How InsurTechs are poised to transform insurance
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start-ups scouted, 633 applications
InsurTech start-ups have a team member with previous insurance sector experience
of start-ups use an emerging technology as their primary technology
of those driving the start-ups are female
PwC’s second year of collaboration with the Startupbootcamp InsurTech program takes place against a backdrop of growing excitement, investment and a rapidly increasing number of new businesses and collaborative partnerships. The growth of InsurTech has been remarkable, with a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, insurers, investors and innovators springing up over the past twelve months. Notably, this year, we are seeing start-ups emerge with more sophisticated and wide-ranging value propositions that augment and supplement the entire insurance value chain without the skewed focus on distribution that was initially the case when InsurTech exploded onto the scene.
It is not just the start-ups that are reaching maturity, so is the InsurTech ecosystem as a whole. Last year’s report highlighted the importance of collaboration between start-ups, insurers and others to deliver value for customers and the bottom line as InsurTech offerings were primarily enabling rather than disruptive. This remains the case and it seems as if the battle for hearts and minds has now been won - insurers are increasingly looking outwards to innovate and their engagement
with start-ups is more positive and advanced.
The position of Startupbootcamp and PwC at the centre of the InsurTech ecosystem offers a unique view of its rapid progress. In this report, you'll get our insight, the trends we are seeing and we explore how collaboration between InsurTechs and insurers can drive value in the future.
A second wave of InsurTech is emerging, tackling more complex and wide-ranging problems that are more closely aligned to insurers’ needs. Notably, we are seeing more InsurTechs targeting the mid and back office rather than customer facing distribution. Most interestingly, we have seen a fourfold increase in the proportion of start-ups that are focusing on exploring new approaches to underwriting risk and predicting loss.
Insurers have recognised that collaboration is the best way to release value, both in terms of growing revenue and reducing costs, from InsurTech. PwC research has indicated that in 2016, just 28% of insurers were exploring partnerships as a way to work with InsurTechs, but in 2017 45% are directly engaging in such partnerships.
Collaboration is still not a smooth process but insurers and start-ups are learning quickly. Only 17% of insurers believe they are good at co-creating with start-ups according to PwC research while start-ups find the process of engaging with insurers time consuming and often frustrating. But progress towards new models of agile collaboration is now accelerating.
Start-ups are more widely using emerging technologies with Artificial Intelligence (AI) particularly prevalent. 53% of applicants to this year’s Startupbootcamp programme use an emerging technology as their primary technology, compared to 40% last year. Insurers need to be aware of these technologies and their potential impact. AI in particular has the potential to deliver significant value in insurance.
InsurTech is still not attracting diverse talent. Disappointingly just one in six of the individuals driving the start-ups that applied to Startupbootcamp this year are women. Whilst this compares favourably to other published figures on senior diversity in insurance and the FinTech world more broadly, there is clearly still much to be done to improve the gender balance in Insurtech.
Collaboration could become disruption. The window of opportunity will close if insurers or start-ups struggle to deliver value and lose patience. Other organisations, including new entrants from beyond the insurance sector, are waiting in the wings.