, we are not only serving customers better, but we are also able to meet rapidly changing needs through rapidly changing tech.
“A New Idea: Insurers Creating Ecosystems Delivering Value to Their Policyholders” at ITC, October 5, 2021
2. Insurance touches everything and everything touches insurance - but what about everyone?
In the session titled “The NextWave of Insurance Innovation,” Haden Kirkpatrick, VP Innovation & Venture Capital at State Farm talked about how change and disruption in the insurance sector goes beyond just technology. In fact, if you think about it, insurance is the business of promoting social good by helping people during the worst moments of their lives. However, there are still many barriers to coverage, creating a protection gap among some of the most vulnerable. It is our duty as insurance leaders to help provide the peace of mind, security, and stability that can only be accessed through insurance. We need to meet customers on their terms and rethink our processes - not just focus on technology - to make products more transparent and available in order to break down barriers.
“The NextWave of Insurance Innovation” session at ITC, Haden Kirkpatrick seated on the right, October 5, 2021
Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO at Haven Life, also touched upon this topic in his main stage session, “Incumbent Innovation.” He commented that we must think of the insurance buying process holistically - there is only so far digital can take the consumer. To keep up with customer needs, we are forced to be vastly more flexible and vastly more nimble. We must reevaluate the nature of insurance, throw out the old playbook, and rewrite it to embrace an outside-in perspective. It’s only through exponential thinking that we can truly make the old way of doing things and the new way work. There’s a line where digital and humanity converge, and while consumer behaviors and technology are changing, the need for human interaction and insight is not. Legacy players and InsurTech newcomers must work together to find a balance that’s not only good for business, but good for everyone.
Yaron Ben-Zvi, CEO at Haven Life on the main stage at ITC, October 5, 2021
3. The buzz is real
If you happened to step anywhere close to the Expo Hall floor, I’m sure you saw the swarm of people weaving in and out of the aisles and between demo stages. It truly was a shock to the system after months of quarantine! With hundreds of exhibitors and sponsors, a visit to the Expo Hall reinforced a deep appreciation I have for the breadth of expertise and knowledge our colleagues in the industry have. If the ITC expo showed me anything, it was that it’s clearly an exciting time to be in insurance!
Bindable was a Bronze Sponsor at ITC 2021
There was truly something for everyone at ITC, giving me the feeling that the future of innovation is limitless. As long as we as an industry can figure out how to meet both our customers and our agents where and how it matters most to them, we can push the industry further along together, building trust, creating greater transparency, and serving customers better by differentiating ourselves through experiences, not just price.
Interested in learning why Bindable is the InsurTech leader for alternative distribution? Contact us today!
What were your takeaways from ITC? Any thoughts on mine? Comment below!