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January 23, 2019

Interview: Caribou Honig, InsureTech Connect

ITC's Chairman and Co-founder on emerging 2019 trends

Key Takeaway
The biggest trend to come out of InsureTech Connect 2018 is the growing participation of companies that are not exclusively focused on insurance.

As we look forward to InsureTech Connect 2019, it’s worth considering just how good ITC 2018 was.  Caribou Honig, Chairman and Co-Founder, InsureTech Connect caught up with Oliver Wyman Partner Matt Leonard to discuss the trends they saw emerging at the 2018 conference.

Caribou sees a growing interest in API technologies among start-up, long-term vendors, carriers, insurers and brokers and they also see a waning interest in blockchain and bitcoin, at least until it can be clearly demonstrated that blockchain or bitcoin works better than existing technologies already used throughout the industry. Meanwhile, some start-up companies are trying to become carriers.

But perhaps the biggest trend to come out of InsureTech Connect 2018 is the growing participation of companies that are not exclusively focused on insurance. He anticipates seeing more activity from big tech giants, like Amazon; automakers, like BMW, Porsche or Tesla; Fintech companies, like Credit Karma and even healthcare companies, like 23andMe.

“What I think will be really interesting to watch is if these companies are content to be part of the supply chain. [Instead] they may want insurtechs or the incumbent insurers to be in their supply chain, " Caribou notes. "That’s more strategically threatening, but there may be some strategic opportunities for the incumbents as well.”   

To illustrate the point, Caribou highlighted CEO of Credit Karma Ken Lin’s announcement at Insuretech Connect 2018 that the company is offering a new service that allows customers to estimate the cost of car insurance from different carriers. Credit Karma has more than 80 million users; one in three of those customers revisit the site at least once a month. The company also has a lot of valuable customer data- from the value of customer’s cars auto to their credit score, which could ultimately give them a strategic edge if they decide to beef up their insurance offerings.

As for ITC Connect 2018, Caribou said it's pleasantly surprising to see the absolute level of energy and engagement. “I love walking through the expo hall and hallways and just seeing thousands of conversations,” he added. 

With more participants predicted for ITC 2019 and a year full of further exciting innovations and advances, there’s a lot to look forward to in September.

 

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