Event Round-up: Re-imagining the Digital Insurance Landscape – 10 Years from Now

Posted on 16th February 2024

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Event Round-up: Re-imagining the Digital Insurance Landscape – 10 Years from Now

Posted on 16th February 2024

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Event Round-up: Re-imagining the Digital Insurance Landscape – 10 Years from Now


Insurance — an industry which has traditionally been slow to innovate — is changing, and fast. The question on everyone’s lips is: ‘What does the future hold?’

To answer this question, INSTANDA collated the insights and predictions of 40 prominent insurance industry experts. You can read this landmark report, entitled: ‘Re-imagining the Digital Insurance Landscape: 10 Years from Now,’ on our website.

In celebration of the publication of our comprehensive deep dive, INSTANDA and InsTech hosted an exclusive event at the Chartered Accountants Hall in London at the end of January to facilitate an open discussion with a panel of prominent industry experts. So, for those who were unable to attend, you can catch up on the discussion with this roundup of the event below and view the recording of the event on our YouTube channel.

Fireside Chat with Tim Hardcastle

The event kicked off with InsTech Co-Founder Robin Merttens introducing the report itself, outlining the aims and objectives before chairing a fireside chat with INSTANDA CEO & Co Founder Tim Hardcastle on its findings.

The Customer Experience

Robin began by asking Tim about one of the most prominent subjects of the report: the continuing challenge of improving the customer experience and providing greater personalisation.

To this, Tim answered: “I think everyone would agree there’s more that can be done for the customer. I think a fascinating thing about the report is that all the experts unanimously pointed to the same thing.”

Tim then stated that, although motor and home insurance offerings are comparatively more dynamic, legacy systems and culture could be holding other insurers back.

However, as Tim noted, the industry is currently going through a major paradigm shift, with more insurers adopting a retail-inspired mindset. “There are a lot of vanguard companies,” Tim stated, “that are really starting to change their thinking to more retail-directional ways of working.”

Generative AI

Robin then turned to another prominent topic within the report, Generative AI, and asked whether this technology had been over-hyped in 2023, or if the mass momentum behind the tech was now unstoppable.

Tim replied that, in his view, AI boasts an exponential growth potential — which is only exacerbated further by new hardware to increase processing power and technology like quantum computing. Those two forces together will, in Tim’s view, increase the velocity of change faster than any other innovation.

But what will that mean for the industry? Tim stated: “Legislation and regulators have been playing a part in harnessing AI.There will be some brakes applied to the progress. But I think whenever technology has a wind behind it, there's going to be inexorable changes.”

What Comes Next?

Robin ended the fireside chat by asking Tim what he hoped the report’s publication would lead to. Tim responded that provoking discussion was INSTANDA’s true goal, and that he wanted the report to feel less like a lecture, and more like a free-flowing conversation between like-minded friends.

Tim stated: “It's about starting a debate, getting some alignment around views, and then trying to find ways to improve the things that we need to do in insurance. And, for me, that's the ultimate objective of this: to widen the discussion.”

Tim ended his segment by adding that, “What's so fascinating to me is that there's this very clear line of sight on what things should be better and done differently.“

Watch the full fireside chat here

INSTANDA thought leadership report

Navigating the Data Deluge: Boon or Burden?

Robin then chaired a panel discussion with Microsoft’s Patrice Amann, Regional Industry Leader – EMEA Insurance & Banking, Kevin Gaut, INSTANDA’s CTO, and Rob Onoufriou, Head of Solutions Sales (L&H UK and Ireland) at Swiss Re.

The Problem With Data

Robin kicked off discussions by mentioning the widespread perception that the insurance industry hasn’t always made optimal use of data.

Swiss Re’s Rob replied that, over the last couple of years, there has been a huge investment in data — with insurers and distributors leveraging new platforms to better manage their data. This data, he explained, is being used to customise and personalise customer journeys and move away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, which from a reinsurer’s perspective means that more insurance can be provided to the many. He added: “You speak to insurers now and the first thing they will say is: data is gold,’ and I’ve never heard that before.”

