ITC 2019 as mixer, and a mixed bag of InsurTech topics

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Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.

Just as swallows return to Capistrano, the insurance innovation world returns to Las Vegas for its InsureTech (sic) Connect conference, this year attended by 7000.  Well, if Jay Weintraub and Caribou Honig can host a sumptuous buffet of ideas, this column can present a buffet of InsurTech related items, too.  And ponder- what is the opportunity cost of 7000 insurance persons being occupied off site for three or four days?

ITC2019 covers every aspect of insurance and its participants; the agenda and needed venue are both expansive.  Can real work get done when the options for interaction are so many?  Guess the attendees will know if an ROI is calculated as positive.  Having not attended I kept track of goings on vicariously through communications made/posted by others, and through this week’s news.  The reader can decide if this week’s findings are as valuable as being in Nevada’s temporary global insurance capital.

Get your plate, and follow down the buffet line:

Salad course

  • Ever hear of a conference ‘hangover’? CX and colleague support guru, John Bachmann, discusses the concept in this short video . Best hint- take notes, highlight, then highlight again and prioritize to distill to a few key concepts.
  • Read a note on agency value addition posted by Billy Van Jura, co-founder of the Engagement Network and active insurance agent that included a reference to HomeServe, a home repair service company. Not insurance, but certainly could dovetail with an agency ecosystem and IoT installations, akin to what IoTinsObs founder Matteo Carbone has suggested.
  • German InsurTech, Deutsche -Familienversicherung AG reported 2019 H1 sales comparison of 150% of the same period in 2018, per Lutz Kiesewetter of the firm. Recall the company was a first IPO as InsurTech for the European market. And- the company is happily transparent in providing financials for the world to see.

Main course

  • Allstate Insurance is leveraging back office innovations by taking an estimated 75% of agencies’ admin activity off the agents’ hands per this. The company states efficiencies gained through innovation will help the agents;  of course the agents’ commissions will take a 20% hit as the plan rolls out.  Allstate is a leading insurance innovator, but there’s a need to also include agents and staff in the integration.
  • Had a cool discussion with Jason Keck, CEO/founder of Broker Buddha, an agency/customer platform, “helping commercial insurance brokers grow sales by simplifying the application and renewal process for you and your clients.” Clever tech that eases a lot of the need for forms completion, retention service review, and in general- taking work off the agency producers’ desk, opening time for direct customer service.  I forgot to ask how Buddha ties in with insurance.
  • Mike Daly, of 360GlobalNet presented some interesting information here about insurer digitization of claims- plenty of activity shown but not necessarily customer-effective. The main conclusion- digitization is more fashionable than functional, and not a lot of evidence of #Innovationfromthecustomerbackwards.

Dessert course

  • A major P&C insurer is implementing an analog process measure to confirm the level of staff integration/use of a digital claim tool. Analog measuring digital.
  • Enjoyed a discussion with smart insurance players, Mica Cooper and Lakshan De Silva, of what differentiates ‘innovation’ from ‘disruption.’ My suggestion held a little sway- innovation typically serves to reduce the numerator of combined ratio, and disruption typically serves to increase the denominator.

Coffee

A pretty good spread to sate your appetite for conference week (follows on the heels of MOI Vienna 2019- Erika Kriszan’s well-conducted get together of last week.)  No indigestion, please.

Now, as for ITC2019 opportunity cost- 7000 attendees, estimate $3000 cost each, $21 million gross direct cost not counting vendor costs (more than the cumulative profits for insurance startups for H1 2019, I’ll bet.)  ROI from that investment is not yet calculated so for now, it’s anyone’s guess as to net cost.  Whatever the cost was, from what I have read it was worth every penny.

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Notable Replies

  1. Interesting analysis of the the ROI of attending a big multi day conference such as ITC2019 for insurance. Their banking colleagues at SIBOS in London this week must be asking the same questions. Getting perspective, learning about innovation, connecting with new people is certainly valuable, but ask anybody to create an ROI spreadsheet and they soon give up. Some investments have to be made without the comfort of a spreadsheet. For those who could not attend this is a very good review.

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