InsureTech Connect is one of the largest insurance conferences of the year. With over 7,000 attendees, you simply cannot see it all over the course of two days! We were thrilled, if not overwhelmed, with the number of folks who stopped by our booth to talk about the importance of fraud detection (shameless plug) and solutions to mitigate underwriting risk (shameless plug).
Events this large are important for us to connect with our current and future customers, and equally important for us to take a pulse on the market. What are the hot topics? The newest innovations? What keeps carriers up at night? After a weekend-long nap (I needed it), here’s what I came back with.
Customers Come First
“It’s all about how to transform the customer experience. Today’s customer is demanding something very different than what can be delivered through a standard core system,” shared Celent’s Karlyn Carnahan. Creating frictionless experiences for customers is a top priority. Carriers realize they must make it easy to do business with them and are leveraging technology to do so. Companies like Snapsheet are helping automate appraisals and financial transactions, allowing customers to communicate with carriers more easily and see the results they want faster. Truepic is helping make insurance more honest by facilitating trustworthy, virtual inspections. At the same time, the technology delights customers with its speed and simplicity. Carriers were interested in FRISS not only because we can help them with their bottom line, but also because they know they need the right technology in place to confidently serve their honest customers faster.
AI is Taking Second Place
AI and machine learning have been all the rage lately. 9 out of 10 carriers I talked with shared that AI was important, though they realize it is not an end-all solution. Advisors shared over and over again that using AI is a must for “checking the box.” Boards and leadership teams won’t be satisfied until they are “using AI,” but most understand it takes a combination approach to solve nearly any business issue. Using AI to provide actionable insights, like omni:us is doing, proves actionable value. FRISS has always believe in Actionable AI, or to create a new “buzz abbreviation,” XAI. Data must be completely transparent and actionable in order to be truly useful.
It’s Buying Season
We recently attended a conference (I won’t name which one) that felt more like a shopping spree. Attendees found the first booth giving out bags and then played an episode of Supermarket Sweep with the rest of the vendors. ITC was NOT for finding the best pens and stress balls, it was all about discovering the best technologies to enhance business and solve problems. Now full disclosure, CoreLogic did give out a pretty nice bag at ITC, but they also provide a great product, and help enhance the FRISS Score with vital property information that helps make smarter, data-driven decisions. Every carrier I talked with had done their research and talked with us because they knew they needed what we have to offer. They’re ready to step up their tech game, and they’re ready to do it soon.
Innovation is Happening
Merriam-Webster tackles this buzzword with two simple definitions: “The introduction of something new,” and “A new idea, method or device.” Our industry has tackled innovation with dozens of conferences, carriers have tackled it with brand new roles and entire departments, and companies like FRISS have tackled it as their sole purpose of existence. We’ve talked about it for years, and ITC 2019 proved that innovation is actually happening. Carriers are no longer scared to try something new, because they are more scared of becoming wholly obsolete if they don’t. Glenn Shapiro, president of personal lines for Allstate Insurance, discussed ways in which insurtech companies are allowing customers to do some of the work themselves, an idea more welcome than we might have thought.
Insurance is Becoming… Fun?
Fewer and fewer “brown suits” are showing up to these conferences. Kangaroo showed up with a house party, complete with a beer pong table. And FRISS wasn’t the only company wearing orange on the show floor (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). At the end of the day carriers need their customers to be happy, and the modern customer needs some modern technology behind the scenes to make it work. And that’s what we were all there to offer. Oh, and the magicians. Definitely go next year to see some magic! Much of this year’s fun was created and captured by the dynamic team at Spot On Insurance.
Breaking down Silos
It wasn’t that long ago that departments cared only for themselves. If we were talking about claims fraud, an underwriting manager would simply walk away. These silos seem to be breaking themselves down as emerging technologies bridge the gaps between functions. We talked to several carriers who were excited at the chance to use claims data for predictive risk assessment underwriting.
There were over 300 vendors exhibiting at ITC 2019, and most of them we talked to really had a great product to offer. “Identifying the ‘right’ problems to solve is part of the broader challenge facing carriers today,” according to Rob McIsaac, Executive Vice President of Research and Consulting at Novarica. So where do you start? You simply can’t onboard 300 new solutions at the same time, and you have to prove your next tech project will provide value. A common theme we heard was the desire to move toward real-time proof. Often called a pilot, this allows a carrier to test a solution in a live environment, committing to a long-term relationship with the vendor-provider only if their expectations were met. Many carriers now prefer this method over a historical proof of concept, where value can be proved only in the past. Why? Once you prove your value, you start all over again with a live implementation. This adds unnecessary time and cost to a project and further delays a carrier from seeing actual value. A pilot program works well in proving a single technology and when comparing competing solutions.
Hindsight is 2020
Speaking of looking back vs. looking forward, we’re definitely excited for 2020. Why? We believe many of the thoughts and concepts introduced and discussed at ITC 2019 will become reality, or closer to it, in 2020. We’ll witness some real value coming out of new and improving tech solutions for the insurance industry. Our goal at FRISS is to make insurance more honest, and by this time next year we will also be closer to seeing that happen!
Closing thought – if you haven’t been to ITC or a conference of its size, definitely bring your comfy shoes. Vegas always looks smaller than it is, and you could easily get your steps in for the day just making your way to the conference floor. Don’t worry, there’s enough energy around you that you won’t want to bother sitting. But your dogs will be barking at the end of the day!
About the author
After working in television news and non-profit healthcare, Andrew Vogeney joined the FRISS team in Chicago to further their mission of making insurance more honest. He believes good customers should be treated fairly and loves telling the world about how insurers are starting to take this task more seriously.