With innovation, the sum is greater than the parts.
- Tony Kuczinski
- March 2019
Partnership is critical to the kinds of innovation that can change the way we handle risk and, ultimately, transform our industry.
In a 2017 PwC survey of CEOs, insurance respondents noted that innovation (67%) and digital skills (41%) are very important to their business. I would note that insurance companies—from agents and brokers to third-party administrators—that have not yet begun to test concrete ways that innovation and digitalization can impact their business and customer experience are in jeopardy of falling so far behind that it may be difficult to catch up.
Technological advances, such as cyber, robotics, internet of things, mobility and connected vehicles, are presenting new risks and opportunities. Rapid advancements in sensor technology, for example, are driving a move toward loss prevention in addition to loss response. Robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are replacing repeatable processes, thereby allowing the industry to redirect its efforts toward complex risks and decisions that still need human interaction.
As the nature of risk continues to rapidly shift, customer buying habits and expectations are evolving. Insurance needs are changing as some people are no longer owning things, but rather they are renting them. Consumers are requesting options to the traditional insurance purchase from small limits to micro time frames and usage-based coverage. They want a user experience that includes digital touchpoints allowing for convenient, instantaneous transactions across multiple channels and devices.
At the same time, our role in society and our opportunity as an industry continues to center on the need to help protect people and businesses from the unknown and to empower them to build the kind of safe, resilient and prosperous world we all want to live in.
We can use technology and digitalization to make our processes more efficient and our solutions customized, but it can't happen by working in silos. By collaboratively developing solutions across the value chain of insurance, companies can offer clients and partners more than any single business could alone. This synergy is the unpredictable magic that happens when we combine forces. It's the proof that 2 + 2 = 5.
United by a shared purpose and vision, partnership is critical to the kinds of innovation that can change the way we handle risk and, ultimately, transform our industry. When we share learnings, resources, ideas, and strategies, we not only become more efficient, we are a stronger and more effective force in the marketplace.
What are the next steps? We need to embrace transformation, co-create with our clients, invest time and resources in partnerships with insurtechs and others, and combine our risk expertise with technology and data to develop new solutions. Continual advances in computing power as well as the cloud are increasing the amount of data at our fingertips. This allows for more complex modeling and an increased use of predictive analytics—this can benefit our clients and partners as we seek innovative solutions to new risks and changing customer expectations. All of this together enables companies to profitably grow their core business and drive innovation in the industry while also expanding the boundaries of insurability.
By taking these steps, we will be more prepared for the changes inherent in the next 100 years because we understand that we have to innovate to stay relevant for our clients and end customers. Our industry still has much work ahead to reach that goal, but that's what creates the great opportunity and makes this space so exciting.
Best’s Review columnist Tony Kuczinski is the president and CEO of Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.