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Insurers and banks accelerate their digitalisation 
Apr 13, 2021

Day 1 of the Innovation in Insurance Conference – Business models will change – Guidewire Software receives the Sollers Award 2021 – CEOs from Axa Japan, Generali Poland, Basler Germany and Admiral discuss automation and business transformation – 700 participants are present from 17 countries. 

Cloud, data, and automation are becoming key drivers of the insurance and banking business. They will enable insurers to reach customers more easily and serve them better and more efficiently. This was one of the key messages during the launch event of the Innovation in Insurance conference, organised by Sollers Consulting. The conference, which runs until the 22nd of April, will be attended by about 700 managers and professionals from the financial industry from 17 countries. 

“Insurance companies are not known as fast movers,” said Michał Trochimczuk, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Sollers Consulting in his keynote. “This has changed in the last year.” During the lockdowns, insurers and banks switched into a home office setup more easily than expected, Trochimczuk said. He pointed out four innovations that will change the insurance industry over the next decade: Sharing Economy, autonomous vehicles, drones, and telemedicine. 

The fragmented value chain continues to be a challenge 

As digital transformation accelerates, the fragmented value chain of the insurance business will continue to be a challenge for companies looking to adopt new business processes and business models, Trochimczuk said. Big techs are more likely to enter partnerships with insurers than to set up their own insurance companies. Digital attackers will be copied or acquired by established insurers once prices will have gone down, Trochimczuk predicted. “The insurer remains the ultimate risk carrier but is increasingly marginalised as many products are white-labelled,” he said. “Customers may no longer know who their insurer is.” 

The ninth edition of the Innovation in Insurance conference will be held in an online format. From the 12th to the 22nd of April, nine insurers and two banks from the UK, US, Germany, Japan, Italy and Poland will report on their digitalisation projects, including full digital transformation, bancassurance, process automation, cloud, data, IT migration, Devops, software quality assurance and nearshoring. Executives and specialists from the financial sector can register until the 21st of April.  

A collaboration between business and IT is needed 

“The insurance industry is at the beginning of a revolutionary transformation,” said Marcin Pluta, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Sollers Consulting today in a panel discussion with David Stevens (Co-Founder and former CEO of Admiral UK), Dr Jürg Schiltknecht (CEO of Basler Germany), Hans Vranken (President and CEO of AXA Direct Japan) and Roger Hodgkiss (CEO of Generali Poland). Digitalisation has fundamentally changed industries such as media, music, and retail, and this is also starting to happen in the financial sector, Pluta said. “Technology is the driver: new technologies are emerging, evolving and maturing, and they offer a lot of opportunities for insurers who are open to change.” 

According to Stevens, there is great potential in automation if it is done in a customer-centric way. “The last thing to be automated will be complex claims processing. Almost everything else in the customer interaction will get automated faster,” Stevens said. “Get your customers on the phone if you need them on the phone but give them the option to go online.” 

Insurers should not automate in areas where complex advice and trust are essential, agreed Dr Schiltknecht. As transformation continues, honesty and trust within the organisation are key to success, he said. “The magic word is collaboration – between IT and business. We should promote a no-blame culture and learn quickly from mistakes.” According to Hodgkiss, IT should be recognised as a vital part of insurance business. IT should never be waiting for the business but should also create initiatives and be a part of business,” he said. Business and IT should not fight each other but should cooperate. Vranken agreed, stressing that digital distribution has made progress during the pandemic. “Covid has caused a cumulative shift, convenience has become a key driver,” he said. 

Guidewire Software receives the Sollers Award 

On the first day of the Innovation in Insurance conference, it was announced that Guidewire Software has received the Sollers Award 2021 as an “Innovation Enabler”. In an interview, Trochimczuk and Mike Rosenbaum, CEO of Guidewire Software, spoke about the future of insurance, upcoming technologies, and the support that policy administration systems and system integrators are giving the industry. Trends such as broad availability of shared services including the cloud, a shift to continual IT innovation, and the ability to embed analytics throughout the lifecycle mean that insurers will be much better equipped to succeed in the years to come, commented Rosenbaum. “In their ten years of collaboration, Sollers and Guidewire have helped 37 insurers in 11 countries prepare for their digital future. Guidewire is an insurance platform building its own ecosystem,” said Trochimczuk. “We are grateful to have been recognized with the 2021 Sollers Award”, said Rosenbaum. “This recognition is shared with the customers that Guidewire and Sollers are honored to serve.” 

In the upcoming sessions of Innovation in Insurance – Online Days, AXA Direct Japan, Basler Germany, Amica US, Admiral UK, Beesafe (VIG), Beazley, Warta (Talanx), Digital Care, Conte Italy, BNP Paribas Poland and Santander Germany will discuss their projects and digitalisation plans.