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September 26, 2019

Oliver Wyman at ITC 2019: End of Day 1 Wrap Up

Lippincott's Chris Colborn keynote kicks off a day of rich discussion

Key Takeaway
How new technology can sharpen the focus on the customer is front and center- on their needs, their experiences, and the interaction they have with the insurance industry.

The buzz began well before the official opening, as more than 7,000 insurers, brokers, investors, and tech entrepreneurs gathered at the MGM Grand for two days of high-intensity discussions about the future of insurance, networking, and presentation of their solutions at the “world’s largest gathering of insurance leaders and innovators.”  What had been separate whispers, and then one-on-one conversations over the past three years, are now full-throated choruses:  AI, IoT, telematics, robotics.

What were the highlights of this full day’s discussions? Here are three that caught our eye.

Whither Insurtech?

As usual, ITC co-founders Jay Weintraub and Caribou Honig started off Tuesday’s standing-room only plenary with reflections on where insurance has been . . . and where it’s going.

The headlines?  Insurtech has gone cross-border, and there’s a spate of unicorn M&A.  There are new entrants, too, like Porsche Auto insurance, enabled by an insurtech MGA.  And what’s coming?  Honig remains bullish on APIs, the glue that connects data and software.  Different components are being made modular across the value chain – reducing friction all along it. Channel partnerships are posing a real threat to the existing program offering, like SOFI offering life insurance powered by Ladder, and homeowner’s insurance powered by Lemonade.  And even more interesting than the mere fact of M&A activity is what’s next after the deal is done.  Can the acquirer become a retrovirus, spreading transformation from within?  Or will the acquirer surround and smother the acquired with antibodies?  The key, according to Caribou?  A culture that allows for – and trusts in – transformation.

Creating Go-To Brands:  Chris Colborn, Lippincott Chief Experience Officer

What business are we really in?  This is the question Lippincott Chief Experience Officer Chris Colborn challenged the audience in the lead-off plenary address.  From a customer’s perspective, insurance looks like a no-win situation:  they can’t get ahead; best just to get not too far behind.

According to Colborn, most significant innovations are purpose-led.  When the businesses serve the customer, it creates meaning. At the end of the day, what do customers want to know?  Does the brand get me (is it true to me and show me that it cares)? And does it enable me to make progress?  Those that can answer yes, become go-to brands (to read more to our "Live from ITC 2019" post on Chris's talk).

Ripe and ready for Disruption:  Glenn Shapiro, President, Allstate Personal Lines

Glenn Shapiro followed with a simple premise:  insurance needs to be disrupted.  Things need to change, but they haven’t.  Insurance has lived in a bubble that’s protected it from the disruption faced by other industries.

Shapiro offered a basic framework.  Three things have happened in digital disruption. First, disruption gave the customer power.  Think about work shifting from the banking industry to customers:  a massive shift in labor, huge savings on the banking side, and customers now feel empowered. Second, automation, which has used what was around and was available to make processes more friction free. Third, machine learning has taken on the rote tasks driven by data, and it’s changed the game. Take automated notifications as an example.

How does this apply to insurance?  An arresting fact:  take the number of accidents per year, factor in the 5-7 days it takes to get an estimate done.  Shapiro found that’s 165,000 years waiting.   And the industry has the tools to seize this opportunity.  Give customers power?  Take photo estimating; customers will take the photo.  Automation?  Create a virtual call center that’s skill based employing licensed persons in each state to tackle the supplement process and do in 9 minutes something that took days before.  Machine learning?  It will take the last leap with photo analytics that can move the claims process along the decision tree in reliable fashion.  Put together, these disruptions will revolutionize the business and reduce both the time insurers take to process and the time customers wait dramatically.  Shapiro estimates it could go down from about 3 hours to process and 10 days for a customer to wait, to close to immediate processing and payment, given changes that are already being implemented.

Add to all these ideas the buzz from the more than 220 exhibitors and 340 sponsors in the conference exhibition hall, and you have a vibrant insurtech ecosystem at its best!

We’ll provide a similar wrap up tomorrow from the intersection of risk and technology.

To learn more of what’s going on go to insurtech.oliverwyman.com for ongoing coverage, including video interviews with insurtech innovators and deep dives into the issues driving the discussion. To keep up with the latest at ITC, be sure to follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter (@OliverWyman), LinkedIn , Facebook and Instagram (@oliverwymanconsulting). We are also tracking #OWInsurTech and #ITC2019

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