Digital Disruption In Insurance: The Rise Of InsurTech
In the last few years, #InsurTech has increasingly proved to be a disruptive influence in the insurance sector, an industry which can be considered as one of the most complex in the world. #InsurTech with the help of technology and innovation has managed to immensely improve the efficiency of the existing operations, offering digital first customer-led services and enhanced customer experience.
I had a very deep discussion with Dennis Grönger, InsurTech Professional, Author and Speaker at NextTo InsurTech, on the rise of #InsurTech and Digital-Led Product Innovation in Insurance.
The detailed version of the conversation is given below.
Every week we publish insights with a Q&A with CIOs, CTOs CMOs, and CXOs.
See the link to the previous LinkedIn Q&As by Indus Net Technologies at the bottom of this post.
Q1. What are the key trends in product innovation in the Insurance industry?
Dennis: I am an InsurTech expert and this sector is full of surprising new ideas and concepts. Every conference I visit is full of exciting start-ups. And it’s the same on the incumbent’s side. Product innovation is a key component of Digital Transformation in the insurance industry.
Despite regional characteristics, two general trends can be observed worldwide. First, there has been a shift from one-size-fits-all products to fine-grained components that can be combined individually for the customer. Second, more and more insurance services and products are being developed that add special value and benefits for using customer data.
Q2. What are the key enablers and drivers of innovation in the insurance industry? Why NOW?
Dennis: Two big changes have been essential for today’s innovative insurance industry to develop: a technological change and a cultural change.
I wouldn’t dare to tell you guys at Indus Net Technologies about technological change as you’re much better than me in this area! As for the cultural change, I’m not aware of any insurance company that hasn’t radically changed how it uses the creativity and great ideas of its employees. When I started my career in insurances business, the whole industry was full of patriarchs at the top of companies and employees were just considered numbers on payrolls. Since then, things have fortunately changed, and many successful innovations would be inconceivable without committed employees.
Q3. What are some of the interesting digital-led product innovations in the Insurance industry?
Dennis: The time of new digital insurance products has just begun, and I am convinced that we are going to see a lot of exciting new and innovative ideas. For example, there is a new class of insurance products that wouldn’t work without full digital capabilities and niche products with low premiums. The combination of ‘niche‘ and ‘low premiums’ was out of the question for incumbents until now; Digital Transformation has changed that.
Cyber Insurance is another good example of a different digital-led product trend: products as a combination of services that extend beyond coverage. In case of a cyber-attack, the most important thing is to find the best specialist to stop the attack as quickly as possible. How would this be solved without a digital platform that connects your customers with specialized service providers? It would be impossible!
Q4. Why is user experience leading the way in Insurance innovation? What problem are we solving here?
Dennis: Relevance and simplification are key terms in the case of user experience in the insurance industry. Customers want more personalized services and products that are individually tailored to their personal needs. Product relevance is also a question of when and how the customer wants to handle this product, before and after buying it. Insurers need to find answers to these customer demands. However, without simplified products that your customers can easily understand, the only user experience that you are going to get is bad user experience.
Q5. How much of IoT and Big Data Analytics is being used to create new products? Has the IoT generated data attained statistical significance to be used for underwriting?
Dennis: Well, I am a strategy expert and not an underwriter but there is no doubt that IoT and Big Data Analytics are going to disrupt the ways that underwriters analyze and model risks. Connected cars have already reinvented car insurance and, with Smart Home technologies in a bundle with home insurances, for example, insurers have the chance to offer real protection in addition to coverage.
Q6. How can blockchain be used for disruption in the Insurance industry?
Dennis: That’s the billion-dollar question right now, isn’t it? I think it’s still too early to make any reliable predictions about blockchain. However, for me, the biggest opportunities for insurance companies are in reducing costs, reducing errors, and reducing time by using blockchain-based technologies.
Q7. Do you see a future for people-to-people (p2p) Insurance? How far (or near) is this from reality?
Dennis: Great examples of P2P insurance, like Lemonade, have proven how far you can get with complete customer focus. But is a P2P business model profitable or even scalable? I don’t think so. The numbers from Lemonade that I’ve seen so far are reporting huge losses and Germany’s P2P pioneer Friendsurance was, due to its numbers, forced to switch their business model and have become more of an online broker with a few P2P-benefits for their customers.
Q8. What are the constraints around innovation in the Insurance industry?
Dennis: I want to answer this by quoting a friend of mine, Dr. Robin Kierra. “Insurers needs to do everything at once: do their homework, go out and play, and prepare for the exams in 10 years.” Would you like to try that with the 25+ year old legacy systems that most insurers are still using? Better not, but it is a fact that Digital Transformation and innovation are still at their beginnings in the insurance industry.
Q9. How can Insurance and InsurTech collaborate to breed innovation at scale?
Dennis: As long as insurers have the customers and InsurTechs have the technology, there is no other option than to cooperate with each other. Otherwise, it will be difficult for each side to scale fast and large enough.
I believe that B2B business models are the most promising chance for InsurTech startups.
Nevertheless, insurance companies need to prepare to work together with InsurTechs. Most of all, this is a cultural problem in the entire insurance industry. It is really shocking to me how many people with a professional insurance background still believe that Digital Transformation in the insurance industry is none of their business and that all of this will go away someday. It won’t.
I profusely thank Dennis, for his time and the key insights.
Read the past LinkedIn Q&A’s below:
- With Arun Gupta, Chief Technology Officer, Praxis Home Retail Limited
- With Anil Kumar Singh, Director and CIO of DiGi-Agro Consulting and ex-CIO of Krishak Bharati Co-Operative Limited
- With Ranjit Satyanath, CIO of Infiniti Retail Ltd. (Croma)
- With Priya Dar, CIO, and Head of Digital Practice, Godfrey Phillips India Ltd.
- With Arvind Kumar, CIO, General Manager – IT, Elior India
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