The nature of tech blindness has put the insurance industry in the stalemate. Insurers are now being under huge pressure to innovate in the name of their survival. Insurtech is viewed by many incumbents as a real shot at changing the internal mindsets about reaching the clients, product creation and risk underwriting. In other words, the playing field inside underserved business environment. As we can see, the startups have also evolved: the disruptor mentality shifted to the collaborative paradigm. The change of the trajectory from disruptors to collaborators can be juxtaposed with the financial sector.
The insurtech ecosystem is really unique. For the first time the carriers, venture capitalists, and tech startups join their efforts and work collectively to present rethought insurance. The circulation of the experience and careful consideration towards tech talent make stakeholders learn from the other industries and revolutions there. According to the statistical data of the second quarter of 2017, the dominant majority of the insurtech activity, as well as investment, was focused on partnerships.
From my point of view, the combo of investment, partnership, and shared knowledge can be beneficial for both — growth companies who are the pioneers of new approaches and the traditional businesses. The secret of moving forward is rooted in the collaborative environment between insurers and tech startups, as it is about time the former starts looking in the same direction as the latter. However, many market players waste their time on concerns, thinking that insurtech will erode their business, which is fundamentally wrong.
View of the world must be turned upside down. Instead, the insurers must be eager to learn, soak up new knowledge, benefit from the new insights, attitudes, and techs. The buyer-supplier relationships have become the thing of the past, but we still remember how the contract was negotiated through an extended and no less exhausting procurement process. The collaborative stance implies the partnership is governed by the common vision, supported by active bilateral communication. My point is that this handshake of insurers and startups is the new business model.
The present-day insurance stands on three pillars: capital, data, and distribution. Speaking about the capital, it is readily available for entrepreneurial individuals willing to launch projects via a vast array of avenues. To be honest, I do not think this is likely to change in the nearest future, at least, not in foreseeable one. Then comes data, it is available. The challenge is to work with it properly, make use of it in an ethical way and make it work for the sake of new (and positive, of course) customer experience.
In the context of distribution realm technology can play the most significant role due to the fact that the consumers are seeking the new access points. Online gave way to services being accessed on the move via mobile devices. Even if traditional players realize the changes and feel the need to adapt, one company cannot everything at once. The insurance industry leader will ask themselves important questions such as: how quickly can we evolve internally? Are all the needed capabilities available to execute innovation? Maybe cooperation is a better idea than the competition?
It is obvious that tech startups will keep on influencing the insurance industry, so there is no other option rather accept the reality and choose a constructive path. Innovators should not be seen as a threat, because they are the opportunity. The tech startups have seen a niche in the market, and becoming the partner with them can give a better understanding of the customers and bring innovative solutions.
Of course, these partnerships require some time to bear fruit. The need of patience is to a great extent exacerbated by the friction between fast-moving and burning startups and cautious, skeptical heavyset insurers. However, insurtech has come to provide enhanced customer experience, thus, risks and opportunities must be reconsidered jointly. The time has come to explore the synergies between evolving societies and tech, as collaboration is the key to embracing disruption.