HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CHICAGO CONFERENCE: INSURTECH – THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE
Brian Hetherington, Founder and Chairman of The ABD team and WBN Treasurer and Board Member said it best in this webinar: “If you sit down at the poker table and can’t tell who the loser is… it’s probably you”. The insurance industry has historically been behind the times with technology and for years it’s been the odd one out at the table.
But the pandemic has caused a rapid acceleration in attitudes and investment – In 2020 alone, $7bn new investment went into the insurtech sector, and it’s making our industry nimbler, faster, and more precise than ever before.
The panel had an open discussion about how tech has propelled the industry forward, where it’s making the most impact, and how it can take us further in the future.
The three key lessons that the session identified were:
— Being less reactive, more proactive
— Evolving the underwriter’s role
— Bringing more efficiency to the industry
Being less reactive, more proactive
Tech is moving insurance away from being reactive to much more proactive to the needs of the client. CFC Underwriting’s response to the Microsoft Exchange cyber incident is a perfect proof point.
The event affected 70,000 of their clients worldwide, and with so many limits exposed, they wanted to make sure this wasn’t a problem across their entire portfolio.
With the help of big data, they were able to find which clients were vulnerable, identify how many of those had hackers in their system, and then notify the clients that needed help. The CFC cyber team shut down what could’ve turned into a major claims incident and it’s a process that can be used across multiple industries to achieve the same goal.
Evolving the underwriter’s role
With the rapid development of apps and risk management software, real-time underwriting is becoming more and more achievable. It’s another area where the industry can get information sooner and use it to mitigate against claims events happening.
Robert Jenkins, VP of Business Capabilities at Travelers, is seeing Travelers partner with insurtech companies in this space more regularly, and to great effect.
In property, for instance, satellite imagery can pick up on whether structures like dams are shifting, which then triggers an alert back at HQ to address the problem before it gets any worse.
As developments like this advance across industry, the role of the underwriter is likely to change. More emphasis will be on creating stronger relationships with broker partners and educating the market.
Bringing more efficiency to the industry
Brent Rineck, CIO at The ABD Team, picked out several AI tools that are transforming how the brokerage operates. One being M-Files – a document management system that automatically files and retrieves documents based on its content. Using the same technology that Netflix uses to personalize a user’s home screen, M-Files makes managing documents more intuitive and streamlined.
Tech is also transforming the sales journey and making everyone’s role and end result ever more rewarding. Lindsey Nelson, Cyber Development Lead at CFC Underwriters explained what that means for cyber insurance.
First, and most importantly, it’s preventing more claims from policyholders. Cyber is one of the few lines of insurance where underwriters can scan for vulnerabilities, notify clients on whether their credentials are being compromised, and step in before the situation results in a claim.
Second, it’s transforming the underwriting process. For example, Lindsey and her team can harness big data to see which industries are more likely to claim through lack of security controls, and then adjust their rates in response.
And third, it’s simplifying the quoting process. Underwriters can scale down the number of questions they would normally need to ask and use analytics to extract more of the information up front.
Some final thoughts
The future in tech for the insurance industry looks bright – so far only the surface has been scratched in what tech can deliver. Most important of all is the ability of tech innovation to offer improved speed, service quality and better risk management to our clients.
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