Insurance as part of a digital ecosystem
Insurance isn’t among the sectors warmly welcoming changes. It historically stayed behind far more active banking, fintech, not to mention manufacturing or retail. But things are changing now. For insurance to thrive, it has to become a digitally enabled industry.
“If you can’t embrace technology, you’re not going to survive”, - Neville Koopowitz, Vitality (UK) says during the fantastic Intro where three panelists - senior executives of AXA Partners, Swiss Re, and Vitality UK - shared their thoughts on the upcoming developments within the industry.
For many times Koopowitz mentions connected ecosystem and insurance as a part of it. Seemingly, this is what we’re going to see happen soon. “The key for the future of insurance is understanding data - clinical data, exercise data, behavioral data.” This is what, in Koopowitz’ opinion, should be a top priority for the insurance players to stay relevant, as without this understanding the digital ecosystem will stay far beyond carriers' reach.
The Vitality UK executive doesn’t deny that this is a long road to go. “People underestimate the difficulty of connecting the devices to derive data. To get the insights from your Apple watch, or Fitbit isn’t that easy.”
How are insurers planning to overcome this challenge? Xavier Blanchard, AXA PArtners, has the answer.
Strategic partnerships with digital players
How can insurance make good use of the connected ecosystem of devices and become a part of it? According to Blanchard, doing it all alone by themselves is too big a piece to swallow, so apparently we’re going to see an increasing number of strategic Tech + Insurance duos.
Digital partnership guru, Blanchard is overseeing strategic partnerships at AXA Partners. Those are business lines with technology at their core, which are today’s game-changers, according to the AXA Partners visionary.
“It’s very difficult to imagine those partnerships without tech at their core. It’s very interesting and it comes with its challenges, such as scalability. We work with different countries and different geographies. When we do a bigger fit in a particular country, how quickly can we translate that to the next country? It’s actually very hard. We keep using the same technology, but with national products, in a sense, we keep reinventing the wheel locally every time.”
He points to the necessity to cooperate with “new kids in town” - digital startups and young and ambitious fintech companies to be able to overcome the technical barrier that insurance has been facing for far too long.
How much time do insurers have exactly?
Is it a 5-month period or a 5-year long marathon we’re implying when talking about implementing those changes described above?
“In 2020 things changed within months”, - Neville Koopowitz reminds.
Tarun Kohli, Swiss Re, the third panelist, agrees. “Future will come sooner than you think. People will get insured without even realizing it, consumers will be disconnected from the buying process”. Embedded insurance advocate, Kohli also predicts an increasing role of the blockchain technology and heavy use of data for preventive insurance.
“Insurers will focus on helping people stay healthier.” For today’s insurance, this is rather a joke than a universal truth. Claiming to be customer-centric, it’s still risk-centric, but data is going to change this status quo.
The Swiss Re leader highlights that it is mutually beneficial both for the insurers and for the policyholders to prevent diseases rather than cure them or do small car fixes to avoid big repairs. This drastic shift will only become possible through meaningful data collection and management.
“Customers have data but they don’t have insights,” - Kohli says. So the key challenge for the carriers is to make good use of that data and make policy holders comfortable about their data being used through bringing real data-driven value to them.
Thus, the focal points of the development of the insurance of tomorrow are:
- Insurance as a part of the digital ecosystem
- Digital partnerships
- Data-driven value for the customers.
These are the key issues that keep leading EU insurance executives awake at night. Obviously, none of them is a piece of cake, but hey, what’s on the flip side? With digital being at the core of all those transformations, this sounds nothing but exciting to us, digital enablers.
While we cannot wait for next year's Summit, our engineers are looking forward to getting those transformations started. Stay tuned to have a sneak peek into the process.