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Insights from Craig Beattie and Rod Willmott on how to deliver products like an InsurTech

on November 4, 2016

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This week we conducted our first of a series of insurance webinars. The subject for this webinar was how to deliver new products like an InsurTech. What we mean by InsurTech is the increased, easily accessible and relatively low-cost access to new technology services that are available to insurers and start-ups which are driving new ways of delivering insurance services to customers. Discussing this topic with us was Craig Beattie, Senior Analyst at Celent, and Rod Willmott, Fast Track Director at LV=.

Rod Willmott, Craig Beatie and Mendix discuss Insurtechs

We discussed a myriad of topics around how to deliver new products like an insurtech, including the threat and opportunities that come from the tech these start-ups are delivering, the need for change, how insurers are tackling delivery in a world with legacy, and how insurtechs differ from insurers in the way they deliver.

With each topic, Craig and Rod provided some actionable advice for organizations who are faced with the challenge of competing with insurtechs.

How can digital insurers eliminate the threats from pretenders who are delivering new technologies?

Craig’s recommendation: The assumption that there is a single architecture is evidently a fantasy. There are tools that make it easy to manage multiple architectures and insurers should adapt. Insurers need to be able to onboard the technology they need to survive in a timescale that means it is still relevant.

Rod’s recommendation: If you want to be able to experiment and do things like the start-ups, try and separate this rapid ideation away from all the other standard problems that a large insurance company has. You need the independence to make sure you can do things rapidly and throw them away equally as rapidly. Work directly with the business people with the problem and cut out as many middle men as possible.

How can insurers embrace the need to change in an industry that has seemingly been immune to change?

Craig’s recommendation: The fact is that the insurance industry has changed significantly each decade for the past 50-100 years. It is not immune to change, the difference now is that the speed of change is increasing and in order to survive, insurers need to embrace InsurTech capabilities. I think the real thing here is that insurers need to use their customer base, their capital, to their advantage and run faster than these guys that are nipping at their heels.

Rod’s recommendation: The pressure of change is coming from the changing expectations from customers. Avoid being a rabbit in the headlights and being too focused on fancy new products and services. Focus on your core strategic objectives, test and experiment quickly rather than bundling everything into one project.

How can insurers tackle delivery in a world with legacy?

Craig’s recommendation: Often, it’s not legacy technology that is the problem, it’s the legacy people! If you want it bad enough, there are ways around legacy technology to enable responsive services. And legacy modernization is getting easier. I think some insurers use legacy as a security blanket rather than actually taking on a more challenging project.

Rod’s Recommendation: Keep the scope of change, whether to legacy improvement or new stuff very tight. Think about services and API’s before core replacement. You can’t wait until your core legacy systems are updated and modernized completely, you need to run parallel experiments, you have to keep them focused and you need to do them separately to manage risk.

How do insurers adopt to the different ways that Insurtechs are delivering?

Craig’s recommendation: Look at your current suppliers. How are they working for you and how can they help you? Go back and think about the automation you are already applying in operations and apply it to your IT function.

Rod’s recommendation: Look at what you need to do to make business decisions, development and deployment quickly and don’t form a steering group to do it. Empower people and make sure they are all fully behind the key measures for strategic success of your business.

For more on our conversation with Craig Beattie and Rod Willmott, view the on-demand webinar here.

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Danielle Goodman

About Danielle Goodman

Danielle shares stories of digital innovation in action from companies who have embraced the digital execution practice to speed innovation and transform their business.