Last week, insurance giant Suncorp launched its Digital Incubator Program, which seeks to support insurtech firms and facilitate collaboration across the industry.
Start-ups were invited by the insurer to apply for a three-month program which would see both parties exchange ideas and resources in the hope of developing innovative new solutions.
Speaking to Insurance Business about what she hoped would come from the program, Suncorp’s chief information officer Sarah Harland suggested customers remained front-and-centre.
“We would love to see ideas that improve the customer experience or that deliver an innovative solution to customers to protect the things that matter to them,” said Harland. “With Suncorp’s scale and insurance expertise, we have the capacity to help insurtechs explore ideas and bring them to scale for the benefit of our customers.”
Based in the insurer’s Digital Labs in Brisbane, the program would also give aspirational insurtechs access to valuable industry knowledge – something which critics have said can be lacking at times.
In fact, the 90-day program will provide start-ups with access to mentors, designers, data/APIs and experts across a range of technology and business topics.
Of course, the support of insurtechs by incumbents has taken a serious upturn in recent years with many suggesting the collaboration is essential for slower-moving insurers to remain competitive.
When asked if the new program was a means of ensuring Suncorp remains relevant in a rapidly moving space, Harland said the insurer sees “great opportunity” in partnering with insurtechs to meet more customer needs.
“Our approach is to partner with insurtechs, to provide customers with a valuable range of solutions from our network of brands and third-party partners,” she told Insurance Business.
“We are exploring emerging technologies to create new solutions that will ultimately benefit our customers, whether that is through our digital channels, contact centres, stores or intermediaries.
The program is now open for applications, with Suncorp to accept two start-ups in its first intake, commencing in June 2019.