LAS VEGAS — If you think you’ve heard all there is about tech-driven innovation in insurance, think again.
"We’ve only begun to scratch the surface," Cedent Chairman and CEO Michael Coles said during a plenary session that he moderated on Tues., Oct. 3 at InsureTech Connect in Las Vegas, an event billed by organizers as "the largest and most global gathering of insurance innovators to come together under one roof."
Although hearts were heavy and spirits dampened in a generally bright and buoyant town following the deadly Route 91 country music concert shooting just days beforehand, InsureTech Connect organizers said that grisly happening chased away only a fraction of their originally scheduled attendees. They expected roughly 3,000 insurance entrepreneurs, investors and incumbents at this year’s show.
It follows that Coles, who interviewed Orbital Insight CEO James Crawford about the many ways that satellite imagery is impacting insurance, surmised that "some 5,000 elevator pitches" would happen during InsureTech Connect 2017.
For his part, Crawford showed off satellite imagery from Hurricane Harvey that provided real-time data about the location, depth and severity of flooding. The challenge, Crawford said, is not tapping into the abundant satellite imagery that’s available, but finding the right applications for the technology.
"Imagine you had the power to look at everything in the physical world all the time," he said. "Where would you look?"
Customer experience & revenue shifts
During another session, XL Catlin CEO Mike McGavick said that based on such issues as current customer experience and revenue shifts, the insurance industry still has significant work ahead to catch up to other industries that now define contemporary consumer culture.
"It's hard not to notice a sense of change," both at this event and throughout the insurance business, McGavick said. "Clearly there is enthusiasm and excitement in the air."
In addition to the opening of an exhibition hall featuring hundreds of insurtech startups, Day Two sessions also included discussions about digital leadership in insurance, redefining the insurance value proposition, and how to build 'the insurance company of the future.'
New products & services
Some companies used InsureTech Connect 2017 to announce new products and services. For instance, a new company, Pie Insurance, officially launched during the event. Pie is a digitally-enabled direct distribution workers' compensation insurance business pioneered by former Esurance executive John Swigart. The business was started based on the ideas that "90% of SMBs in certain categories are overpaying for workers' compensation by 25% on average." Pie will use a Price Predictor tool (powered by Valen) that allows SMBs to improve insight into what they should be paying for workers’ compensation Insurance. "The goal is to provide ease of use and transparency in workers' comp that does not presently exist in the market."
Celent also capitalized on InsureTech Connect to launch its latest report titled "Insurtech Accelerators: A Market Scan." The report examines what the major areas of focus are for insurance accelerators and what insurance carriers should consider when evaluating accelerators.
Clearsurance used InsureTech Connect to announce that it raised $4 million in a Series A funding round to assist in the continued development and growth of its services. The website has curated over 50,000 reviews on more than 350 insurance carriers in the home, rental and auto markets.
One more announcement: The cloud company Vlocity introduced InsureTech Connect attendees to Vella, its new consumer-friendly mobile app that enables carriers to increase customer engagement through a highly personalized experience that leverages IoT data.
"The industry’s commitment to being better is not just lip service," says InsureTech Connect Co-Founder and CEO Jay Weintraub. "It is everywhere, all encompassing, and a top priority for companies small and large."