What does being ‘more like an insurtech’ mean? Recruiting people with facial hair and skinny jeans is only the start of the journey.
Since it became a thing, I have been mildly amused to hear insurer CEOs talk about their businesses becoming century-old insurtechs, while others have suggested all insurance firms will be insurtechs one day.
Insurtech has become a Holy Grail to which all incumbents aspire. It has become the yard stick to which they want their performance to be measured and rated.
To this (stereotypical) end, almost anyone can wear jeans, a branded t-shirt with a funky logo and trainers. It will cost you, but improving the coffee in your office, having fresh fruit in bowls on desks and a table football table in your social area are also all attainable.
But how ‘insurtech’ does that make you? 5%? 10%? And what are these insurers trying to achieve by becoming more ‘insurtech’?
I would suggest that, ultimately, they are just chasing a digital dream because consultants have told them that, if they don’t, they will fizzle out into irrelevance. By failing to attract the right staff and deliver the right products through the right channels to future-proof themselves.
But while it is great that traditional players are relaxing dress codes and seeking to employ people who have Google on their CV, it should be remembered that insurers are first and foremost exactly that: insurers.
And that insurers do ‘insurer-sy’ type things.
It is inevitable technology will become a greater part of their DNA and they will become insurtech more by accident than design anyway. But rather than focus on this as an end game, insurers need to get some other basics right first to facilitate this evolution and walk before they can run. And one of the most important factors here is culture.
On this point, it is no surprise that UK insurtechs such as Dinghy and Kinsu have stated ambitions to be B-Corps, a status one of the original tech-driven insurance companies, Simply Business, has already attained.
Put simply, B-Corps aim to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. That might sound like fluffy liberal bullshit, but there is more substance than simply giving soundbites about how insurtech you aspire to be. And it resonates with those millennial types we are constantly being told are so important to our future wellbeing.
You might not be able to buy a bottle of Eau de Insurtech, but there is some grooming that insurers can do so that they look and smell more ‘insurtech’. Whatever that cosmetic change looks like, it should be remembered it is the heart and soul of a business, the staff, where the future lies.
They might be tempted in your employment by the promise of ping-pong meetings and smoothies, but they will only stay and thrive if your culture aligns with their beliefs. And that goes for incumbent insurers, insurtechs and everything in between. It would appear, for now, edgier start-ups have a more highly trained eye for striking a better balance than their straighter big brother.
Understand how the B-Corp movement is allowing companies to access new and dynamic employees
On 12 July the Post Digital Insurance Collective will hear from B-Lab’s co-founder Charmian Love, Simply Business digital marketing director Beatriz Montoya and Kinsu’s founding investor Russell Merrett about how having the right culture can enhance a firm’s digitalisation journey by providing access to the right talent. You may find out more and sign up to this session at http://www.digitalinsurancecollective.co.uk/programme.
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