Insurers ignite innovation through win-win accelerator programs

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In today’s digital age insurance customers are clamoring for more innovative, customized, and personalized products, which in turn, has led to intense pressure on the insurance industry.

According to World InsurTech Report (WITR) 2018, legacy systems and processes limit many established insurers and carry higher risk costs, which slows the ability to innovate. On the other hand, InsurTech firms lack customer trust, brand recognition, and the regulatory know-how.[1]

It’s no surprise then that both incumbents and InsurTechs are seeking collaborations with each other – on many fronts – to reduce policyholders’ perceived coverage gap for emerging risks, according to the soon-to-be-published World Insurance Report (WIR) 2019.

InsurTech/incumbent partnership is a win-win scenario because, in addition to providing capital for InsurTech startups, established insurers offer access to industry experts. InsurTechs pull their collaborative weight through complementary strengths such as agility, advanced analytics and technological capabilities, and nimble, innovative cultures.[2]

Accelerator programs offer a sandbox for innovative collaboration

Insurers are eager to partner, mentor, and boost insurance technology domain startups through accelerator programs, according to the Top-10 Technology Trends in Life Insurance: 2019 report. Accelerators typically are made up of newcomers that can add value in addressing emerging trends and solving business challenges faced by traditional insurers.

Accelerator programs help insurers explore new ideas and innovations while gaining access to qualified new talent. Conversely, InsurTech participants get funding and infrastructure to develop solutions and benefit from interactions with industry experts and leaders.

Accelerators help InsurTechs to quickly scale while enabling insurers to accelerate and enhance product development. Firms around the globe are either joining forces with dedicated accelerators or are developing targeted in-house programs.

Aflac Corporate Ventures expanded its partnership earlier this year with Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play, a global innovation platform, to identify, test and engage with startups. Aflac offers startup participants quick feedback and a defined path to commercial engagement as they co-develop and customize solutions that address specific needs or pain points of Aflac Japan and Aflac United States.[3]

Allianz Group’s digital investment unit, Allianz X, invests in and fosters InsurTech startups to help the Munich-based insurer build faster, more innovative products and services. Recently, Swedish mobile microinsurer BIMA, was folded into Allianz X. With more than 24 million users, BIMA operates in emerging economies – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana – serving underserved markets.[4]

Hartford InsurTech Hub, powered by Startupbootcamp, kicked off its 2019 acceleration program in February. Ten InsurTech Hub participating teams (selected from more than 230 applicants) showcase a range of skill sets, from property insurance claims to peer-to-peer insurance (P2P).[5]

Accelerator program benefits

World Insurance report 2019

Source: Capgemini Financial Services Analysis, 2018.

Accelerators offer insurers a trial period to evaluate the benefits and risks of an InsurTech partnership before reaching an official agreement. They encourage incumbents to become more innovative, acquire technological capabilities, and develop products faster with reduced time-to-market, according to the WIR 2019. At the same time, InsurTech firms gain first-hand industry knowledge, core insurance data, access to a large customer base, as well as the capital to scale-up.[6]

WIR 2019 explores the changing risk landscape and outlines why it is more important than ever for established insurers to beef up risk capabilities by leveraging technology solutions in collaboration with InsurTechs. Emerging risks require rapid response – the skill InsurTechs have built their customer-centric reputations upon.

Learn more about emerging risks and how collaboration between InsurTechs and incumbents can help the insurance industry better manage the evolving risk landscape. Pre-register for a copy of the World Insurance Report 2019, available on or after Tuesday, May 14.

[1] Capgemini, “World InsurTech Report 2018,” https://worldinsurtechreport.com.

[2] Capgemini, “World Insurance Report 2017,” https://www.capgemini.com/service/world-insurance-report-2017.

[3] PRNewswire website, AFLAC press release, “Aflac Corporate Ventures Launches Accelerator Program with Plug and Play as Part of Global Expansion,” Mar 15, 2019, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aflac-corporate-ventures-launches-accelerator-program-with-plug-and-play-as-part-of-global-expansion-300813328.html.

[4] Allianzx website, “Investments: BIMA”, https://www.allianzx.com/investments-bima, accessed May 2019.

[5] Insurance Journal, “Hartford InsurTech Hub Announces 2019 Cohort of Startups,“ November 30, 2018, https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2018/11/30/510655.htm.

[6] Capgemini, “World InsurTech Report 2018″, https://worldinsurtechreport.com.

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