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Key Takeaways from InsureTech Connect 2018

Payal Shukla

Payal Shukla

Since 2016, thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and solution providers in insurance – many of which are Walker Sands clients – gather in Las Vegas for InsureTech Connect (ITC). There attendees attempt to unpack and understand the new technologies and challenges shaping the future of the industry.

This year I was lucky enough to attend the conference myself and listen in on some of those conversations, led by the likes of IBM, AIG, Allstate and more. Below are the key takeaways from ITC 2018 that I believe are worth watching.

Believe in blockchain

Blockchain was front and center at ITC this year, and some of the biggest players in the industry are putting their full support behind it. The insurance business model is built on trust, and blockchain can provide an indisputable, public ledger that verifies data and facilitates more trusted transactions across use cases. From improving efficiency and security when switching providers, to detecting and preventing fraud, to enhancing transparency during the claims process, blockchain has the potential to mitigate some of the risk and overhead that has traditionally plagued insurance companies.

Big hype around big data

Customer acquisition, claims processing, risk assessment and policy writing. Whatever the application, in many respects insurance was the original “big data.” Now, in the age of information and GDPR, the industry will have to carefully and thoughtfully explore new opportunities to harness big data and provide better services. The advent of telematics, for example, gives carriers real-time access to driving behavior to inform premiums. But how will smaller-sized insurers navigate these complexities and compete? What are the potential cyberthreats to vast troves of stored data? What new regulatory requirements will emerge?

“Collaborate or die”

Established insurance companies themselves were not afraid to admit the need to be humbler about collaborating with and being supported by emerging InsurTech startups. Insurers have long excelled at underwriting and risk management, but it’s in the distribution of services and solutions where they stand to gain the most through collaboration. Specifically, these partnerships work well when carriers have specific business units with real problems to solve through a narrow, well-defined scope. A larger cultural shift toward openness will have to take place first for more of these collaborations to form.

These were just a few of the takeaways I gathered at ITC this year. If you’d like to hear more, I’d love to chat. Send me a note!