Drawing on his experience in general insurance, INSTANDA’s CTO Kevin Gaut shared that there’s much that can be learned from general insurers who tend to meet the customer with products and experiences that are more akin to retail, but even in this space there appears to be a disconnect. He explained that if we look at personal lines, “It’s dominated by data enrichment, but this hasn’t quite trickled through into commercial lines within those same organisations.” Data, he shared, still sits within silos – a theme echoed throughout the report.

Patrice stated that, in his view, the issue lay not in the technology that we have access to, but in people using the tech and their processes. He spoke about the need for insurers to understand that the world is changing and that simply digitising their previously analogue processes won’t help them realise the full benefit of a digital transformation. The challenge is just as much a people one. He added, “Insurers need to be able to cope with new realities. They should focus on creating data cultures with a growth mindset.”

Understanding Consumer Journeys

Rob then talked about some of the steps that Swiss Re had taken in this direction, citing underwriting and claims automation as two areas that had resulted in efficiency benefits and improved customer experiences. Robert continued: “So historically, and to return to Kevin’s earlier point, we've been in our individual silos. Swiss Re are now merging datasets to give better insight to ultimately benefit the end customer. What innovation has done over the last 15 years is bring us all closer together.”

He added “You're now seeing more of a collaborative approach between the insurer and distributor.” He shared how ecosystems are, “creating that cradle-to-grave journey that provides that streamlined effort with minimal human interaction that gives more choice to the consumer.” But this isn’t widely adopted.

InsTech’s Robin Merttens posed the following question to Kevin: “There’s a lot of talk about personalisation and using data better, which Rob gave us examples of, but isn’t there a fundamental problem that there’s a barrier between the insurer and the end-customer?”

Kevin responded by saying that “Microsoft and others are enabling the industry to deliver a better customer experience but there are fundamental problems with how data is collected and used.” There’s still, he added, “A big issue for our industry in being able to create customer-centric processes or journeys in the intermediated space.” Much more thought, he concluded, “needs to be given to the broker relationship with the customer to provide a seamless end-to-end experience," which often gets overlooked. This, he reflected, is a “Financial services issue and not just a challenge for insurers.” To conclude the discussion on customer-centricity, Kevin added, “Ultimately, if the customer is happy, everyone benefits,”

What Generative AI Can Enable

To round off the panel discussion, Patrice shared his and Microsoft’s views on the potential Generative AI has for disruption in the insurance space. He agreed that it was a game-changer for the industry, specifically filling in the gaps that traditional AI could not. He pointed out that 2023 was the first time that Generative AI was being widely used by the general public and that new tech was highly accessible. More specifically, he cited the example of Chat GPT, which achieved over 2 billion users a mere two months after launching — the fastest-ever adoption of an online tool.

However, he also stated that the industry needs to remember that Generative AI is still just a tool to support human users. He cited Microsoft’s own Copilot as a tool that could assist with underwriting and claims management. However, he stated that AI’s utility was still incumbent on high-quality data, stating: “There is no great AI if you don't have great data. So, the dataset is absolutely key.”

Finally, Patrice added that AI is not infallible. It is subject to biases, occasional hallucinations, and also has the potential to be exploited. For these reasons, Patrice stated that compliance and regulation are essential to ensuring that the insurance industry uses AI tools safely, ethically, and responsibly down the line.

Watch the full panel discussion here

Delve Deeper into the Conversation

To hear more from Tim, Robin, Kevin, Patrice and Rob, and a further 35 industry experts, please download a free copy of INSTANDA’s 2024 global thought-leadership report, aptly titled ‘Reimagining the Digital Insurance Landscape: 10 years from Now’. It’s packed full of thought-provoking insights and fantastic examples from progressive insurers who are leveraging data for insight and creating retail-like processes to better serve the customer, price risk and manage claims.

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