Is 2017 the year InsurTech reaches a pivotal juncture?

Jul 17, 2017

A new report from Startupbootcamp InsurTech and PwC address how InsurTech start-ups are poised to transform the insurance industry

The past 12 months has seen InsurTech reach a pivotal juncture. There has been exponential growth, with investment and an increasing number of new businesses and collaborative partnerships creating a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, insurers, investors and innovators that are poised to make real impact.

Key findings from Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s 2017 trend report in association with PwC include:

  • A second wave of InsurTech start-ups is emerging, tackling more complex and wide-ranging problems that are more closely aligned to insurers’ needs;
  • Insurers have recognised that collaboration is the best way to release value, both in terms of growing revenue and reducing costs. In 2016, just 28% of insurers were exploring partnerships to leverage InsurTech, but in 2017 45% are directly engaging in such partnerships;
  • Collaboration is not a smooth process, but both sides – start-ups and insurers – are learning quickly;
  • Start-ups are using emerging technologies more regularly with artificial intelligence as a focus;
  • InsurTech is still not attracting the diverse talent it needs. Just one in six of the individuals driving the start-ups applying to Startupbootcamp InsurTech in 2017 were women;
  • Collaboration could become disruption, if insurers or start-ups struggle to deliver value and lose patience within the window of opportunity.

This year we have seen start-ups emerge with more sophisticated and diverse propositions that support the entire insurance value chain. Notably, there has been a move away from the skewed focus on distribution that was initially the case when InsurTech exploded onto the scene a couple of years ago.

Startupbootcamp InsurTech data gathered from 633 start-ups in 2017 shows that just half of InsurTech start-ups are focused on a customer-facing model, compared to 61% in 2016. This indicates that there is a greater proportion of start-ups looking to solve the internal problems that insurers are facing.  Particularly, we have seen four times as many applicants focussing specifically on underwriting, for example by designing new scoring models to improve risk assessments for underwriting teams.

With increasingly sophisticated start-ups focusing across the insurance value chain, the potential benefits that could be created for insurers, investors and customers alike are huge.

Sabine VanderLinden, Managing Director at Startupbootcamp InsurTech says:

“As digital first personal lines platforms become more pervasive, the more complex needs of commercial lines providers will become a key focus area for start-ups, looking at technology to improve internal processes across the insurance value chain and agreeing that the digital journey and engagement remain at the core of that equation. Maturing start-ups will need time to prove their value in an industry where KPIs such as claims ratios can take time to be realised, insurers need to transform how they work and these collaborative models will take time to embed.”

Insurers have recognised the value in InsurTech start-ups and are now actively looking for ways to get involved and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them by InsurTech. In 2016, 28% of insurers wanted to engage with start-ups and now in 2017, 45% say they are actively engaging. Insurers understand that InsurTech start-ups can help them grow revenue, launch innovative propositions, reduce costs and transform their relationships with customers for the better.

Jonathan Howe, Global InsurTech leader at PwC, adds:

“InsurTech has had an exciting year and it’s been great to see such an uptick in insurers interacting with start-ups. The coming months will be critical, as both parties work through their differences to achieve real change for their business and their customers. In order to make the most of all the work put in so far, the insurance industry must be agile and jump at the opportunities that InsurTech presents to deliver for the good of all - new entrants, incumbents and customers.”

About Startupbootcamp InsurTech

Launched in 2015, Startupbootcamp InsurTech is the leading Insurance accelerator that focuses on identifying globally-located disruptive and collaborative insurance and technology innovations, and the only programme of its kind to attract such wide industry support. Based in London, its partners include: The Admiral Group, Allianz, Confused.com, ERGO, HDI, Intesa Sanpaolo, Lloyds Banking Group, L’olivier, Metropolitan, MJ Hudson, MMI Holdings’ Exponential Ventures, Momentum, Old Mutual, PWC, Route66 Ventures, Scottish Widows, Swiss Re, Talanx, Tryg, UnipolSai, XL Catlin, and Zurich, as well as an extensive mentor and alumni network from more than 30 countries across the globe.

The award-winning accelerator provides InsurTech startups with mentorship, sustainable design, and key growth resoucres, and offers access to world class industry expertise during an intensive three month programme. At the end of the programme, startups pitch at Demo Day to an ecosystem of insurers, market experts, and investors. For more information, visit www.startupbootcamp.org/accelerator/insurtech-london/

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details. © 2017 PwC. All rights reserved

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