Insurtech: ‘get in, or get blown away’

Incumbent insurance companies must buy their way into insurtech, or risk getting blown away by a “technological typhoon”, an expert warns.

Insurtech: get in, or get blown away

27 February 2019

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Incumbent insurance companies must buy their way into insurtech, or risk getting blown away by a “technological typhoon”, an expert warns.

Munich Re Digital Partners CEO Andy Rear told the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) Insurtech Conference in Sydney today that insurtech “hype” is set to become reality.

He predicts insurance will have its own “Uber moment”, and some incumbents will disappear – but adds the process will take much longer than many assume.

Mr Rear used the example of Toys R Us to indicate potential timescales. The toy market giant was first challenged by online retailers in the late 1990s, but did not go bankrupt until last year.

“Will major insurance brands go bankrupt over the next 20 years? Of course they will,” he said.

“Insurtech will hit meaningful scale, it is growing incredibly quickly. Over the next 30-40 years there will be wholesale change.”

Mr Rear recommends incumbents move quickly to buy into start-up competitors, even if it means paying over the odds.

“We will see a slew of $1 billion exits to insurance companies which are buying their way into technology,” he said.

“The fundamentals [of those deals] will look insane. But [the insurance companies] will be thinking ‘our whole market cap is at risk if we are attacked by these guys. Why not just buy them out’?

“The alternative is to stay away and wait and see who wins.

“But it is very difficult to fix your business in the face of rapid change. The danger is that you are hit by a technological typhoon. If you look back in 20 years and ask where it went wrong, you will think it was now, when you decided to sit back.

“The industry has to stay ahead of the technological curve.”

The ANZIIF event is Australia’s premier insurtech conference and the only one backed by Insurtech Australia and Insurtech NZ.

Other speakers included Flamingo Ai founder and CEO Catriona Wallace, and IAG Entrepreneur in Residence Alex Taylor.

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Flamingo AI, Munich Re to offer insurtech insights

Munich Re Digital Partners CEO Andrew Rear and Flamingo AI Founder Catriona Wallace will be among keynote speakers at next week’s Insurtech …

Flamingo AI, Munich Re to offer insurtech insights

18 February 2019

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Munich Re Digital Partners CEO Andrew Rear and Flamingo AI Founder Catriona Wallace will be among keynote speakers at next week’s Insurtech Conference.

Mr Rear will speak on lessons learned from three years of partnering with insurtech, while Dr Wallace will address the future of the customer experience.

IAG Entrepreneur in Residence Alex Taylor will discuss disruptive technology trends and examine some “what if” questions, while Veredictum CEO Tim Lea will look at blockchain and insurance.

EY will launch its latest survey and partner Jamie Smith will review the insurtech ecosystem and provide an update on global trends.

The program includes a panel discussion on the legal implications of technology use, including a look at ethical questions and how an increased emphasis on compliance will affect the industry.

The conference, at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth on Wednesday next week, is organised by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and supported by Insurtech Australia and InsurTech NZ. A series of workshops on Tuesday next week will lead into the main event.

More details are available here.

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