Daniel Fogarty (pictured), CEO and founder of insurtech company Evari, says the pandemic has been one of 2020’s biggest challenges, but it has helped speed up insurance companies’ flight to digital.
Alongside managing the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires, insurers had to be quick to respond to the rapid onset of the coronavirus – both internally and externally. For Fogarty, it’s the ones who adapted quickly to the digital environment who have benefited.
“From my perspective, as I run an insurtech company, I see the technology that’s coming down the pipe for this industry and this whole COVID-19 and lockdown situation has just been a flight to digital for everyone,” Fogarty said.
“Everyone now expects that they can just transact with every part of their life in the same way they do on Facebook or Google. The whole lockdown situation has meant that everyone has to be digital first and, in the insurance industry, everyone’s got to go there. You get some companies that are going there slowly, and other companies are going there quickly. The ones who get there quickly are the ones who are going to win.”
Fogarty concedes the insurance industry’s adoption of technology has fallen behind today’s standards.
“You could probably say the insurance industry was at the forefront when computers first came out in the 50s, 60s and 70s,” he said. “Some of the technology that the insurance industry has today is not quite that old but is from the 80s and 90s and is not meeting the needs of current customers,” he admitted.
Fogarty, a former CEO of Zurich Insurance for Australia and New Zealand, says he started Evari with two other co-founders because he believed the technology he was using could “go a lot further.”
“When I left Zurich, I started an insurtech with two co-founders,” he explained. “They’re both technical and I come from the insurance background. What we’re doing now is we’ve built technology that makes insurance easy to buy, easy to manage and flexible enough to change to your needs. This is what customers are demanding.”
He says as customers are wanting to adopt this convenient form of insurance management, insurers need to respond quickly to remain relevant and competitive in a changing market.
“What we’re seeing is we’re having more insurers coming to us and saying they need more flexibility, and this is flexibility not just from a customer perspective but flexibility for their management,” Fogarty added.
“With a volatile, fluctuating and rapidly changing business environment, every businessperson needs to be able to adapt quickly. When you’ve got old systems, you can’t adapt quickly. However, with modern systems that are built in the cloud and with the features that we’ve built for insurers, they can adapt to the business situation and adapt to changes to their customers’ needs much faster.”
One big obstacle infringing on insurers’ ability to adopt new technologies is the non-stop daily grind – a reality that’s only been exacerbated in the COVID-19 lockdown.
“It’s just that the day to day pressures of business mean that there are lots of other things for insurers to do at the same time as adopting new technologies,” Fogarty said. “The summer we’ve just had was horrendous, so insurers have been busy dealing with their customers’ needs. But they’ve got to invest the time and money to convert to digital because if they don’t, then other people will.”