Insurance Technology: From Exciting to Expediting

In early June, I attended my 13th IASA Annual Educational Conference and Business Show. Every year, I walk away from the conference with a new observation about the insurance industry. One year—maybe in 2007 or 2008—it was that it was critical that insurers replace their COBOL-based systems. One year it was that the industry needed to get a handle on mobile and another year was that the industry better keep its eye on Amazon or other new possible “players” in the market. While I was at this year’s conference in Phoenix, all of those thoughts still made their way to my head, again. However, it was while I was sitting in the Tech Tank session that something new overshadowed those thoughts.

A large crowd of people in a roomDescription automatically generatedBased on the popular “Shark Tank” TV show format, Tech Tank at IASA was a fast-paced session where Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) tech startups pitched their concepts and answered questions from IASA-assigned judges and audience members. Then the audience voted with mock dollars for the leading insurtech solution.

You likely know these insurtechs are out there, especially if you’ve been reading the “Driving Insurance Innovation” blog series by Laura Drabik. Many know about the good work the GIA – along with other insurance accelerator programs – does. You may have heard about or seen the fast popularity of the InsureTech Connect conference. This is happening; it isn’t quite brand-new. What struck me was that the session was standing room only – it was by far the most-attended tech session of the conference – and even finding a good place to stand was a challenge. It was also the well-thought-out questions from the audience and the participation in the “investments”. After years of being told and sensing that the insurance industry is slow to innovate and too risk-averse, this was a moment to take in. It was exciting to see industry members who have been grinding away at the traditional insurance business get excited.

The pitches ranged in industry [health, life, and property and casualty (P&C)] and innovation, from cyber risk observability to automating data entry, document indexing, and adjudication. The startup receiving the most mock dollars was Liscena, artificial intelligence to help insurance companies simplify their claims processes – what they’re calling “one of the world's first truly intelligent digital claims adjusters.”

For full disclosure, I have never worked at an insurance company. I recognize my perspective solely comes from my first eight years in the industry as an editor of an insurance technology publication, interviewing those who dutifully serve the industry, and now as a professional at a company with a mission to deliver the industry platform that P&C insurers rely upon to adapt and succeed in a time of accelerating change. What I used to hear, see, and report has changed.

My colleague recently wrote about his IASA 2019 experience, and said that we, as an industry, are moving forward and the best days are ahead of us. I agree and am excited that we are moving forward faster than ever before. I walked away with a newfound respect for this industry, and even more optimism that the industry is moving faster and with an even greater purpose.

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