Every day, articles on the latest insurtech company or trends are covered in trade publications. The subject of insurtech continues to be a hot topic as the insurance industry evolves. Once a conventional industry, we’re regularly seeing more positive change and growth among small and large, new and old companies.
To get the latest perspective on insurtech trends, we sat down with our own Brian Wood, Vice President of Data Products Group for IVANS, who leads our insurtech-focused initiatives to better connect insurers and agents one risk at a time.
IVANS Comms: With insurtech being the industry buzz word for the last few years, do you consider these companies as trendy – or are they here to stay or leave?
Brian: The energy and momentum behind insurtechs have not stopped, but increased in many ways. Small and fast-growing insurtech startups are jumping into the industry to solve niche problems via technology with the aim of making transformative change. In 2016, there were 117 insurtech-related transactions. 2017 had 122, and 2018 had 154 transactions. We will see if this trend continues in 2019.
Whereas many of these companies were originally funded by traditional venture capital (VC) investors, what has changed is the number of insurtechs that are being backed directly by insurers or industry network groups. This is a sign that the industry recognizes the opportunity to transform their businesses with technology, but equally recognizes that many of these startups are led by technology visionaries – who may or may not have experience in the industry. In partnering with the companies, insurers can provide domain expertise and perspective.
At IVANS, we too see the opportunity that this focused energy around technology and innovation brings to the industry. The increasing pace of innovation and appetite for new technologies by stakeholders across the industry is positive for our business. We continue to more quickly deliver the technology required to connect each stage of the insurance lifecycle – for insurers, MGAs, and agencies alike.
“Combining smart, fast-moving, entrepreneurial-type individuals in the insurtech sector with intelligent, seasoned insurance professionals, creates the opportunity to do great things.”
IVANS Comms: What lessons can insurers take from insurtechs?
Brian: Insurers and their personnel are actively drawing in the folks who are starting insurtech companies and utilizing them to monitor the startup environment. They’re not only getting to know what the insurtechs are up to but the people behind them as well. This is a really smart play from an insurer perspective because they can keep an eye on what’s gaining traction – what problems insurtechs are solving that are relevant to their businesses. Combining smart, fast-moving, entrepreneurial-type individuals in the insurtech sector with intelligent, seasoned insurance professionals, creates the opportunity to do great things.
IVANS Comms: Why is IVANS still a relevant partner in the age of insurtech?
Brian: Today, I believe IVANS is more relevant than ever because of the growing need for information exchange and platforms to do business.
In addition to our 35 years of leading innovation, we also have the industry expertise that so many insurtechs lack, making us well suited to tackle the real-world challenges found in insurance. We are quickly developing new products and deliver dozens of APIs that drive hundreds of millions of interactions connecting disparate insurance information systems.
A good example of this innovation is how we’re able to quickly and effectively match insurers and agents on the basis of risk. Historically, this process has been extremely manual and time-consuming with heavy reliance on person-to-person communications. Whether it was toiling through pages and pages of outdated appetite guides or attending lunch and learns, today’s agent requires a digital solution. Yes, there’s advertising but even that takes a shotgun approach that just doesn’t work in the age of personalization.
Matching commercial appetite and markets is a very niche industry problem that IVANS has solved. Leveraging our network of 32,000 independent insurance agencies and 400 insurer and MGA partners, as well as talent acquired from insurtech startup EvoSure, IVANS has simplified the process of insurers and agents finding one another for the most profitable business and best products. The solution is IVANS Markets, an online search integrated into agency management systems that automate appetite communications to ensure insurers products are constantly kept top of mind. Not only does it increase in-appetite submissions, it drives better submissions into the pipeline. Insurers have experienced significant increases in quote rates, for thousands of additional quotes annually.
IVANS’ goal is to better connect insurers and agents at each stage of the insurance lifecycle. For insurers, this means more of the right business to drive profitable premium and renewals. For agents, this means increased ease of doing business with insurers, resulting in the best protection for policyholders.
IVANS Comms: What can insurers and IVANS accomplish together?
Brian: At IVANS we’re recruiting strong entrepreneurial and engineering/development talent to continuously solve the next industry challenges and push innovation. Coupling that with working closely with our insurer/MGA partners and agencies, we’re creating an ecosystem that offers win/win solutions for all parties in the insurance lifecycle – including policyholders.
By not only leveraging our people and our modern approach to technology and engineering, but also providing insurer connectivity thought leadership, we’re bringing new ideas to the table on how to drive more efficient, more automated, and more engaging solutions.
If you think about the innovation that it took at the time IVANS was started in 1983, it’s hard to argue that it’s not possible for long-standing companies in the industry to succeed in today’s environment. In fact, we consider IVANS to be one of the original insurtechs. As IVANS continues to innovate connectivity solutions, we’ll be ready to accomplish many great things with our industry partners for continued success well into the future.