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December 17, 2018

Sean Ringsted, Chubb Insurance

Chubb's Chief Digital Officer on building partnerships with insurtech companies

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty company and the largest commercial insurer in the U.S. That kind of market presence might encourage some companies to go it alone. But Chubb’s Chief Digital Officer Sean Ringsted told Oliver Wyman’s Matt Leonard at InsureTech Connect 2018 in Las Vegas that the insurance giant is looking for some good partners.

Insurtech partnerships are not only important for Chubb’s future operations, but they also reflect how the business is evolving during the digital revolution. Sean pointed out that traditionally, large insurance companies had operated close to the vest, treating information about their operations as proprietary and actively keeping outsiders away. “We would we pull up the bridge and say, ‘We know how to do it and you are not going to come in,’” he explained.

That is now changing as insurers are much more willing to outsource technologies. Take cloud computing as an example. It is a resource needed for everyday operations, but one that is costly and time consuming to maintain and ultimately a commodity that doesn’t distinguish one company from the next.  

But partnerships obviously go beyond the cloud and utility-like technologies.  One area that Sean sees as ripe for future partnerships is distribution. Companies with technologies that help its current agents reach more customers, or companies with technologies that allow Chubb to reach new consumer segments that are especially interesting. For instance, Chubb has recently announced partnerships with insurtech companies that focus on retail, transportation, travel and the gig economy.

Insurtech start-ups looking to partner with Chubb, Sean advises, need to be very clear about their value proposition. They should know what their technology adds to the market and why it’s unique. “If you can significantly improve my operations' efficiency,” he counsels, “You have my attention.”

As for InsureTech Connect 2018, Sean highlights the terrific buzz. It’s an open, collaborative environment that fosters conversations and connections: “You can have a five-minute conversation in the corridor that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

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