InsureTech Connect 2019 (ITC 2019) took place last month in Las Vegas, and we were thrilled to be there. ITC is the world’s largest insurtech event, and its fourth year brought together more than 7,000 professionals, with exhibits, speakers, panels and networking between insurtechs, carriers, venture capital and other funders, regulators and others. We share below some of our observations from the event and what we believe is ahead for insurtech in the near future.
Insurtech is growing up
Insurtech is maturing and evolving quickly. Insurtechs started with the intention of disrupting the industry, but the focus soon shifted to innovation and partnership with the incumbents, such that insurtech has quickly become part of the fabric of the insurance industry. More and more industry veterans are joining or launching insurtech startups and nearly all carriers are involved in some way either through their own accelerators, innovation labs or partnerships with insurtech startups. There was once a sentiment that insurtech was a fleeting idea. Now it is clear that insurtech is here to stay and will be an integral part of the industry’s future.
Regulators were there to learn and educate
The insurance regulators’ views of insurtech have likewise evolved. They have replaced skepticism with a healthy caution as they have increasingly come to embrace the idea that new technologies and processes can be of enormous benefit to consumers and the insurance industry. At ITC 2019, US state insurance regulators made themselves available to insurtech startups for a full afternoon to discuss where there might be the pain points of existing regulations and also to learn about new initiatives and enhance communications, which is critical to successfully integrating insurtech into the insurance industry.
Insurtech is a global phenomenon
A striking aspect of ITC 2019 was how global it was—it drew attendees from around the world, and highlighted how innovation in insurance is happening in so many places and is then spreading globally quickly. The participants came eager to learn, develop and pursue new ideas and partnerships across borders.
Focus is on customer experience
One theme that was prevalent throughout the conference was the impact of technology and innovation on the customer experience. Though individual consumers are often the focus for innovative ideas – be it products, services or new types of coverages – commercial customers are similarly looking for enhancements in digital processing, better pricing with the availability of more useful data, and development of new products and coverages to meet rapidly evolving risks (such as for cyber threats). Technology has increased the expectations of all customers, and carriers and intermediaries need to be able respond with more agile systems and processes. The customer is definitely still king.
What does the future hold?
As insurtech has grown and evolved rapidly in the four years since the first ITC took place, one cannot imagine where we will be after another four years. However, we can be certain that, as innovators continue to pull apart and consider absolutely every aspect of the insurance business, the rapid level of change brought about by insurtech will only accelerate. Collaboration between newcomers to the industry and the established incumbents will likely continue to grow significantly, as we move further away from the “Wild West” days of insurtech and into the future.