The COVID-19 pandemic shut down large-scale events overnight, with digital conferences becoming the global norm – but according to one insurtech expert, there shouldn’t be a rush to return to conference rooms as soon as it becomes safe to do so.
Jason Roberts, strategy and innovation lead at Augen Software Group and chair of InsurTechNZ, said the insurtech sector grappled with the swift transition to digital working as much as the rest of the insurance industry, but a significant upside was the sudden ease of contact between a multitude of global partners.
He said the insurance sector will likely see a ‘hybrid’ model of events even after COVID-19’s impact diminishes, and that insurance players would be wise to leverage their digital strengths.
“As we all know, eight months ago, the borders closed,” Roberts said.
“In the insurtech space, we really had to think about how we engaged with our audiences, how we opened opportunity for our marketplace and how we carried on providing value to the sector.”
“When COVID hit, we were about to take a delegation of insurtechs to a conference in Singapore, and then we were going to skip over to London for another event – and all of that stopped overnight,” he continued.
“But one of the great things about going virtual was that we could suddenly do a whole lot of conferences with our insurtech partners overseas. One of the first things we did was have a webinar with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan where we talked about insurance innovation, the effect of COVID and what the trends are, and it really highlighted the various differences and what we can learn from overseas.
“I hope we can have this hybrid model going forward where we not only have in-person events, but we actually really leverage this hybrid world.”
Roberts said that insurance companies have also had their hands full arranging working from home, taking care of vulnerable customers and addressing their digital customer experience.
He said that some insurers were better prepared than others to take on the challenge, and that the key going forward would be strong investment into digital capability.
“I would say that those insurers who had already been investing into digital transformation and doing great work around that had the lead,” Roberts said. “They were already engaging and communicating well, and making sure they were on target with customer needs.
“It also exposed the fact that some of our insurers probably hadn’t done such a great job of moving forward in terms of innovation – but hats off to those insurers and the partnering they have done with insurtechs to really bring that innovation forward into the marketplace.”