Difficult to see an ‘Uber of insurance’

The host of an industry panel on insuretech has said that it ‘is difficult to see an Uber of insurance’ as disruption continues to impact the industry

Insurance News

By Jordan Lynn

The host of an industry panel on insuretech has said that it ‘is difficult to see an Uber of insurance’ as disruption continues to impact the industry.

Sarah Fountain, Senior Associate for DLA Piper in Melbourne, hosted the law firms inaugural insuretech event in Melbourne last week and told Insurance Business that barriers of entry to the industry keeps an Uber-like offering at bay.

“It is difficult to see there being the Uber of insurance because there are the barriers to insurance such as the capital requirements and the regulatory requirements,” Fountain said.

“I’m sure there will be elements of the insurance industry where things will really change, particularly the focus on the end user and the need to provide digital interface and just a much easier, clearer, quicker process. I think also, eliminating that friction from the experience that consumers and customers have.”

The event featured four Australian start-up leaders and Fountain noted that the theme of customer engagement and expectation was common through the night.

“One of the common themes that was discussed was that these days customers have an expectation of digital interfaces, easy payment processes, they want a reduction in forms, they want the renewal process to be quicker, they want web formats so the same thing that we would expect with banking,” Fountain continued.

“They want a similar experience to what they get in banking and at the moment, it is not readily available.

“The focus really needs to be on the end-user and the customer and that was a common theme that came out throughout the night.

“The insurance industry still has a ways to go with that and there was a suggestion that perhaps insurers have gone under the radar as insurance is renewed on an annual basis and it is not something that people are doing every day.

“Also, there has perhaps been a focus of insurers to innovate their own internal systems but haven’t yet got to a stage where they have been focusing enough on the end user.”
Fountain said that insurers, rather than shying away from disruption and insuretech, need to be part of the market and help drive change.

“I think they need to be a part of the market,” Fountain said of insurers.

“They need to recognise that it will be a part of the insurance industry in the future and they can play a big role in that.

 “If you are willing to adapt there are a lot of opportunities out there so it is about recognising those opportunities and being open to those opportunities and being prepared to adapt.”

Brokers will still have a place in the market, despite disruption ad Fountain noted that underlining the worth of the industry to clients will be all important.

“I think the important thing for brokers is convincing their clients what value they add to the whole insurance experience,” Fountain continued.

“They have a lot of knowledge about the insurance industry, they have a lot of expertise and they need to convince people of that and explain what value-add they have and they can bring to the table.

“I think there is definitely a place for brokers because they have do have that expertise and knowledge and also the relationships.

“It doesn’t matter how much digital disruption there is, relationships are always going to be really important, those personal relationships, so I think they do have a lot to add but they just need to convince people in the market of that.”

Fountain stressed that while disruption may have “negative connotations” existing insurance businesses need to find there place in the changing market and take advantage of the opportunities presented.

“A lot of people use the word disruption and that has a lot of negative connotations,” Fountain continued.

“I think rather than thinking about it as disruption, it is about having a different mindset and thinking about it as opportunity rather than disruption and working out where there place is and where they fit in and what the opportunities are to them and having a focus.’

The event featured Brett Chilton from Swarm UAV, Harry Chemay from Clover.com.au, Geoff Stooke from Modern Risk Solutions, and Danny Adams from GoFar.

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